What would the reaction be, a correspondent of mine wonders, is some white sports announcer said he was tired of watching the NBA because there generally were fewer whites on the floor than at a NAACP convention? He, and I, suspect the reaction would not be kind.
“Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t care about them and won’t watch them …. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.
Unfortunately, racial drivel like Gumbel’s is not rare. “White Snow, Brown Rage” appeared on SLATE yesterday, in which author Reihan Salam, a Bangladeshi, writes:
I still vividly recall the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, when my middle sister and I cheered on every wiry, diminutive American athlete of a darker hue. When you squint, a fearsome Latino bantamweight looks not unlike one of the burnt ochre Salams.
And of the famous Jamaican bobsled team featured in the movie “Cool Runnings”:
But even as an 8-year-old, I was hoping for something more. Specifically, I was hoping to see this Third World band of brothers humble their colonialist oppressors with furious bobsled action…. Call it tribalism of the basest sort, but I will never apologize. I want some brown sugar, on ice.
O.K. I will. This is tribalism of the basest sort.
Also, see what commenter MarshallStall calls it in his 2/15 comment, beginning:
What’s bizarre about this essay, and (inadvertently, I assume) comical, is the assumption that all the dark-skinned people in the world have something in common, by virtue of being other-than-white. So Salam, a Bangladeshi, roots for the Jamaican bobsled team, as if a victory for them would be a victory for post-colonials everywhere. Think the Jamaicans feel that way? Alas, I doubt it….