From the “Letters to the Editor” page in the Altoona Mirror, I bring you today’s installment of “Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write, ” submitted to the Mirror by a John K. Coyle (NOT THE SPEEDSKATER!!!) from Bedford, Pennsylvania. (Bolding is mine as always)
Award-winning syndicated columnist Tom Sowell’s column on “racial representation” is a must read.
In it, he offers his opinion on whether the black race should be continuously complaining of how they are not equally representative in every phase of “what matters.”
He writes with “tongue-in-cheek” of how even the NFL comes up short, with his perfect example of “failure to represent.”
I quote Sowell, “I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but I have never seen one black player kick an extra point.”
I’m surprised there wasn’t a group of professional protesters at the Super Bowl.
And as always, Tom says it “So-well.”
Oh God, what is that “black race” complaining about now? I bet it’s something really petty, amirite? Let’s go to The Jewish World Review to check out the column in question, shall well?
The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Wait, what? That’s the controversy Sowell is writing about? Is Mr. Coyle misrepresenting Mr. Sowell’s column by only quoting that eye roll worthy joke example of NFL placekickers? I mean, I admit that I don’t really like Thomas Sowell’s political and social ideas, but he is a nationally known columnist. Surely he wouldn’t dismiss the lack of nominations for blacks at the Academy Awards the past two years, while the nominations are decided by a voting body that is overwhelmingly white with just that weak ass example. Right? I mean, just because he never saw a black place kicker in the NFL doesn’t mean they don’t exist. At the time this article went to press there had been 4 black NFL place kickers.
I doubt whether any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever went on to become ballet dancers. Nor is it likely that this had anything to do with either genetics or racism. The very thought of becoming a ballet dancer never crossed my mind and it probably never occurred to the other guys either.
The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minorities for coaching jobs. The difference is there were plenty of candidates being ignored when the rule began.
Black kicking prospects aren’t being ignored. They aren’t turned into defensive backs or wide receivers, like promising black quarterbacks used to be. Nobody’s pulling a Jimmy the Greek and saying they lack the leg strength or other “necessities.”
There simply aren’t many out there.
“The hard part is finding a kid who’ll stick with it,” said Oglesby, who runs a kicking camp in Atlanta. “I come across kids who have the talent, but either they’re not interested or don’t have the money to attend camps. Or they play on a team that doesn’t put any emphasis on it.”
Almost all young kickers played soccer, which is not popular in black communities. They get specialized training and don’t depend on high schools developing their skills.
That’s a good thing, since kicking is often an afterthought on the high-school level. And even if a kicker is a young Sebastian Janikowski, the position doesn’t have much sex appeal to an impressionable kid of any race.
As for the ballet dancing, I must admit that I also didn’t know any male ballet dancers growing up. The thought never crossed my mind, and I doubt it really ever did for most of the guys I went to school with. Yet I grew up in a school that was 99% white. How can that be? Shouldn’t I have been swimming through future ballet principles? Could it be that some forms of dance, like, ballet maybe, are favored more by girls growing up than boys? The stereotype when I went to school, which was ages ago, granted, was that little boys played sports while little girls did gymnastics and dance. Was it sexist as all get out? Hell yeah. It wasn’t as divided as I make it seem, girls did play basketball (soccer had yet to catch on) and eventually softball, but the now common sight of a girl playing Little League certainly didn’t occur during my childhood. The point is that although not the common path, some little white boys and little black boys do decide they want to do ballet. And if Mr. Sowell, or Mr. Coyle seriously think racism isn’t an obstacle for those black children who want to dance ballet, then they have never done any research into ballet. Ballet has a serious obsession with “the look.” Women must be lithe, flat-chested, and delicate while the men must fit their own mold. The ballet company, the director, and the audience all have an image of what a ballet dancer should look like, and all too often that mental image is of a white person. Look at Misty Copeland’s rise to Principle dancer and the pitfalls she had to face in spite of her unquestionable talent because she was black with a body outside the classical image of a ballerina.
Even with his pitiful examples, the most audacious part of Sowell’s column is his attempt to obfuscate the actual argument against the Academy Awards. Black actors point out the complete white-out for acting nominations, two years running, and Sowell does some quick slight of hand and is suddenly talking about professions where African Americans are underrepresented. But that misses the point entirely. Acting is not a profession that is void of black talent. There were legitimate candidates for nomination the past two years. This isn’t a case of “well, maybe black folks don’t act, ” or “maybe black folks don’t like to kick balls,” or “none of my black friends danced ballet.” It’s more “gee, isn’t it funny that this incredibly white voting bloc keeps giving all the nominations to white people, even though there are deserving candidates with differing skin tones.” It has much more in common with the old “so if white people and black people use drugs at similar rates per capita, then why does such a massive amount more black people wind up getting arrested?” than Sowell’s sad sack examples.
For Thomas Sowell? I know, it’s not hard. As a black conservative columnist, you can pretty much say anything and your intended audience will lap it all up. But judging by your CV, you are not a stupid man. So come on, out of intellectual integrity at the least, a bit less baiting, and a bit less switching.
And Mr. John K. Coyle (Not the Speedskater! Seriously, don’t mess with the speedskating guy, he didn’t say anything.)? As a fellow white person, although a few decades your junior, I urge you to refrain from ever telling “the black race” what you think they should do. Especially in a public forum with your name attached while possessing a non-private (not mean enough to link it, it’s easy enough to find.) Facebook account. I assure you, they do not care what you think, and you sound like your next words will be “I’m not racist, but…”