Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: The All-Black Sports Platform”

This Comment of the Day by Here’s Johnny on “Ethics Quiz: The All-Black Sports Platform” needs no introduction.

Here it is:


In my early years (40s, 50s), there was racism aplenty. The small community I lived in, the schools I attended, the activities I was involved in, all were white and as WASPish as they come. My parents didn’t seem to be especially racist, but one comment I do remember was my mother saying that Negroes (the accepted term way back then, although ‘colored people’ was also used) were okay so long as they “stayed in their place.” Their place was the segregated part of the nearby rather large city.

Fortunately for me, my career path took me away from both that mentality and that kind of segregation, via a military that was integrated and a second career in education in a community even more thoroughly integrated. Times changed. I changed. And, now, I am supposed to accept segregation once again? Well, count me out.

It’s terrific that “Andscape” wants to provide uplifting stories about black athletes. But, in my two careers, great achievements were not defined by the color of one’s skin, nor by ethnicity; they were defined by the achievements.
I recall one conversation with a black officer. I said the routine morning sessions with the commanding general helped establish my credibility within the organization. He replied that he did not need those sessions, that his credibility was independent of that, and that his accomplishments could stand or fall on their own. He had undoubtedly endured many instances of prejudice and had a tough climb to get to the position he was in, yet he saw quite clearly that he had agency.

Affirmative action, as originally implemented, was a step away from agency. As it has evolved, the steps have grown longer. ESPN’s “The Undefeated”, and its devolution to “Andscape” diminish agency to a greater extent. Are we now to keep separate stats on the performance of athletes according to race or ethnicity?

There is no question that there are great black stories to be told, and we all should be receptive to them. But, to categorize achievements in a field such as sports according to race, and to highlight just those of one race, is to deny the essence of excellence. It diminishes rather than elevates.

Race-focused platforms are, to answer the question, neither responsible nor benign. They are evil.

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