This paper is a critical review of Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It by Jon Entine. It critically assesses the evidence that blacks do in fact dominate sports and attempts to show that this is an overgeneralization that perpetuates racist stereotypes. The tendency for both blacks and whites to accept such views creates expectations and beliefs that channel efforts in directions which reinforce historical stereotypes and limit opportunities for blacks to a limited range of activities and careers. Commitment to equal opportunity requires that evidence for racial differences in intellectual and athletic activities be subjected to a level of special scrutiny that Entine has failed to meet.
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Racial Differences in Athletics: What’s Ethics Got To Do With It?
In his book, TABOO: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It. (NY: BBS Public Affairs, 2000), Jon Entine presents what he considers to be incontrovertible evidence for black superiority in athletics, and addresses our ambivalent reception of this ‘fact’. The evidence derives from facts produced in the laboratory and, most importantly, on the playing fields.[i] Elite black athletes have a phenotypic edge over athletes of other races, Entine argues, and this edge derives from genotypical differences between the races.[ii] While Asians comprise 57% of the world’s population, they “are virtually invisible in the most democratic of world sports, running, soccer, and basketball”.[iii] On the other hand, Africans, who comprise only 12% of the world’s population, dominate running, soccer, and basketball.
Superior athletic performance occurs most noticeably where the contribution of cultural and socio-economic factors are least, Entine holds.[iv] This is why he focuses on sports based on running. Presumably such sports offer performances that are least dependent on extensive training and equipment. In this, he follows the views of Amby Burfoot (a senior editor of Sports Illustrated). Running, wrote Amby Burfoot, “doesn’t require any special equipment, coaching, or facilities”.[v] Currently, “every men’s world record at every commonly-run distance belongs to a runner of African descent.”[vi] Nonetheless, Entine warns us that this achievement is not proportionally distributed throughout Africa: “West Africa is the ancestral home of the world’s top sprinters and jumpers; North Africa turns out top middle stance runners; and East Africa is the world distance running capital.”[vii]
Entine believes the refusal to recognize racial differences in athletic aptitude is a derogation of our duty to seek truth. “Measured by fractions of a second, or wins and losses, sport comes as close as we can get to an objective, racially neutral scoring system.”[viii] In order to dispel the suspicion that acknowledging racial differences is tantamount to endorsing racism, he presents the views of numerous prominent black spokespersons that have also been led by the evidence to acknowledge the superior ability of black athletes. Thus Arthur Ashe, while militantly anti-racist, was forced to concede that, in terms of athletic performance, “we blacks have something that gives us the edge.” [ix] Testimonials of this nature from black athletes and intellectuals are cited by Entine as a way of showing that acknowledging racial differences is not tantamount to accepting racist explanations of those differences.
In order to account for our fear of acknowledging black superiority in athletics, Entine provides an overview of eugenic thinking in early and middle nineteenth century, when prominent American intellectuals such as Charles Davenport, Robert Bean, and many others advocated racist beliefs as a matter of public policy. As a result of the work of Henry Goddard, Lewis Terman, Robert Yerkes and others, IQ tests were developed as a means of ranking human beings in terms of their cognitive capacity. Using the evidence so provided, Henry Fairfield Osborn, paleontologist at Columbia University and president of the Board of Trustees of The American Museum of Natural History wrote: ”The standard of intelligence of the average Negro is similar to that of the eleven-year-old youth of the species Homo Sapiens.” [x] Even European immigrants from East and Southern Europe were considered inferior races, and in 1924 Congress restricted immigration from “biologically inferior areas”.[xi] Sterilization, miscegenation laws, and segregation were some of the hygienic racial policies designed to limit the transfer of bad genes. Such measures were considered necessary to ensure progressive human evolution.
The defeat of Nazi Germany brought about a repudiation of the ideological basis of racist views. “Sports became a highly visible way to demonstrate to the world that Americans took their government’s pronouncements on freedom and equality to heart”, and universities were in the forefront of putting Negro athletes on the field to compete on equal terms with the white athletes. [xii] Association with the racist ideology of Nazism tainted the study of racial differences, and the very concept of races differentiated by biological features was rejected in favor of the notion of ‘ethnic groups’, differentiated on the basis of cultural factors. It became plausible that, if the Jews were not a separate race, perhaps Africans weren’t either.
On the other hand, Entine argues that there is a biological basis for genuine racial differences. He surveys polygenecist and monogenecist explanations of the evolution of Homo sapiens, and opts for the view that the transformation to modern Homo sapiens occurred in an already sub-divided population, “with one group giving rise to the modern African and the other to all modern non-Africans.” [xiii]Entine concludes that “the ancestors of a Nigerian, a Scandinavian, and a Chinese have traveled significantly different evolutionary paths”, and that races are reliable ways of classifying people in terms of the geographical area they or their immediate ancestors derive from.
After the defeat of the Axis powers, UNESCO of the United Nations issued a number of studies showing that the concept of race had no biological validity. But Entine considers the UNESCO position on race to be an example of “flawed science” and accuses it of having replaced biological determinism with environmental determinism, in which all relevant differences are acquired through experience. [xiv] Despite attacks on the biological validity of racial concepts, Entine recounts how eminent scientists such as Sir Ronald Fisher, Prof. Henry Garrett, and Nobel Prize Laureates Herman Muller and William Shockley continued to hold that blacks had less intellectual ability on the average than whites. In an article published in Science in 1962, the past president of the American Psychological Association and chair of the anthropology department at Columbia University wrote: “No matter how low…an American white may be, his ancestors built the civilizations of Europe, and no matter how high…a Negro may be, his ancestors were (and his kinsmen still are) savages in an African jungle. Free and general race-mixture of Negro-white groups in this country would inevitably be not only dysgenic but socially disastrous.”[xv]
In 1969 Arthur Jensen argued in the Harvard Educational Review that genetic factors rather than environmental ones (e.g. socio-political status) were the primary causes of differences in average IQ among the different races.[xvi] As recently as 1994, The Bell Curve argued that those who were least well off were so because they had lower intellectual potential; while those who were best off were so because they had, on the average, higher intellectual potential.[xvii] From this perspective it is a short distance to the view that brains vary in inverse proportion to brawn, and those with least intelligence depend most on athletic performance and physical labor while those with most intelligence dominate in intellectual performance and mental labor.[xviii] We are reinforced to believe that just as the genetic makeup of Europeans predispose them to have higher IQs, the genetic makeup of Africans and African Americans predispose them to greater manual dexterity and athletic potential.
Of course, attributions of higher and lower intelligence presupposes that we know what we mean by intelligence, and Entine’s survey, to its credit, demonstrates that this is not the case. Instead of intelligence being, as Jensen held, a manifestation of a central processing capacity labeled g, others have viewed it as a catchword for distinct types of competence: analytic, creative, practical, emotional; linguistic, musical, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, and naturalist. This might suggest the racialist argument that “each group is intelligent in its own special way”, a view espoused by black intellectuals such as W.E.B. Dubois and Leopold Senghor. But it is equally susceptible to the racist rejoinder that some ‘modes of intelligence’ are more important than others: on this view, the way Africans think and act may have been valuable in the jungle, but they are dysfunctional in the modern world, where bodily performance is routinely surpassed by that of the machine. Entine recognizes that his view might be interpreted as supporting this racist option, but disclaims that “the data that conclusively links our ancestry to athletic skills have little or anything to say about intelligence.”[xix] But I find his disavowal unconvincing: if athletic skills can be conclusively linked to ancestry, why can’t intellectual skills be as well? Conversely, if intellectual skills cannot be conclusively linked to ancestry, how can we be so sure that athletic skills can?
Entine reports the position of prominent social scientists such as Ashley Montagu and Harry Edwards who argue that the concept of race has questionable biological validity. They point out that average differences between races are little different from the amount of variation within races. Races, they argue, have a political rather than biological utility, that of continuing a racist agenda. Citing alleged innate differences between groups has historically been a principal justification for supporting existing differences in the distribution wealth and power. On the other hand, environmentalists typically stress the extent that black athletic achievement is the result of intelligence, hard work, and the lack of opportunities in other areas. The belief that members of certain groups are “naturally better” athletes devalues the importance of training, access, early exposure, social reinforcement and the like.[xx] By encouraging black youth to believe that their natural domain is sports, their energies and talents are channeled away from technical and academic areas. In this regard, Harry Edwards argues that sports is a negative image that merely transfers the black male from the cottonfields to the playing fields, and construes him as good for little else. It is no excuse that many African Americans have romanticized black athletes as realizing the natural potential of the race.[xxi] Despite the myth of John Henry, we should ask whether African Americans in the southern United States were better cotton-pickers than their Scotch-Irish counterparts, and whether their progeny ought to be proud of it?
But for Entine, stereotypes that portray blacks as naturally better athletes are distillations of commonly recognized truths. And particular stereotypes such as ‘blacks can’t swim’ and ‘whites can’t jump’ reflect genotypically based propensities of whites and blacks. Entine dismisses the fact that swimming pools and training facilities are in short supply in poor black neighborhoods in favor of ‘the fact’ that blacks have denser skeletons and lower levels of body fat among elite athletes. And while the races may share most genes in common, as environmentalists argue, what matters is not how many genes differ but which genes. Just as different breeds of dogs have distinctive personalities, behavioral tendencies, and afflictions, Entine suggests that the same is true with different races of human beings: “canine stereotypes are both reasonably accurate and critical information for pet-shopping parents.” And he concludes: “it is not far-fetched to assume we will soon locate alleles for herding and guarding in dogs, as well as faster reflexes or more efficient energy processing in humans.”[xxii]
While Entine raises the question of “why it even matters whether blacks are better athletes” he provides no discussion of the question.[xxiii] Yet, why it matters is equally as important as whether it is true. If it is true that “Within the performance range in which most of us fall, the environment may be critical.” then why shouldn’t most of us be concerned about what might be done to improve the performance of most people.[xxiv] Instead, our attention is directed to the few exceptional members of recognized groups, as if these exceptional individuals were exemplars of the group. Entine consecrates the common mistake of taking the most outstanding members of a group as ideal types representative of the group, and this allows him to conclude that “when we talk about people such as Einstein and Mozart - or Mark McGwire, Jim Brown, and Pele - genes count a lot.”[xxv]
The belief that black athletic ability is inversely proportionate to black intellectual ability has been used to justify slavery, colonialism, and segregation. And though Entine acknowledges that biological determinism has been used to defend racist social agendas, he does more to reinforce than challenge racist stereotypes of the innate basis of athletic and intellectual performances. While acknowledging white dominance in sports such as golf, rugby, swimming, gymnastics, wrestling, and tennis, nonetheless Entine stresses the sports in which blacks dominate or in which they are making new excursions, such as bobsledding. But even in sports involving running and jumping, it is debatable whether the evidence so clearly indicates black superiority. He cites the studies of David Hunter, which showed that, when adjusted for body fat, sprint times between similar blacks and whites was statistically insignificant. But, Entine objects, “Blacks have much less fat, a tiny physiological advantage that can translate into a huge on-the-field advantage. This difference may be one key variable that provides black males with an advantage in sprinting.” [xxvi]But he does not tell us whether it is true that black people generally have less body fat, or whether it is premier black athletes that have less body fat, perhaps because of hard work and training.
Entine glosses over such difficulties, and instead takes these ‘facts’ to show that “sprinters are born, not made”, the same holding true of elite soccer and basketball players. [xxvii] It might be an exaggeration to suggest that, for Entine, Africans take to running the way fish take to swimming. Nonetheless, the conclusion he draws is no less an exaggeration: “Since the first known study of differences between black and white athletes in 1928, the data have been remarkably consistent: in most sports, African-descended athletes have the capacity to do better with their raw skills than whites.” [xxviii]
This is an outrageous overgeneralization. Do African and African descended athletes do better in most sports? Or is it rather that they do best in sports based on running and jumping? What about sports such as swimming, wrestling, gymnastics and judo instead of running and jumping? Using these as the standard, we might find that black athletes do not perform as well as whites. By choosing running and jumping as exemplary of athletic activities, the deck is already stacked, and we are predisposed to the conclusion that blacks are naturally better athletes than whites.
As a matter of fact, in many sports blacks are not the superior athletes they are made out to be. Whites continue to dominate in hockey, skiing, bicycling, gymnastics, fencing, wrestling, as well as Track and Field events such as the discus, the javelin, the shot put, and the pole vault. As University of the Pacific sociologist John Phillips argues, if we were to look at all the sports, and not just running and jumping ones, we would see that blacks do not dominate, except in the high profile activities central to spectator sports.[xxix] While duly reporting this position, Entine makes no response to it. Instead, he concludes that “the scientific evidence for black athletic superiority is overwhelming”. His evidence is black dominance in running, jumping and boxing. This may be an example of an innocent inductive fallacy but I would suggest that it is more likely an example of uncritical stereotypical thinking reflecting an institutionalized racist etiology.[xxx]
Entine reports that, since 1996, a group comprising 1.8% of Kenya’s population has produced 20% of the winners of major international distance running events. And 90% of the top Kenyan athletes come from a 60-mile radius around the town of Eldoret in the Nandi Hills. [xxxi] Entine recounts how, because the men of the Nandi area of Kenya were notorious offenders of colonial authority, they were channeled into athletic games as a way of co-opting their energies.[xxxii] But he does not address why this does not remain a plausible explanation for the attention focused on athletic games in the modern world? By diverting the energies of black youth to the least productive areas of modern culture, more lucrative opportunities are reserved for those who are not black. He quotes Brooks Johnson: “The whole idea is to convince black people that they’re superior in some areas - sports - and therefore by definition must be inferior in other areas. It’s interesting that white people always have the best talent in the areas that pay the best money.” [xxxiii]
Entine points out that “All of the thirty-two finalists in the last four Olympic men’s 100 meter races are of West African descent”. But he offers no explanation as to why, if genes rather than training are the crucial variable, no West African’s were among the finalists. And where the finalists were African Americans, he gives no indication as to how he established that they were primarily of West African rather than East African or Central African descent. Entine never attempts to explain why West Africans are not as good or better than African Americans at short distance running, or why descendants of East Africans have not become dominant in the marathons. In order to make his case, Entine is forced to ignore such subtleties.
Just as measurements of skull shape (cephalic index) and brain size were taken as indications of intellectual potential, Entine reports that anthropomorphic measurements of body types and physiological reactions reveal the prerequisites for superior athletic performance. Such observations have shown that sprinters are muscular mesomorphic types capable of explosive energy, while marathon runners are slender ectomorphic types capable of endurance over long distances. Entine also cites empirical observations showing that black babies exhibit superior coordination at an earlier age than white babies[xxxiv] and that black teenagers have a “faster patellar tendon reflex time - the knee jerk response - and an edge in reaction time over whites”. [xxxv] Facts such as these, Entine concludes, derive from genetic predispositions that also explain the superior performance of black athletes.
But such facts have too often been shown to be artifacts of our social system, reflecting how investigators think things ought to be more so than how things are. The conclusion that Africans are naturally better athletes is an unwarranted inductive generalization that reinforces the view that the way things are is the way they are supposed to be. West Africans do not dominate in sprinting, African Americans do. Africans and African Americans do not dominate in all sports, only some.
The ‘facts’ Entine cites follow a long history of anthropomorphic measurements on Africans, women, and the lower classes. The Mismeasurement of Man by Stephen Jay Gould and Myths of Gender by Anne Fausto-Sterling are but two works that show the extent to which science has not been an objective, value-free enterprise.[xxxvi] Instead, the historical record suggests that the biological and social sciences have typically been more instrumental than descriptive: “They do not carve nature at the joints but break it up at places that reflect human needs - the need to control our environment in order to secure food, fiber, health, amusement, and so forth.”[xxxvii] From a pragmatic perspective, ethics is the attempt to secure the good life for ourselves and others, and the facts of biology and human performance have been constructed to accomplish this, as well as possible given the circumstances.
Entine is best understood in the context of others who argue that current racial and sexual disparities in social achievements [athletic and intellectual] are the result of “natural” genetic predispositions. The usual argument has been that European and Asian achievements outstrip African achievements in the sciences and mathematics because Europeans and Asians are naturally smarter than Africans, that is, have a higher IQ. Entine has merely turned this argument around: African achievements outstrip European and Asian achievements in athletics because they are naturally faster and stronger, that is, have a higher proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers and more efficient metabolic pathways.
But I believe biological determinism of either stripe is misguided. For it presupposes ideal types for existing groups, and encourages members of those group to actively construct themselves on analogy with those ideals. Stereotypes of Africans have been justified by reference to biblical texts, evolutionary theory, mental tests, and now by measurements in laboratories and athletic contests. Allegedly unbiased scientists and contest judges are supposed to base their pronouncements on fact rather than fantasy. Yet, one of the main contributions of the new wave in the philosophy of science is in emphasizing the extent to which all facts are theory-laden, and rest on tacitly held beliefs. In this light, facts that purport to justify current distributions of opportunities and rewards require special moral scrutiny.
For Entine, the facts prove that Africans and people of African descent are naturally better athletes than whites and Asians. If this were the case, then it would seem to make sense for parents of African descent to encourage their children to cultivate athletic skills, rather than intellectual and mathematical skills. This line of argument has appealed to many blacks, and even more whites. It is a view that I believe is damaging. It promotes stereotypes that have been developed to justify the exclusion of whole groups of people from opportunities they are not considered naturally endowed for.
The fact that such stereotypes might contain a grain of truth is no redeeming feature. To analogize Entine’s argument, short people might be better at entering small holes than people of normal height, and that is something short people might learn to be proud of. Indeed, those that consistently win ‘entering small holes’ contests might be very good at it indeed. Short people might then be encouraged to develop their abilities to compete in ‘entering small holes’ contests because they are naturally better at it than most other people. This might be documented by ‘objective measurements’, and provide for exciting entertainment, but it is counterproductive to the expenditure of time and energy by people of short stature. Other than as entertainment, skill at entering small holes is as unlikely to improve the general social and economic status of short people as running skills are likely to improve the general social and economic status of black people. [xxxviii]
The odds that a high school athlete will play at the professional level are about 10,000 to 1. Yet a recent survey estimated that 66% of African American males between 13 and 18 believed they could become professional athletes, more than double the number of similar white youth. And black parents were four times more likely to believe it than white parents. Athletics is not even a good way of getting a college education. While colleges gave away some $600 million in athletic scholarships in 1997, $49.7 billion was available from other sources. [xxxix]
A commitment to social justice requires that we appreciate the extent to which notions of biological determinism have been used to limit opportunities for people of African descent, women, the poor, and other socially marginalized groups. We need to better appreciate the extent to which ideas are tools that can be used to help or hinder, rather than view them as descriptions of how God or nature have designed things. Encouraging members of a particular group to cultivate skills of limited utility precludes them from the full range of opportunities available to the wider population. As such, I believe Entine has a special moral obligation to show how his conclusions do not contribute more to maintaining barriers of the past than to constructing a more open and just future.
Jon Entine, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It. (NY: BBS Public Affairs, 2000)
Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender: Biological Theories of Women and Men (NY: Basic Books, 1985);
Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (NY: W.W. Norton, 1996)
Richard Herrnstein & Charles Murray, The Bell Curve, (NY: Free Press, 1994)
John Hoberman, Darwin’s Athletes: How Sports Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race (NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
Arthur Jensen, “How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?” Harvard Educational Review, 39 (Winter 1969) 1-123
Robert N. Proctor, Value Free Science? Purity and Power in Modern Knowledge (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991)
Alexander Rosenberg, Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1994) Rosenberg
Phillip Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior (New Brunswick: Transactions Publishers, 1995)
John Simon, “Improbable Dreams. African Americans are a dominant presence in professional sports. Do blacks suffer as a result?” U.S. News and World Report, 3/24/97
William H. Tucker, The Science and Politics of Racial Research (Chicago: University Of Illinois Press, 1994), pp.264-268
P.A. Vernon and A. R. Jensen, “Individual and Group Differences in Intelligence and Speed of Information Processing,” Personality and Individual Differences 5 (1984) 412-423
[i] Jon Entine, TABOO: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It. (NY: BBS Public Affairs, 2000), p.4
[ii] ibid, p.18
[iii] ibid, p.19
[iv] ibid, p.4. Where differences of a hundredth or thousandth of a second make the difference between winner and loser, “The decisive variable is in our genes.”
[vi] ibid, p.31
[vii] ibid, p.31
[viii] ibid, p.79
[ix] ibid, p.80
[x] ibid, p.166
[xi] ibid, p.167
[xii] ibid, p.209
[xiii] ibid, p.92 This is a view he associates with Carleton Coon.
[xiv] “It implied the mutability and perfectibility of humankind. The inexorable forces of evolution and heredity receded into the background, to be replaced by a moral dimension: it was now suggested that prehistoric humans had adapted to austere climates through clever discoveries of fire, clothing, and artificial shelters, not through chance, natural mutations, and the survival of the fittest. Shadowed by the racist ideologies of fascism, common sense was sacrificed to a new ideology: environmentalism.” ibid, p.215
[xvi] Arthur Jensen, “How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?” Harvard Educational Review, 39 (Winter 1969) 1-123
[xvii] Richard Herrnstein & Charles Murray, The Bell Curve, (NY: Free Press, 1994)
[xviii] Phillip Rushton, in his book Race, Evolution, and Behavior (New Brunswick: Transactions Publishers, 1995), puts it more crudely: brain size varies inversely proportional to genital size. P.5, 162, 166-169, 231. Presumably, this makes blacks better at genital sex.
[xix] Entine, op cit, p.245
[xx] Carole Oglesby, quoted in Entine, op cit, p.333.
[xxi] For a critique of this tendency, see John Hoberman, Darwin’s Athletes: How Sports Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race (NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
[xxii] Entine, op cit, p.281
[xxiii] ibid, p.6
[xxiv] ibid, p.8
[xxv] ibid, p.8
[xxvi] Entine, p.252
[xxvii] ibid, p.256: “It appears that for Blacks from west Africa, innate ability may be more critical than training in turning out great leapers and sprinters.”
[xxviii] ibid, p.268
[xxix] “If blacks were dispersed across all sports their apparent superiority would largely disappear.” ibid, p.273
[xxx] ibid, p.341
[xxxi] Entine dismisses the explanation that the town’s high elevation contributes to increased lung capacity and metabolic efficiency because many communities at similar elevations do not produce exceptional runners. ibid, p.47
[xxxii] ibid, p.49
[xxxiii] ibid, p.77
[xxxiv] Who made the measurements? What was the sample? Was it representative? Instead of raising these questions, Entine accepts these claims as aspects of human nature that are given to us as facts, and only need a proper explanation.
[xxxv] Ibid, p.251 It is interesting that Entine fails to cite Arthur Jensen’s ‘evidence’ that, for complex stimuli, blacks generally have slower reaction times than whites. See P.A. Vernon and A. R. Jensen, “Individual and Group Differences in Intelligence and Speed of Information Processing,” Personality and Individual Differences 5 (1984): 423 For an excellent review of such ‘evidence’, see William H. Tucker, The Science and Politics of Racial Research (Chicago: University Of Illinois Press, 1994), pp.264-268.
[xxxvi] Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (NY: W.W. Norton, 1996); Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender: Biological Theories of Women and Men (NY: Basic Books, 1985); These works warn us that we ignore the social context of scientific research at our peril. “Science does not always serve the collective we or the generic man, but particular men often those who control the means of production and application. Science is not different from other aspects of culture in this sense.” Robert N. Proctor, Value Free Science? Purity and Power in Modern Knowledge (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991) p.268
[xxxvii] Alexander Rosenberg, Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1994) Rosenberg argues that if biology is instrumental, so is psychology, anthropology, and every other science that builds on it. pp.15-16
[xxxviii] From the perspective Entine has provided, the fact that there are few small holes a person of normal height is going to be interested in entering is irrelevant to the fact documenting which group tends to win more such competitions.
[xxxix] John Simon, “Improbable Dreams. African Americans are a dominant presence in professional sports. Do blacks suffer as a result?” U.S. News and World Report, 3/24/97.