About 50 years after racial segregation had been outlawed in the US, Gabby Douglas made her historical Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics. But, despite nearly half a century of racial integration in American society, Gabby’s presence on the gym floor was as conspicuous as a polar bear in a desert — a Black girl slaying it in gymnastics, a “White sport”, was extraordinary.
It’s not just in gymnastics that Black athletes are sparse, the same can be said for other sports like lacrosse, swimming, soccer, tennis, and crew, to name a few. So what exactly is going on here? Aren’t we post-racial by now?
It’s no accident that in today’s society, the basketball courts and athletic tracks are dominated by Black athletes, meanwhile white athletes dominate in the pools and on the tennis courts. While it might be tempting to explore “the why” of this matter from a genetics angle, the root cause of it is probably more socioeconomic than biological...
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