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Darwin's Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

John Hoberman
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3. November 1997
DARWIN'S ATHLETES focuses on society's fixation with black athletic achievement. Hoberman argues that this obsession has come to play a troubling role in African American life and our country's race relations. Rich, flamboyant superstars lend credence to age-old prejudices, recycled "scientific" theories denigrating black intelligence, and stereotypes of black violence. This portrayal of black identity encourages a disdain for academic achievement already too widespread among black males. Darwin's Athletes is a powerful indictment of modern sport's racial spectacle.


  • Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
  • Verlag: Mariner Books (3. November 1997)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0395822920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395822920
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 2,8 x 22,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 586.984 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"You should buy Darwin's Athletes . . . It's provocative, disturbing, important." The New York Times


Argues that the prominence of African American athletes provides fuel for sterotypes.

In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
IN AN ESSAY that accompanied the publication of their controversial bestseller The Bell Curve, Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein offered a measure of solace to an African-American population doomed, according to their theory, to irremediable intellectual inferiority. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Don't let the title fool you 21. Februar 2000
Von Ein Kunde
This is a provocative text that explores the fetishizing of the Black athletic body but don't let the title fool you. This book does more to chastize Black ntellectuals for not delving into the topic as he has, while maintaining that to elevate athletic achievement as "artistic" is ridiculous and only is evidence of Black inability to critically interrogate the mechanisms that commidifiy and objectify the Black body in sports. Hoberman provides a detailed history of the scientific construction of race, and his historical detail is actually very helpful. But the reader should know that Hoberman spends more time putting blame on Black intellectuals AND the Black community for romanticizing the Black athlete, not pushing for the youth to achieve intellectually (which to him is more superior than athletic ability), and for being blinded by our faith to big-money ballers than to the sports industry who help to construct the myth of the Black athlete and make both a fetish and a profit zone of his or her body. The more I read it I began to notice that his tone was actually self-congratulory: in accusing the Black community, intellectuals in particular, he sets himself on a pedestal. His statements have somewhat of a judgemental, superior tone, that's condescending and at times implicitly racist regardless of whether that's what he intended. This book provoked a reaction out of me and I can only conclude that he's blaming the wrong people here.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Social stereotypes instead of Biological ones 29. Februar 2000
Is sport really to blame for the suffering of black people in the West? Of course the special success of black athletes has a lot to do with the negative realities of racist society. But it also has something to do with the strength of people who have faced adversity and not given up, or at least have the drive to try to secure for themselves a future. Society depends on such people, so is it really a bad thing that they become role models? The "Black Cause", insofar as it does or should exist, is not retarded each time a black athlete crosses the finish line. But it is retarded every time a teacher expects less from a black kid, or a rich black superstar suddenly becomes content with the status quo, or a writer makes money by replacing a false biological stereotype (and it is false, I've done the research Jon Entine failed to do) with an equally false social one.
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22 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Mandatory Reading on the Racial Issue 19. Februar 2008
Von H. Campbell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Hoberman has written a masterful account of not just racism in sport but in general, from the social, biological, cultural, political and international perspective. He makes convincing arguments that sport, rather than being the great equaliser between the races, actually has retarded black social advancement by creating an acceptable alternative to white intellectual achievement. Indeed, a plague currently afflicting black education makes any black scholastic accomplishments of the non-physical variety "white" and therefore nerdy and uncool. The imagery of Michael Jordan seduces young blacks, most of whom have no chance of ever attaining professional athletic status, into abandoning academic study for the glamor, girls and glory associated with sport. Hoberman shows how whites, who originally denigrated blacks as being lazy and shiftless, have come to regard them as athletic supermen, against which no white man would be able to legitimately compete. More insidiously, many blacks are all too willing to accept that their natural athletic genius exempts them form having to compete with whites in the intellectual sphere. The pride shown with the black athletes that have overcome white racism, such as Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, winds up hurting the overall black goal of full social integration when it serves to be the end-all-and-be-all of the black experience in America. Hoberman also makes the point that blacks achieving wealth and fame in sport still are prisoners in a gilded cage created for the profit and entertainment of the white power structure. Without taking the same level of pride in intellectual, artistic and political prowess as with sports, blacks will continue to function on the margins of white controlled society. His observations with respect to shibboleths about racial biology and superiority are scathing indictments of the perpetuation of mythology that justifies this or that racist neurosis. Indeed, it still pervades the racial discussion, and even affects the way blacks see themselves. The invidious process of the physicalization of the black man started with slavery and continued into athletics, so that even if blacks showed superior speed or strength, they were always criticized by whites for their lack of intelligence, courage or endurance. Those lies were made manifest with the likes of Muhammad Ali, black soldiers in both world wars, African distance runners and intellectuals like DuBois, but the mindset did not change. Only until very recently have black quarterbacks in the NFL been seen as capable of doing the same job as white QBs, after years of "common" knowledge that black QBs didn't have the mental chops as whites. Sadly, it seems like sports is the only forum that blacks acknowledge they can compete with the white man. It appears only some brave black women have the courage to criticize the obsession with black prowess, which even among black intellectuals is revered and used as standards by which black achievement is measured. Charles Barkeley, he of large frame and larger mouth, is an outspoken critic of the undue emphasis that sports has in the black community, but of course we pay attention to him because he is a famous wealthy athlete, not because he is a man of letters or scientific achievement. Hoberman's book is sobering, thought provoking and only racists of either color would condemn him for his exemplary tome, that should be required reading in high schools throughout the nation. Alas, because he does skewer the black community with the painful truth, his whiteness will be used against him. Diogenes, come hither and shine your light on Hoberman. Diogenes, of course, is incapable of adjudging his color.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Hoberman Dares to Expose the Dirty Business of Sports 1. Juli 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I purchase John Hoberman's book right after it was first published. This was in the spring of 1998. Prior to its release he appeared on a segment of Nightline, along with other guests, to discuss the effects of sports on african americans. As I recall he was the only white guest on the show. Ted Koppel introduced Dr Hoberman as a man who had written a controversial newly published book. When I heard this I naturally had to continue watching it so that I could learn it's title. Needless Hoberman was treated rather harshly by the other guests. For what I saw and heard I agreed with most of his comments. As a black man I have long thought that sports has had a very bad effect on blacks. I had the feeling that because Hoberman was going against the grain he would not be a guest on many shows. He was supposed to be on the president's race panel which was held in Houston dealing with sports. Anyway, I went out the next day and ordered the book. I think it a very accurate book on the adverse effects sports have had on the black community. It is a matter of fact that athletes are expected to maintain low academic standards. It is very acceptable to lead criminal life and still get excepted to elite colleges. Not all but some. It is a matter of fact that the NCAA sets academic guidelines that most universities except. For example. When we passed proposition 209 here in California athletes were not required to meet strict academic standards expected for other blacks. Before 209 athletes were admitted under affirmative action in the University of California system. They knew that athletes would no longer be able to enroll under the new standards. So they were removed and 209 became a gender, race and ethnic issue. The UC Berkeley rejected 4.0 black students with a SAT 1500 score. Just to let in a black athlete with a 2.5 GPA. And they make provisions for even the learning disabled athlete. The basketball's team GPA is 2.47. Again, black people get caught up in the belief that athletes ar! e an advancement of our race. Bottom line is only white people are profiting huge sums of money from this non-sense. Hoberman is right in many of his conclusions. I realize that Hoberman is a white man. And many black people think that he may be a racist. Okay, then lets try this. Go and read Nathan McCall's book "What's Going On". And read Earle Ofari Hutchinson's book "Assassination of The Black Male Image" These are blacks and they talk about the kinds of things Hoberman talks about. Maybe you can call them Uncle Toms. The fact is you would be hard pressed to find any institutions which seeks out people with the lowest standards/qualifications rather than the highest. Maybe it is good that many blacks are in the NBA, NFL, colleges. If they were'nt they be out on the street mugging, selling drugs, performing drive by shooting, raping and on and. Some of them do it anyway.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Penetrating Analysis of Sports Culture 23. Juli 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
It appears that many reviewers have missed what I perceive as Hoberman's point - that the emphasis of the black body as the locus of black identity necessarily de-emphasizes the intellectual capabilities and development of black people. The advertising, media, and sports industries all thrive on the perpetuation of black physical stereotypes that have existed since the first contacts between European and African. Just compare the press treatment of Larry Bird - as a careful, analytical, intelligent, under-control white man - with Shaq - as a biological freak whose sheer size makes up for his lack of gray matter. Such stereotypes of blacks as physical machines meant to entertain us are extremely damaging to black culture.
Intellectualism has been sacrificed to the sportive element in black culture, where academic success (unless in tandem with athletic excellence) is considered traitorous to black authenticity. The acceptable spheres of black self-expression - namely sport, negro music, and dance - are considered the only authentically black talents by both white and black culture. Such a stifling limitation should not be placed upon black culture, yet this is perpetuated everyday in our sporting culture and in our advertising media.
After you read this book, you will not be able to watch a sporting event without thinking about the exploitation of black athletes. Watch the commercials, read the ads, and you will realize that blacks are, more often than not, presented as mere physical beings whose animality precludes a deeper humanity.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Darwin's Athletes: Yours, Mine, and Ours 21. Dezember 1997
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Different pieces of information, stick with different people for different reasons. I guess that might be the case also for collections of information, like books. With all of the many problems out there that our athletes seem to repeatedly wrap themselves in (the latest of which involves NBA star, Latrell Sprewell), for me there has a been a book that has fairly and intelligently addressed perhaps why. That book is "Darwin's Athletes: How Sport has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race," by John Hoberman.
It's taken me nearly a year to write about this very important book, as it became more and more valuable in constant review. Especially as a sort of primer in regards to our athletes, and the many problems they seemingly should've gracefully avoided by way of the many alternatives they are afforded in exchange for their abilities. Be that as it may, that was not the case with Mike Tyson as he eventually bit a brother's ear off in a heavyweight championship fight. Neither was it the case with MLB's Roberto Alomar as he hawk-spit in the face of an umpire. Just recently, the NBA's Shaquille O'neal slapped the daylights out of another player, while Charles Barkley actually threw some dude through a window, cowboy style, yee-haa!. On top of that, there were a variety of incidences by athletes from nearly every sport we play, involving the degradation of women, from assault to rape. And here now lately, star basketball player, Latrell Sprewell jacks-up (in two parts) his coach, P.J. Carlesimo. Bringing a whole other meaning to being a Golden State Renegade, (OOPS, I meant "Warrior").
For the most part, these situations just don't seem to make sense. These guys make more money than God - so what's the problem? (Somewhat callously, I try my best not to feel too sorry for multi-millionaires, as they usually come out of their debacles just fine, while I've argued (along with countless others) into hysteria about their predicaments...but what can I say, here I go again.) Well, in Hoberman's book he hones the black athlete back to from whence he came. And illustrates the many dynamics that cause many of our athletes and us, to take our eyes off the ball, way beyond that of simply playing the game. On the contrary, it's more about us playing by the rules of a game, that's not necessarily meant for us to win, but simply to play for the enjoyment and vicarious thrill of those traditionally in charge. It's about games that separates ability into black and white, physical and intellectual and decides superiority and inferiority based ultimately upon skin color. Certainly guys are regarded as great, no matter black or white, but the black athlete is primarily given kudos based upon physicality. The white athlete is given credit for supposedly "thinking" the game (Julius "Dr. J" Erving/ Magic Johnson - Larry Bird is an example worth pondering).
The book doesn't just deal with black athletes in trouble, its analysis touches upon nearly every aspect of why we are where we are and why we can't seem to get the hang of the game, though it looks and feels sometimes like we're winning. It shows how the other side keeps moving the goal post back further and further, and how the powers-that-be, keep doing a number on us by holding the green carrot in front of us. The financial flavor of this kind of carrot can addict you right out of the shoes you never had. Hoberman points out the racism and pulls no punches. His analytical approach is quite intelligent and exhaustively conclusive. It touches upon the notable black athletes of today and yesterday, and in doing so gives you a fairly good answer (as a by-product) to the question asked on the cover of a recent December `97 issue of Sports Illustrated, "What ever happened to the white athlete?" Oh well, while they ponder what happened to them, you sure better look at what's happening to you. Darwin's Athletes takes a good look at the "tree" of it all, the branches, the leaves, and the noose that continues to seemingly swing for us despite the constant winds of change.
As Sprewell now takes his place amongst the many examples of wrong turns made by expensive cars, my thoughts are more specifically on the children riding in the back seat. Sure they might be strapped in for safety against accidents, but perhaps they are also riding with the greatest danger, the enemy from within, so to speak. It's definitely something to think about, as when Sprewell is eventually replaced by the next 100 or so knuckleheads over the years, it'll one day be your kid's turn to step out on to the court. No doubt, he'll be squaring off against tremendous odds in whatever arena. Hoberman's "Darwin's Athletes," (and the other books aforementioned) could help you to better understand the opposition. Hopefully, in efforts to field the best team possible for the most important game they'll ever play.
4.0 von 5 Sternen A love/hate relationship with this book 29. April 2014
Von Paul - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Basically, this book is solid. I'm bothered by Hoberman's chastising of Black intellectuals for not addressing the issue of racism in sports as it has an odd "blaming the victim" vibe to it. That said, his analysis of racism in sports is well done.
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