Race Potpourri

19 Oct

When I was in the classroom I always encouraged my college students, and sometimes my high school students, to do their own research, not to take my word, or anyone’s word as gospel. Now I am going to invite my blog readers to do the same thing. This is football season, when you are watching the games–especially the college ones, but the professional ones as well, listen to the commentary and see if you can find a difference between the way players of color and white players are described. This is easy research, all you need is a scrap of paper with two columns, “white” and “of color.”  Write down the adjectives used to describe them by the commentators , who are overwhelmingly white. (A topic for another blog–why is it that sports writers and commentators, unlike players are overwhelmingly white?), in the appropriate column and report it back to this blog. If it is what has been documented before ( if you want an article I can send you one) you will find that white players are described as leaders, intelligent, bright, while players of color are described as talented and fast and big. In other words the white players have positive characteristics they have developed with effort, while the players of color just happen to have been born superior physical specimens. Rather takes me back to the 70’s when I was teaching high school and one of my white male students named Jim assured me quite earnestly that the reason many black males were so skilled at athletics was that slaves were bred to have an extra muscle in their legs. I asked him what would happen if a white woman and a black man had a baby? Would the child limp since he only had a special slave muscle in one leg? I was not a reverent teacher, and never tried to treat my students like they were dumb or unable to understand sarcasm.

Okay, assignment two ( it is hard to stop being a teacher I find) Watch the television news ( I know this can be painful) and those ubiquitous true crime shows and see how many times a blond woman is described as beautiful, even when she is nothing of the sort. It is fascinating. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and since my youngest two grandchildren have blue eyes I have come to appreciate blue eyes more, but come on people, some folks would see an orangutan with blond hair and declare her beautiful. Let me know what you find out here too please.

Okay, class dismissed! 🙂


Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Athletes, Education, Race


4 responses to “Race Potpourri

  1. Motorhead

    October 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I’ll take a D- on this assignment and go to my next class. Last night’s game on ESPN had a black play-by-play man in the booth and two white analysts. I found no discrepencies and I’m a very skeptical person. Talented and fast aren’t positive characteristics? Or, would you rather hear some dude calling a football game use the exact same words to describe black athletes and white athletes? The days of Howard Cosell and Jimmy the Greek are over, I thought. What’s next? Why aren’t there more black athletes in the NHL?

    We all know that having a black President has brought back some BS racist attitudes from both sides of the fence. I don’t like it, you don’t like and the people who do like it are ignorant.

    Your student Jim learned the nonsense he spewed in your class either from family or friends and I’m surprised you didn’t bring in an X-Ray of your leg for Jim. That would’ve been classic!

    Besides sporting events, I haven’t watched TV in years. I prefer reading while listening to music. From what I’ve read, TV news is turning into the Joseph Goebbels propaganda machine. Why watch it? However, I can offer comments to your last paragraph here. Ugly blonde women according to me: Tammy Faye Bakker, Courtney Love and RuPaul (?)
    Blue eyes weren’t appreciated as much by you until the births of your grandchildren. Since your grandchildren weren’t born until this blue eyed devil passed your class, that shows a little more of what you really thought of me. Or maybe just my eyes.

    • minerva5

      October 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Now, now, you know having been in my class that ONE television program is not sufficient research! I said watch for a while, you are being precipitous in your conclusions. I never disliked blue eyes, I just did not see why some people were so mad about them. My point is that we all like things a bit more if they are close to our hearts and find them more attractive. You do not deserve a D, you get an incomplete though!:-)

      • Motorhead

        October 20, 2010 at 1:57 am

        But Doc! Since when is watching TV good researching? I can’t watch TV! There’s a reason it used to be called the ‘boob tube’ and quite a few years ago I found out why. Enlighten me please as far as the blue eyes thing. What I read and what it sounds like may be two different things. When you say ‘mad’ about them, which definition of ‘mad’ is intended? Crazy about them or angry at them? Perhaps I’m not getting what you’re SAYING by just reading what you’ve written.
        Will strive to not get anymore incompletes, but you may have to keep me after class to help clarify. I’d appreciate it!

  2. minerva5

    October 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Watching TV is great research grasshopper. It tells us what the mores and values of our culture are. Want to do some more qualitative research? If you do not mind being viewed as weird ask strangers when you meet them who the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is, and then ask them if they know who Lady Gaga is. I do not know what class I had you in, but if it was Western Civilization then you learned about bread and circuses. The way the Roman emperors kept the masses happy while they spent money, engaged in intrigue and incest and generally had a swell old time, eating hummingbird tongues and tiger’s livers and then throwing them up in the Vomitariums ( or would it be Vomitaria?) so they could eat some more!

    Guess what, we are doing the same thing! Entertain them and fatten them up on fast food and make them think they are living large because they have a television the same size as their SUV!

    With the blue eyes part of our chat. I grew up in a world that equated beauty with being blond and blue eyed, period. Read literature from the early 20th century–and even to some extent today, and see how many times the hero or heroine has blue eyes. i think even Aladdin who was supposed to be some variety of Middle Easterner had blue eyes in the Disney film. That made me, the general rebel, tired of the love affair with blue eyes. So I was not against them, I just thought they were over rated! 🙂


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