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Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports And Why We're Afraid To Talk About It [Format Kindle]

Jon Entine

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

In virtually every sport in which they are given opportunity to compete, people of African descent dominate. East Africans own every distance running record. Professional sports in the Americas are dominated by men and women of West African descent. Why have blacks come to dominate sports? Are they somehow physically better? And why are we so uncomfortable when we discuss this? Drawing on the latest scientific research, journalist Jon Entine makes an irrefutable case for black athletic superiority. We learn how scientists have used numerous, bogus "scientific" methods to prove that blacks were either more or less superior physically, and how racist scientists have often equated physical prowess with intellectual deficiency. Entine recalls the long, hard road to integration, both on the field and in society. And he shows why it isn't just being black that matters—it makes a huge difference as to where in Africa your ancestors are from.Equal parts sports, science and examination of why this topic is so sensitive, Taboois a book that will spark national debate.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2069 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 428 pages
  • Editeur : PublicAffairs (5 août 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003ZHVC66
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°251.982 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 3.6 étoiles sur 5  59 commentaires
70 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good, but it takes the long way 9 avril 2003
Par Eric J. Lyman - Publié sur Amazon.com
I find no fault in this book's premise that there are differences between ethnic groups in terms of pure athletic performance and it is a mystery to me how some people find fault in this idea and why it is so politically charged.
But I do find fault in the way Mr. Entine makes his point, and makes it, and makes it, and makes it. This books weighs in at a hefty 400 pages, and it would have benefited from a filter of some kind that would have cut out half of the text by eliminating many of the second, third and fourth examples that illustrate the same points and dull the impact of Mr. Entine's relevant and valuable research and conclusions.
I am not a physiologist, but as a middle distance runner at the university level, a sports journalist for nearly a decade and a keen observer for longer than that, I have seen nothing to make me disagree with Mr. Entine's main points. I do agree with the arguments of those who say there are also cultural factors at play, but to deny the genetic part of the equation does not stand to reason. The opposing view would assume that all types of talent were somehow evenly distributed among the genetic groups.
If that were the case, why are so many great runners from Kenya and Ethiopia but not from, say, Uganda or Zimbabwe (or Mongolia or Bolivia), where conditions are similar but the genetic makeup is different? In the U.S., why do inner city white kids succeed in basketball less often than inner city black kids? From another angle, why, for example, is it rare to see great black swimmers or gymnists, even in proportion to their participation?
That said -- and Mr. Entine makes this point as well, albeit in passing and with some conditions -- none of that gives support to the simple-minded people who write off the accomplishments of successful athletes by pointing to their genetic head start. In global sports competitions that are usually decided by fractions of seconds and millimeters, nobody can succeed without dedication, hard work and discipline at a level that is unfathomable to most of the rest of us.
The point here is that among those who gather the strength and will to work that hard, a few will stand out because of their genetic advantages, and they are the ones who usually go home with the gold medals. Of course, this does not mean that great champions cannot come from other genetic groups, only that this will happen less often. And these great champions should not be looked down upon for who they are, but celebrated -- they represent the best of what humankind can muster in a specific area, just the same as Mozart, or Einstein, or Shakespeare.
33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Athletic skill differences not a black and white issue 10 mai 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
"Taboo" examines the question that has remained in the back of my mind since my basketball playing days, "Why is the representation of black athletes so completely out of proportion to their population?" Is it really true that, "White men can't jump?" After a brief introduction, including the story of the PC storm that engulfed British physician (and the first four minute miler) Roger Bannister for suggesting that genetics was part of the answer, the book explains the need for research into this topic and scientifically approaches answers to this question by examining biological, social, and historical factors.
This question is so taboo because honest discussion of race and human differences remains such a touchy issue. Especially in the context of sport, human competition, the differences among humans are exemplified. "Taboo" provided insight and allowed me to explore this topic in a non-polemical, even-handed way. Because of a history of prejudice, a white person noticing that black people are better at sports can be seen as judging black people as more primitive or succumbing to "dumb jock" theory. This is not always the case, and this book objectively examines the possibilities.
As Entine makes clear, examining this issue should held eliminate racism, since scientific data demonstrates that the difference among all human beings is relatively small and that skin color is just one of millions of genetic mutations among the human population. "Taboo" examines evolution theories, the most common of which is the Eve theory that states that all human beings share common ancestry.
The depth in which this topic had been studied blows me away. Slowly revealed through pages of evidence, it appears that the cause/effect relationship of ethnicity and athletic capability cannot be explained in terms of black and white, but varying shades of gray. Entine does not claim that blacks are "superior" or "inferior" in any way, just that evolution has left a footprint on different populations. All the training in the world will not turn an Eskimo into an NBA center or a Kenyan into a sprinter.
I was particularly taken by one chapter on how blacks have come to dominate basketball, a sport that Jews dominated in the 1930s. I remember a few years ago when I watched a basketball documentary on TV. I was surprised to discover that my favorite team, the New York Knickerbockers, was at one time composed of Jewish white men. Today it is the complete converse. "Taboo" tells the story of the Philadelphia "Hebrews," the predecessor of the Philadelphia Warriors/76ers. Entine explains the cause to this social revolution and also discusses how Jews of that era were thought to be genetically "trickier," "manipulative," and "deceptive." He uses this comparison to show the danger of facile racial and ethnic stereotypes and to underscore the complex interaction of cultural and genetic factors.
As Entine persuasively shows, social and environmental factors along don't seem to be enough to explain black dominance of so many sports or white dominance of "strength" events such as weightlifting, shot-put, hammer throw etc. Different populations have different physiques and physiological characteristics.
The coverage of black domination in running, especially sprinting, examines the essence of this whole topic. Running is competition in its purest form, without equipment or guidelines. It is simply who can reach the finish line first, and it is usually runners of West African ancestry.
East Africans such as Kenyans, who dominate distance running, have a different genetic history then athletes of West African ancestry (including African Americans), and have quite distinct ectomorphic physiques and physiological characteristics. How could it be that in a radius of sixty miles around Eldoret, Kenya in the Nandi Hills, ninety percent of the top Kenyan world-class athletes (and 40 percent of the world's top distance runners) are produced? Without the training books, special diets, let alone even running shoes, Kenyan runners are still top notch.
As Entine points out time and again, race based on skin color is biologically meaningless but there are some patterned biological differences between populations and sub-populations (he offers great examples of "racial" and "ethnic" differences in disease proclivities, such as the fact that European Jews are more susceptible to Tay-Sachs, northern European whites get MS and cystic fibrosis, and blacks are more likely to get colo-rectal cancer, all the result of gene patterning.
By reading the book I expected to obtain answers, though it was soon clear that Entine was making the case that there was no clear-cut explanation to the success of black athletes. That's what I liked about the book. It didn't beat me over the head with its perspective, although not one could read this book and reamin convinced of the myth that genetics plays no role. The book made me even more curious about this controversial topic that Entine was brave enough to leap into.
"Taboo" takes pains to make clear that athletic skill differences are not a black and white issue. I LOVED this book.
70 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointed by the book 2 août 2003
Par tcjack - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I bought this book expecting to hear some scientific research as to why black athletes dominate sports and whether there is any statistically significant data proving the point or not. Although there are few pieces of macro scientific information included, I learned nothing new. There was virtually no data comparing similar white and black athletes on reaction time, vertical leaping distance, 100 meter dash times etc.
I also expected to see some data comparing anthropometric differences that may explain better athletic performance, such as the average thigh length or ratio of thigh length to lower leg length.
The book is devoted 90% to the "why we're afraid to talk about it" aspects, that is, the political correctness issue in talking about racial differences. Frankly, this was not why I bought the book so I was mostly disappointed.
96 internautes sur 117 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Misleading title, doesn't even address the topic 22 avril 2005
Par Vato-Curandero - Publié sur Amazon.com
After hearing the controversy surrounding this book, I decided to shell out twenty bucks and pick up a copy myself. As a social scientist with a strong interest in racial inequality and identity, and especially as a major sports fan, I figured that this would be a rather intriguing book. It certainly is, but in a different way than which the author/publisher market it.

Entine provides very little evidence and data to explain to us "why black athletes dominate sports." Mostly, he gives us a collection of statistics on the number of black players at the so-called speed positions in various sports (providing a numerical relationship, but no explanation). Quite disappointing - With such an adamant title, I was expecting the author to give us the concrete, infallible scientific proof explaining "why black athletes dominate sports," but I guess my expectations were too high.

Entine has a point up to a certain extent. Body form is, in fact, a major factor in calculating competitive advantage in certain sports. For example, a 5'3" man can forget about playing center in the NBA, just as a seven-footer has no shot at being the winning jockey at the Belmont Stakes. But to assume body form to some innate, hard-wired, racial sports gene is absurd and ultimately undermines the valid points that Entine does bring up.

I half think that Entine chose such a title for this book for the sensational reaction he knew it would garner. Sports consists of much more than speed and running, and clearly, black athletes do not dominate in sports such as weight lifting, skiing, field, wrestling, gymnastics, or hockey. By the title of this books, blacks rule the entire world of sports - which is not the case.

Something else also comes to mind. I find it quite amazing how people are always quick to point out that the high proportion of African-Americans in the NBA is scientific proof that blacks are genetically gifted basketball players. However, those folks must remain oblivious to the fact that after the United States, the basketball powerhouse nations are found in Eastern Europe...NOT western Africa! If African-Americans' ancestry to equatorial west Africa was responsible for their basketball abilities, then we should expect to find the nations of Nigeria, Ghana, and Zaire winning international basketball medals over the likes of Lithuania, Germany, Russia, Croatia, and Serbia. The fact of the matter is that growing numbers of NBA players are comming out of the former communist bloc of Europe. In 20 years, I believe the NBA will be 50 percent European. Even sports reporter Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star has bemoaned the fact that African-American players are "losing their jobs" to foreign players.

Also, Entine attributes the pheonomenal success of Brazil in World Cup Soccer to the African ancestry of most players on the national roster. This is quite ironic, since Germany, Italy, and Argentina are also soccer powerhouses and have accomplished this with few African-descent players on their respective clubs. England, Colombia, and Mexico each have far superior soccer squads than any national teams from West Africa (the area of the world where the nature's most gifted athletes trace their ancestry, according to Entine). And if any sport ever relied on speed, quickness, explosiveness and agility, certainly it is soccer.

I bring up these points to illustrate the absurdity and inconsistencies in attributing innate racial abilities of any particular group of people with regards to any particular sport. If African-descended players dominate basketball and baseball for their superior speed and agility, then why does this fail to yield results in soccer? "Racial realists" can not have their cake and eat it to.

Despite the failure to produce scientific evidence for black athletic superiority, I do like this book for one big reason. Entine provides an excellent account of the history of racism and racial politics of sports, from the days of Jack Johnson and the Negro Leagues of baseball up until the steroid scandals of communist East Germany and the USSR in the 1980s. We are given chapters on Joe Louis, Jewish basketball teams, Jackie Robinson, and the social significance of all of these historical events.

The real value of this book is found in its second half, when the author provides a nice account of race in sports throughout the 20th century. The fact of the matter is the right-wing lunatics have no ability to engage in scientific debate on race whatsoever. Their only recourse is to point out correlations, and assume there is a biological explanation. Such is not the nature of science, but the nature of charlatans motivated by personal agendas. Entine's lack of scientific evidence proves he can not discuss this subject matter, and as such, makes a bold claim and then sits back, labeling anyone who challenges him as a politically correct crackpot. The truth is, Entine and his backers are the ones motivated by political agendas.

Talk about false advertising. The book implies it will provide a scientific explanation for athletic performance, and does not even come close to doing anything of the sort.
55 internautes sur 66 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 this book is ultimately misleading 28 octobre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
I think Jon Entine touches upon an interesting subject, but proceeds to go about examining the subject in a misleading and ultimately unsatisfying way. He recognizes that there might be something in the african physiology which may make blacks better athletes, but fails to counter this assertion with the equal knowledge we have that, although there are some instances where blacks may be slightly superior athletically, there are also areas where whites have a physical edge over blacks. He seems to rely on exceptions to general rules to prove his "points." He fails to realize that ONE Tiger Woods (who is NOT just black but also Oriental) does not mean that ALL black people are these geniuses at golf, and that ONE wealthy Donovan Bailey means that ALL good black sprinters are middle-class. Similarly, just because Keith Van Horn and Jayson Williams are probably better than a huge number of black NBA players, doesn't mean that all of a sudden white people are super basketball players when compared to blacks. Entine fails to acknowledge that, if anything, blacks are only "better" at some sports, and that people from other races can claim to be better at different sports. Entine comes off as trying to claim that there is blanket evidence for black superiority across the board, and that is simply not true, and not supported by any statistic or olympics. Look at the final for any major international decathalon and you will see that almost all of the best athletes in these events are white, and evidence shows that whites are very good at multi-dicipline sports. I compare success in a decathalon to success in school. Nobody gives a rat's a-- if you get an 'A' in history, but flunk every other class. A Decathalon is, in my opinion, going through the sporting world with a 3.0 average. Not the best, and not as good as getting an 'A' in the 100 meters, but definitely respectable. Entine should realize that when he goes through all this trouble to claim that blacks are superior in sports that his same evidence can be used to claim that whites are the world's best all around athletes. There is a lot of evidence to support this, but, conversely, there can also be evidence to deny it. Entine ultimately fails to raelize that the concept of "sports" isn't merely a matter of who can cross the finish line in one event with an 'A' grade.
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