By John Hoberman
Darwin's Athletes makes a speciality of society's fixation with black athletic success. Hoberman argues that this obsession has come to play a troubling function in African American existence and our country's race kinfolk.
Rich, flamboyant superstars lend credence to age-old prejudices, recycled "scientific" theories denigrating black intelligence, and stereotypes of black violence. This portrayal of black id encourages a disdain for tutorial success already too frequent between black men.
Darwin's Athletes is a strong indictment of contemporary sport's racial spectacle.
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Additional info for Darwin's Athletes: Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race
D. , the single African American to carry a doctorate in actual anthropology sooner than 1950. 23 Cobb, born in 1904, all started his profession as a public spokesman on racial biology via demonstrating that the world-record-holding sprinter and lengthy jumper Jesse Owens possessed not one of the anatomical features to which white commentators attributed the luck of black athletes. extra usually, Cobb argued, there has been no proof "to point out that Negroid actual characters are anatomically thinking about the current dominance of Negro athletes in nationwide festival within the brief dashes and the wide leap. there's not a unmarried actual attribute which all of the Negro stars have in universal which might certainly determine them as Negroes. Jesse Owens, who has run quicker and leaped farther than a person has performed prior to, doesn't have what's thought of the Negroid kind of calf, foot, and heel bone. "24 Six years later Cobb reiterated that "in all these characters presumptively linked to race or actual skill, Owens used to be Caucasoid instead of Negroid in variety. therefore his heel bone used to be really brief, rather than lengthy; his calf muscle tissues had very lengthy rather than brief bellies; and his arches have been excessive and robust rather than being low and susceptible. "25 Refuting the concept Owens used to be an anomalous creature used to be just one a part of a extra complete attempt to illustrate the normality of the African American. "The renowned stereotype of the Negro as a organic inferior," Cobb declared, "has neither clinical foundation nor usefulness. " Like Miller and Du Bois prior to him, he made his contribution to placing the extinction conception to relaxation, reporting in 1939 that "by all applicable standards of fertility the Negro is now reproducing extra speedily than his white competitor. "26 He lightly ridiculed a brand new York doctor's statement that blacks will be pointed out via an exam in their nasal cartilage. 27 He brushed off the voluminous "pseudo-scientific remark [that] has been dedicated to allegation of marked generalized thickness within the Negro pores and skin. " He refuted the thought that blacks loved a different "inward serenity" and accordingly low blood strain. He known as into query an unpublished declare that blacks had thicker webbing at the backs in their palms, reminding his readers that "the Negro has given aim proof of improvement of the main tough electronic skills," possibly touching on the African sculptures that encouraged Picasso and Negro mastery of the blues guitar. To the declare that blacks had smaller important viscera (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen), Cobb responded that "the Negro's tested talents in tough exertions and in athletics make it look that if he particularly does have fairly smaller viscera, this can be an asset. "28 The advice that black anatomy may provide a physiological virtue to the athlete issues to Cobb's ambivalent perspective towards the importance of racial athletic flair. at the one hand, he brought up a scarcity of facts for "superiority in Negro anatomy or body structure" and observed his personal paintings on Jesse Owens's physically dimensions to disclaim any dating among skill and race.