The World’s Fastest Man in 1996 stated On June 30th:
All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations.
Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me – I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, everyone has now lost their shit. But before the First Take crew have self-righteous brain anuerysms, let’s put this all in context (Damnit, too late. And, holy shit, Rob Parker and Bomani Jones are complete morons in that clip).
First, in the original article from the Daily Mail that I linked above, Johnson is referring to research specifically completed on his DNA that proved he is of West African descent. So it’s not like Michael Johnson just decided to spout some nonsense out of nowhere.
Second, the quote is right there, “benefited descendants like me.” He is referring to black people THAT ARE ALREADY ATHLETES. So Rob Parker and Bomani Jones (I’m really disappointed in Bomani Jones, I thought he was more thoughtful than this) saying, “What the hell is Michael Johnson talking about? I can’t run fast or jump high, and I’m black” is really quite shocking in its lack of comprehension. (Israel Gutierrez’s statements at the end are even worse, and I don’t even want to get into it.)
Third, (and hold on to your seats, things might be getting RAYCESS around here) I don’t understand why the idea that only the gentically strongest Africans survived the trip across the Atlantic (considering how fucking terrifying those trips were), and then only the strongest of those were allowed to reproduce once they landed in America, thus unintentionally creating a gene pool with a pre-disposition (read: not a GUARANTEE) towards athletic ability is such a CRAZY proposition. That seems, honestly, like what exactly happened. Slave owners wanted slaves that were big and strong and fast, as they would be more adept towards surviving the back breaking labor and horrifying living conditions they (slaves) were forced to cope with.
Fourth, you want more evidence? Look at the NBA, look at the NFL, and look at track and field (specifically, the most purely athletic event in the world: sprinting). Black people RULE (especially the NBA) those sports. It’s not even close. What do all those sports have in common? Those are the three sports (with the most compensation) where having innate, natural athleticism gives you a significant advantage.
I do understand why the black community (specifically the sportswriters on ESPN) would be wary to embrace this. Both Rob Parker and Bomani Jones mentioned it. They don’t want to have all of the accomplishments gained by black athletes thrown away with a “natural ability” argument. They want to say it was hard work and dedication. My question is: Why can’t you have both (When that is precisely the reason)? Why can’t they embrace the fact that yes, black people are innately more athletic, so you know what? Sucks for everyone else, I’m going to get in the gym, work my ass off, and then crush you on the court/field/track. Why is there this dichotomy (that I feel only sportswriters make) that if an athlete is black, his success comes from natural ability, or it comes from hard work, but never from both (which is the REAL reason as to why ANY athlete is successful)?
I don’t even think this topic should be that taboo. It’s quite obvious that black people are naturally more athletic (Yes Bomani, I know YOU aren’t. Which should totally rule out any actual research to the contrary). This reminds me of Anderson Cooper coming out:
“Um, yeah, we know.”
Happy Friday! Congratulations to those of you that made it to the weekend unscathed.