General Question

Linda_Owl's avatar

It seems as though most of America's athletes are African-American. Is this simply a mistaken perception on my part or is it reality? If it is reality, why do you think this is so?

Asked by Linda_Owl (7748points) April 5th, 2009

Most football teams & basketball teams seem to be made up of African-Americans. I wonder if this means that they are, as an ethnic group, of a superior physiology? And if it does mean that are of a superior physiology, why is this the case?

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31 Answers

basp's avatar

I think it has more to do with availability and geography.
All one needs to play basketball is a ball and a hoop, things that most kids in all economic groups in all parts of the country have some access to.
How many black golfers or ice skaters, swimmers or race car drivers do you see? Relatively few. Those sports require more resources so the pool of youth they are available to is smaller.

laureth's avatar

Hockey players are almost exclusively white. And?

Edit to add: I think @basp has it spot-on.

tinyfaery's avatar

@basp has it right.

Facade's avatar

Black people are better at sports, duh!

totally kidding

filmfann's avatar

A lot of black kids spend a lot of time playing basketball. A lot of hispanic kids spend a lot of time playing soccer. That is why they are good at it, not because of some genetic quality. If you spend 11 hours a day on a basketball court, you will develope skills.

Linda_Owl's avatar

@basp I understand what you are saying, but I still do not understand why the African-Americans are so dominant in the extremely physical sports such as football & basketball. There are all sorts of other races & ethnic groups, in addition to African-Americans, so why are these two sports in particular, made up of teams of African-American individuals – why are the other groups not as well represented? I am not seeking to be racist & I am not a fan of football or basketball – it just appears to me (thru the various entertainment media exposure) that African-Americans totally dominate the world of sports. As for swimmers & ice skaters & race car drivers, I really can’t say, possibly it does take greater financial outlay to achieve in these sports. But I think it must be more of a choice than financial resources, after all, you have Tiger Woods as one of the greatest golfers & you have the Williams sisters in tennis. So it appears to me that the African-Americans must be choosing the sports such as football & basketball because of an innate ability to play these sports well. I realize this is probably not a particularly pc thing to say, because it tends to down-play the intelligence level of African-Americans vs non-African-Americans – so please be reassured that this is not my intent. African-Americans can & do excel in a wide variety of professions. The doctors who have treated me both times when I had devastating injuries to my spine & were able to put me back together, were both African-American doctors.

basp's avatar

Linda, yes, I believe there are other factors, but those factors are not intelligence based.

I think the availablity of basketball and football to children of all races in all ages makes the pool to draw from more inclusive. Add to that the social presures to get ahead and the choices young black males have (I’m speaking in generalities here) and sports is an inviting avenue for many of them. Add to that society’s desire to be politically correct and ensure that universities have ethnic populations represented…........there are many factors, but, I think the strongest one is simply availabiity at a young age to a wide group of children.

laureth's avatar

I found an interesting article just now. The preview is here, but I read the rest of it free through my school access.

Three interesting points:

1. Professional sports have provided Negroes [sic] with one of the relatively few avenues for escape from traditional blue-collar occupations. Why . . .? . . . the answer can be given in terms of pressure resources: pressure by the growing number of Negro spectators in franchise cities.

2. Myers (1991) reported that teams such as Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio- with large proportions of whites-typically have “whiter” rosters than teams such as Detroit, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.-with smaller proportions of whites. In short, using the average number of African-Americans on NBA teams as the norm, a direct correlation between the “blackness” of the franchise city and the “blackness” of the team existed.

3. The demographics of many large cities have changed. As African-Americans migrated to central cities and white fled to the suburbs the racial composition of metropolises change (the demographic pattern has also played a role in the location of sports stadiums, ball parks, and arenas). Undoubtedly the pressure from numbers alone is limited but when increasing concentration of minorities and political clout (via mayors, city council make-up and the like) are combined, alteration in many aspects of a city’s traditional social organization are disrupted. This may be an avenue worthy of investigation in the relationship between sports and society.

Interestingly, the coaches are still largely Caucasian.

filmfann's avatar

Coaches are still largely Caucasian because sitting in front of a sports show for 11 hours studying the game is typical of Caucasian men, and completely consistant with what I said before.

Mr_M's avatar

To the extent that the African sportsmen are descendants of slaves, then it was a question of “survival of the fittest”, i.e., the stronger men were purchased as slaves more often then the weaker men. The weaker men did not live through the physical demands of slavery the way the stronger men did.

critter1982's avatar

Black men can definitely jump higher. I jump like a white boy, hence I became a soccer player.

Linda_Owl's avatar

So it basically comes down to physical ability that was distilled thru generations of survival of the fittest & the attempt by society to both flee the resulting problems & make more opportunities available at the same time? An interesting concept to be sure, & it could be right on the money – thank you for your input.

laureth's avatar

If you’re going to go for the “slavery made them stronger” route (which I think is misguided), you also have to admit that not only is “survival of the fittest” alive and well outside of those whose ancestors were treated like cattle (because faster, stronger, better people of all cultures would have a survival advantage), but the “buying pressure” has been off for almost 150 years.

Mr_M's avatar

If you’re referring to my statement, I didn’t say slavery made them stronger. What I meant was that only the strongest, largest men were even purchased as slaves. That selective purchase put mostly strong, large black men in America that eventually reproduced. In addition, weaker, smaller black men that were slaves (if there WAS such a thing) didn’t survive slavery so that, again, strong, black men remained that eventually reproduced. It differs from natural selection. It was more “artificial selection” in that the slave traders selectively chose larger, stronger men to bring to America as slaves. The initial population chosen to come to America were the stronger, bigger men. I didn’t mean to confuse it with natural selection that gave us white men of all different shapes and sizes but far more fit then their primitive ancestors.

laureth's avatar

I guess I should have said, “That the process of slavery made them stronger (through selection).” I knew what you meant, I just phrased it poorly.

Crusader's avatar

This topic represents more propoganda to
elevate the African to near deification
Remember Kobe Bryan raping the white hotel worker
girl-in the anus…This was forgotten within two weeks..
He is still the so-called ‘hero of the people.’
OJ Simpson is the prime example, riots were scheduled
by black power groups holding the country hostage should
justice be served….
If this were a white man he would be Crucified.
How about other black entertainers? Michael Jackson
Martin Luther King jr.? Rodney King? As long as there is money and
power in the event/messege,virtually all personal and often
even public action and opinion will be acceptable..
Money, not Love or Accountability is the Prime Directive
in America, though there are still righteous of All races,
some races are More Accountable Than Others, with of without

nayeight's avatar

@Crusader Haha! You’re joking, right? You’ve GOT TO BE JOKING!

Crusader's avatar

It may sound unpleasant, but their is a double
standard alive and well in the USA. If the roles
were reversed, I would be hard-pressed to forgo
my group, but their are those who do so, with consquences,
but also rewards. Certainly their are many positive
examples of every race, but…

nayeight's avatar

I don’t even have the time or patience right now to fully respond to your other comment but let’s just say I think you are absolutely wrong. The fact that Kobe Bryant & OJ Simpson got off has nothing to do with them being black (that in fact, works against them). It’s because they are rich celebrities and there wasn’t enough evidence to prove them guilty or convict them. I for one, do not believe that Kobe Bryant raped that girl. I don’t even like him but I know the type of gold digging skanks that will do anything to get a couple bucks out of rich men.

Crusader's avatar

Well, I understand you postion.
However, the money and fame is an asset considering
the consequences. Riots were scheduled in LA and
elsewhere should OJ be convicted for example,
all in primarily black neighborhoods. The utilitarian
function of allowing one man to murder with impunity
and hundreds of potential casualties and massive
expense from riots was the reason OJ was exhonerated.
Also, Kobe was not convicted, despite physical evidence,
too much money at stake. Besides, she was just a gold-digging
white girl, right..? Hmmmmmm….

critter1982's avatar

@Crusader: Bill Clinton cheated on his wife in the oval office and he is still well liked in politics. It’s not a black thing.

Crusader's avatar


Well, they are all moral equilancy-seeker
liberals, and that is where the similarity ends..

It is a wicked world indeed when consensual
infidelity is equivalant to Murder and Rape
in perception.

Sorry, but the social engineering and
refusal to address the disparity of criminal acts,
such as rape and murder, and aggravated assault.
Committed by blacks/mexicans towards whites,
compared with with crime to so-called ‘minority’ groups
Per capita, mexicans commit 3–4 times more
and black 6–7 times more..And who is allowing this..?
This is bad enough, but their is not an effective deterrant.

Such as… institute the long-over due Federal Hate crime
legislation protecting whites from the individuals
among the other races who would perpetuate
digusting, vile crimes…oh but its not hate..
Just ask the Rev Sharpton, of Jesse Jackson…
They are just ‘a product of their environment..’
Its a ‘lynching’ not a Hate crime…

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep with one vote each
A Republic is a well armed sheep…
Benjamin Franklin…

First we are stripped of our abililty to earn,
Then we are stripped of our dignity,
Next we are stripped of our protected,
Then we are stripped, and violated physically…

critter1982's avatar

Yes but correlation does not imply causation. You’re using a logical fallacy by saying that hate crimes or crimes in general are commited by those of a “minor” race. Wouldn’t it be better stated that crimes/hate crimes are generally committed by those who live in inner cities with little to no parental interaction or guidance.

Secondly, I am not implying that infidelity is equivalent to murder or rape. I am implying that the public view of criminals or liars is generated by something other than race, perhaps money and power like you stated earlier, but not race.

Crusader's avatar

Accountability, Love, and Honesty.

Poor whites/northern asians from inner city
neighborhoods crime rates are significantly
lower than their black, mexican, southern asian

This is Not about money. It is about
Accountability, Love, and Honesty

dannyc's avatar

Well, politically incorrect as it sounds, African Americans are simply superior with reason behind the development. The very negative side of the slave trade was the despicable forcing of will of white people on a people. But the revenge of some genetic manipulation is evident in Obama, Michael Jordan, and Lebron. Finally let to reveal their potential, the results are obviousl. God bless the balance!

Crusader's avatar


Reality check, yes, I will acknowledge there all exceptional blacks, but ‘gratitude and cleanliness’ is necessary for genius to be tolerable. (To this I would add, self control, accountabiltiy, honesty, and charity,)95% of blacks in the last election had no gratitude for an experienced statesman war hero and an independent, just the inexperienced unknown black man who could advance them personally. I refute your ‘balance’ theory.

Also, in terms of reason, this was Brought to them, repeatedly and repeatedly missionaries have been murdered, raped, and mutilated. After Egypt, it was virtual anarchy, both Rome helped, North and East Africa have had more assistance and integration, but are still Very racist, and generally a very poor standard of living due to Rampant Corruption and lack of conscience…

Lastly, the ‘very negative side of the slave trade’ was first that rich Lords decided it, not a public discourse, thus 99% of whites have no responsibility, And the blacks who were to be shipped off were Hand Delivered by other black tribes who Conquered Them, those who were not delivered to slavery in the Americas by Other Black Tribes, were either 1.) Sold to Arabs as Slaves, or 2.) Sold to other Black Tribes as Slaves for labor or Cannibalized for Food.

nayeight's avatar

@Crusader You are an idiot and I really hope that you don’t believe the things that you are saying. You’re pulling percentages out of your ass. 99% of whites had no responsibility? I suppose that most of the plantation owners in America were African. There were African tribes that did catpure other enemy tribes and sell them into slavery but that does not place all the blame on Africans. And as far as missionaries go… There are some places where missionaires are not welcome. Period. Don’t go or you will be murdered, it’s pretty black & white. Not everyone wants to be “saved”.

Crusader's avatar

I appreciate your continued dialogue, even if you preface your statements with personal attacks of incopetance and outrage, (though you do respond after that in a reasonable manner, not entirely accurate, but reasonable,)

Ok, the 99% figure? What percent of White America do you believe were plantation owners anyway? A slave was $20,000 USD 300 years Ago, that is equivilant to about 350,000 in todays dollars, I would say that only 1% could afford even One slave, and perhaps 1/10 of a percent had plantations with several. The vast Majority of Americans were subsistance farmers or works in factories for subsitance wages, that is to say, Just enough to eat and have accomodation, NO Luxury. It is the Elite who Owned to Slaves/started perpetuated the wars and their decendants who give you and yours an advantage over the Whites and their decendents who are blameless, in terms of personal profit anyway, especially the southern white subsistance farmer, he had no stake in slavery, yet died to preserve the investments of the ultra rich plantation owners, and the avaricious opportunist hyper capatalistic hypocrite Northerner Industrialist, who only collectively decried slavery after Europe ceased the ‘peculiar institution’ 30 years before, (and boycotts against American cotton we cutting into profit,) and the introduction of automation with the Cotton Gin, try understanding the Real History, not just the crap forced down your throat for the sake of political expediency and accepted, in any case, for personal aggrandizement. Thus, the 99% figure is Accurate.

I did not say all the ‘blame’ was the be levied upon the Africans for enslaving one another, but such wholesale slavery would never had been possible without the active and enthusiastic contribution of the Africans themselves to sell each other into slavery.

Yes, many places missionaries are not welcome, and violent results are possible. Many do not want to be ‘saved’ just as many White consevatives do not want to be ‘corrupted’ by those who would murder them for simply having a conversation about an lifestyle proven to be prudent for individual accountabilty, honesty, and charity. Furthermore, if blacks can form separatist (and supremist) groups in America and all over Africa, is stands to reason whites can do it also. Your extremist activists, and most moderates will accept virtually any system as long as you profit personally, why else would Africa be governed so poorly for so long, even regions in America with primarily black leadership and black constituents have terrible corruption and high crime rates. Take care of your own house First, Accountability, until then whites/and white asians in particualr are entitled to be separated, and wary of you.

Response moderated
Crusader's avatar

Thank you for proving my point. Dismissive, feigned amusement, unwillingness to accept any position or information unless it serves your agenda, your catagorical dissmissal is indicative of why Africa and its denizens as well as African dominated communities are often violent, and intolerant, even towards each other. In America you have allies and a common enemy and subsidies and Still high crime and lack of accountability, prove me wrong. I would prefer all to be accountable, honest, and charitable in general.

BBQsomeCows's avatar

You are mistaken if:

the person was not born in Africa

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