Sport Taboo

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Amanda Kaufman
English Composition 1020
12.01.12
Sport Taboo: Society should not hide from the truth but embrace it The sport taboo of why black athletes are better than white athletes in some sports is a subject that many people believe is fueled by racism; however, many scientists and researchers would argue this statement. Scientists and researchers would argue “There is a difference between describing different heritable differences, or different phenotypic or body-type differences, and attributing it to race or some kind of racial determinism” (Jones). Researchers and scientists separate these two entities, so why cant society? The question that society cannot ignore is why black athletes are better than white athletes in sports such as track, basketball, and football. It is fair to question as some sports, such as the 100metre sprint, are so heavily dominated by black athletes that it is a fact that is hard to ignore. Society needs to become more knowledgeable about the facts involved within this sport taboo of black athlete domination so that they can make more intelligent judgments on the subject. Through knowledge society can get rid of stereotypes and common beliefs and embrace the differences that exist amongst human genetics and physical attributions. Ancestry and the home country that the athlete is from can play a major part toward any athlete’s success. It is quite clear from overwhelming results and evidence that Africans dominate the sport of running. Most black athletes who can trace their ancestry back to West Africa “hold more than 95% of the top times in sprinting” (Entine). Also, many athletes that are from the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia dominate the middle and long distance running races. Kenya is known as the powerhouse for long distance running because “70-80% of the winners of long distance races since the 1980’s have been from Kenya” (Why). There is evidence as to why the country of Kenya is such a formidable force. Researchers who studied the difference between the physicality’s of Kenyans athletes who rarely trained and Western professionally athletes found that the Kenyans had “less mass for their height, longer legs, shorter torsos, and more slender limbs” (Why). The researchers claimed that the Kenyans physical characteristics made them more efficient runners, especially over long distances. It is clear that the genes and physical characteristics of Kenyan athletes play a substantial role in the cause and reason for their success as long distance runners. If one has a body that is more suited to a particular sport then one is more likely to succeed in that given sport. There is also a substantial reason as to why black athletes seem to be predominantly better runners than whites, and why white athletes are evidently better swimmers than blacks. According to a study by a Duke University professor named Andre Bejan, “what matters is not total height but the position of the belly-button, or centre of gravity” (2012). Apparently, black athletes have averagely longer legs than white athletes, which means that their belly-buttons are three centimeters higher than whites. The “hidden” height that black athletes have gives them a significant speed advantage especially when running on the track. In contrast, white athletes lower position of the belly-button means that they have longer torsos on average. In terms of the white domination in swimming, the swimmer who makes the biggest wave is normally the fastest swimmer; consequently, a longer torso makes a swimmer’s wave bigger. It is clear that the race, ancestry or home country an athlete is from, and the genes that make the different physical characteristics all play and provide an essential role in the success of an athlete. It is also evident that athletes are successful for different reasons and that what makes a black athlete good at running is not the same characteristic as what makes a white athlete good at swimming. Black...
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