26 Sept. 2012
Chains and Delusions
All people from Texas ride horses, white guys can’t dance and Asians are very good at math. Some stereotypes are humorous but others for example, one dangerous pre-notion is that African-Americans are more likely to become professional athletes then acquire a real job like a doctor or lawyer. This is an illusion portrayed by the coaches and teachers who promote athleticism over academics. Plato’s “The Allegory of the cave” shows us that “chains” and “shadows” keeps one from being enlightened, just like these young African-Americans. Henry Louis Gates Jr’s “Delusions of Grandeur” tells how this illusion “chains” down the African-American youth to a mindset of professional sports. Gates illuminates the devastating effects of the “shadows” being cast and “chains” being imposed on African-American minds keeping them in a “cave” of ignorance and keeping them unenlightened to the possibilities around them.
A “shadow” that is being portrayed is that African-Americans dominate professional sports in numbers. Plato says, “And they see their own shadows, or shadows of one another” (Plato 2). The evidence of this “shadow” being cast is demonstrated when Gate’s offers five dollars to whoever could tell him how many professional African-American athletes were at work today. He receives outrages answers like ten million and five hundred thousand, showing how our society is ignorant to the facts. There are 1,200 African-American professional athletes in the US. According to Gates there are actually 12 times more African-American lawyers, 2 ½ times more dentists and 15 times more doctors then professional African-American athletes.
Young African-Americans are often encouraged to train their athleticism by teachers and coaches even if that means neglecting academics; this “chains” them down destined to stay in the cave of athletics and ignorance. Plato says, “How can they see anything but shadows...
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