Tag Archives: Sports Illustrated

Illustrating Racism in Sports: Sports Illustrated

IN THE 1990s, the U.S. media made much to-do about so-called genetic differences between “white” and “black” athletes. One prominent example is the cover story in a December 8, 1997 issue of Sports Illustrated titled “What Ever Happened to the White Athlete,” which is exposed by JOSHUA BRISSON in his essay below. Sports Illustrated discuses a supposed “black” takeover of professional sports and the demise of the “white” athlete in  that country. Although published 15 years ago, the cover story concentrates different pseudoscientific and racist theses that continue to be promoted today. The fact that the media highlights genetics, cites a handful of sports (football, baseball, basketball, track and field) as “proof” and omits mention of the effect of social conditions – saying nothing for instance about the very real issue of state-organized and institutional racism and the elimination of any opportunity to participate in sport and recreation by the vast majority of the people in the United States – is worthy of note.  In fact, such “explanations” are equivalent to the pseudoscientific “gene” explanations long given for everything from poverty to aggression. People should be vigilant against such so-called science. As is always the case, the key question is who benefits from acceptance of the claims made. When the claims let the monopolies and sport cartels off the hook for their inhuman activity, it is crystal clear that the beneficiaries are not the people. – Tony Seed Continue reading

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