African-American Fixation and Modern Superiority in Sports
Sports are significant in many ways to any individual of the society and their values can notarize any political ideology. Sports have often been considered as a missionary tool of liberation, as anti-hegemonic. Fascists, communists, liberal marketers and filibusters have always revered sports. Even political group of dissidents has also vituperated sports, paradoxically. Sports have marked itself as the most powerful form of human expression during all of man’s time. Sadly, sports fail to serve the United States ideology in any ways people decided to define democratic values during this, the American Century, when we became the most powerful purveyors of sports in all history (Gerald Early, Performance And Reality Race, Sports and the Modern World).
Race does not comprise of a system consisting of the privileged or discredited abilities. It is rather an entirety of clashing rumination of what it means to be a human. In today’s time the portrayal of sports, is as antediluvian as race. In their contestable bestseller, Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein said, “Given a chance, each clan will add up its accomplishments using its own weighting system, will encounter the world with confidence in its own worth. What would African-Americans bring to America’s multicultural carnival? The dominance of many black Athletics” (The African-American Sports Fixation, (http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~africam/sportsfix.pdf).
The fixation of black Americans with the world of athletics is primarily due to the search for their identity and respect. Many Black Americans consider the path of sports as the only way to attain popularity and augmented opportunity. Sports fixation serves as a pride for the Black American community. There are numerous reasons, which contribute to the Black American sports fixation. Rudy Washington, Executive Director of the Black Coaches Association, said, “the fundamental problem is the home life, the black community, because in no other race is sports such a dominant factor every day as it is in the black community”(The African-American Sports Fixation, (http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~africam/sportsfix.pdf).The superiority or dominance of black athletes in the sports arena has compelled the audience to associate racial identity with black physicality. As a result of their history as slaves and laborers, the blacks are frequently thought of being good in sports. Due to their physical strength they are usually positioned in sports rather than any other activities which involves intellectualism.
Black American’s sports fixation is the direct result of the exclusion of blacks from every cognitive elite of the past century and the resulting starvation for race heroes; it has always been a defensive response to the assault on black intelligence, which continues to this day (The African-American Sports Fixation, (http://istsocrates.berkeley.edu/~africam/sportsfix.pdf).Sports fixation is more dominantly found in the Black American middle class. Media is also responsible for the Black’s obsession with sports. The media usually concentrated on portraying the black Americans as everything rather than intellectuals. It apprehended the pretentious Black and his misbehaviors. Black doctors, lawyers and business people were covered on a very small scale. Twenty to thirty years ago many blacks were campaigning against the blaxploitation films, which concentrated on showing the Black race as violent, narcissistic and anti-social. An example of such a film is Superfly produced in the 1970s. Media covered the Blacks greatly after they made their substantial place in the athletic world. This attracted many Black Americans into sports who saw it as a chance of finally gaining good recognition by the media.
The academic side such as school systems is also not far behind in contributing to Black student’s preoccupation in the sports world. The discouraging attitude of school systems is destroying and discouraging the academic achievement of these students. Peer pressure in schools tends to dwindle Black American’s inclination to succeed academically. It is highly essential for the Black community to reevaluate their perception of academic learning. The general perception of these children in school is to act white in pursuit of scholastic accomplishments.
Black American students are still a victim of inequalities in many school systems. This was greatly pointed by Jonathan Kozol, who is an educator and an activist. In many cities, which he visited, racial isolation was a criterion, an enforced regime of deprivation and near-total societal rejection. Local particularities seem as only minor variations on the America-wide, systemic assault on dark and poor children (Black Children Still Victimized By Savage Inequalities, (http://www.blackcommentator.com/13_education.html).After his journey, Kozol insisted that humans and citizenship rights should be prioritized than race and economic status. He insisted that racists have no resentment against the black youth, they only work to belittle and dehumanize the Black American as a whole. Black American children are completely denied from their rights of a good school system. According to a Chicago teacher, “Blacks are utterly cut off from the outside world. Without exception, per-pupil expenditure on inner city education is a fraction of the money spent on students in nearby suburbs, which again, without exception refuse to share any of their abundant wealth” (Black Children Still Victimized By Savage Inequalities, (http://www.blackcommentator.com/13_education.html).
Some of the student’s comments on the injustice imposed on them are as follows, boy from St. Louis when asked whether money or race was the reason for the pathetic condition of his school, he said, “the two things, race and money, go so close together, what’s the difference? I live here, they live there, and they don’t want me in their school.”
14-year-old girl from St. Louis said, “We have a school in East St. Louis named for Dr. King. The school is full of sewer water and the doors are locked with chains. Every student in that school is black. It’s like a terrible joke on history” (Black Children Still Victimized By Savage Inequalities, (http://www.blackcommentator.com/13_education.html).
The sad conditions of the school systems have led to high failure rates and many drop outs. If this situation prevails than success will have no meaning in the eyes of the Black youth. Some black students are also assaulted physically in their schools.
Students and parents of the Trier High School in Chicago are complaining about the sacrifices they have to make because of the Black students, as if the Black students do not form any part of their society. Kozol shows that these people benefit from Black misery in a way since a greater number of high school students would mean less graduates, which in turn leads to less students seeking college education, hence leading to more college seats for Trier High School students.
It is no doubt that such poor attitude of the school system towards Black Students lead them towards Sport’s fixation. As athletics they are able to gain self-pride and their own identity. They are recognized and praised by individuals world over. In this way they feel the essence of success rather than failure.
The scenario of Blacks occupying every sport more than the Whites is sometimes seen as a contemporary issue. Much commentary has been fabricated on the topic, whether sports are bad for Blacks. In February 1997 German scholar John Hoberman published Darwin’s Athletes: How Sports has damaged Black America And Preserved the Myth of Race. In his story Hoberman made an analogy that sports is a form of slavery and unsubtle political and economic persecution. This analogy is used to describe the unseen side of sports i.e. how audience is attracted into it as false production and how white male autonomy controls black players both physically and mentally and their passage to the market worth their talent. The other countenance of the Black America damaged by Sports is that Black Americans are considered as laborers or as inferior beings. Hoberman claims that black over investment in sports is both the cause and result of black anti-intellectualism, itself the result of virulent white racism, meant to confine blacks to certain occupations (Gerald Early, Performance And Reality Race, Sports and the Modern World).
Hoberman has greatly been criticized for claiming that Blacks are fixated to sports, which is a parallel to pathology. He considers the blacks to be greatly damaged by their obsession with sports. In response to Hoberman, Steve Seller in his essay pointed out,
Black achievement in sports serves very practical ends, giving African-Americans a cultural and market niche, and that far from indicating a lack of intelligence, blacks dominance in some sports reveals a highly specialized intelligence: creative improvisation and on-the-fly interpersonal decision-making, which also explains black dominance in jazz, running with the football, rap, dance, trash talking, preaching, and oratory. It might be said from this that blacks have fast-twitch brain cells. In any case, blacks had already been conceded these gifts by whites in earlier displays of condescension. But black sports dominance is no small thing to blacks because, as they deeply know, to win is to be human (Great Black Hopes, National Review).
Black Americans have dominance in boxing, football, baseball and basketball. They use the sports field as simply getting out of the slum. Black families usually lack the resources such as capital to provide to their family members when compared to the white or Asian families. Many see sports as a good exit out of poverty and dumps. Even the poorest of individuals play sports such as football and basketball. A good number of high school dropouts’ caused by inequalities in the school system would eventually increase the level of poverty. Hence those who are talented in their sports use it as a way to enter a much better financial class.
Besides the Black Americans, many White Americans are also good in the profession of sports. They exemplify in weight lifting and wrestling mainly because of their better torsos. Both Blacks and White are equally good in their sport’s career but since sports is a passion to the Blacks they are more dedicated (Jon Entine. Debate and Chat).
Jesse Jackson once said, “Sports can change the despair in our communities into hope, replace low esteem into confidence and rebuild a true sense of community that transcends neighborhood and racial boundaries” (The African-American Sports Fixation, (http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~africam/sportsfix.pdf).
Gerald E. 17 Aug. 1998. Performance And Reality Race, Sports and the Modern World.
The Nation, Sports: A View From Left To Right.
The African-American Sports Fixation. Available on the address http://istsocrates.berkeley.edu/~africam/sportsfix.pdf. Accessed on 14 Mar. 2003.
Black Children Still Victimized By Savage Inequalities. Available on the address http://www.blackcommentator.com/13_education.html. Accessed on 14 Mar. 2003.
Steve S. 12 Aug. 1996. Great Black Hopes. National Review.
Jon E. Debate And Chat. 2001. Available on the address http://www.jonentine.com/reviews/AOL_debate.htm. Accessed on 14 Mar. 2003.
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