Many people believe that black athletes are ‘naturally’ gifted for sports, implying that their success is rooted in their biology. However, there is no actual evidence that Black athletes are better at sport than White athletes. It is an absolute myth. Race itself is a social construction as there is no genetic basis for race. It initially said by White people that Blacks are too weak to play sports. But when Jack Johnson became the new heavyweight champion in boxing (1908), he became a threat to the white supremacy. To change this, it was then said that “Blacks are naturally gifted” at sports. The fact that these White people could come up with any excuse to justify that they are superior to Black people is astonishingly ridiculous.
As said from the article The Myth of Natural Talent, by Karen Farquharson:
“the myth is pernicious because it gives the impression that Black athletes are not students of their game, and are not suited to thinking strategically, to providing leadership on the field, or in coaching positions after they finish playing.”
This thought of Blacks being naturally gifted progressed further such that people than believed White athletes worked hard for their athletic success, whereas Blacks did not even have to work hard to win.
The Hilltop Review article The Myth of Racial Superiority in Sports speaks of how sports hold a special place in the hearts of many Americans. Indeed, athletic competition has come to define and shape our understanding in many ways of what it means to be American. The idea in the past that Black people were inferior to Whites implied that they were not true Americans, and therefore could not play sports as they were no good. Then, when this implication was challenged, Whites wanted to justify themselves so by coming up with the saying that Black people were naturally gifted, “saving” their culture.
As well, geneticists have long known that there is greater genetic variation within so-called racial groups than between them. There has been genetic testing on sports where “blacks naturally succeed” sports such as basketball, running, etc., however, there is a lack genetic testing when it comes to other sports like skiing, skating, etc. (sports claimed to be “white sports”). Who defines that sports are separated into colours? All people should be allowed to play any sport they choose without conflict.
Society has moved forward from this myth, but unfortunately it can still have an impact on people both Black and White athletes today. Therefore, whenever the concept is raised it should be challenged to put an end to it.
Feature image: source