Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fisher Deberry, racist or just politically incorrect?

"It just seems to me to be that way," he said. "Afro-American kids can run very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well."

Is this racist? It appears as though it should be, but is it really? Apparently someone thinks so because Fisher Deberry, the coach of the Air Force Academy, has apologized for those comments and had been reprimanded by the Air Force Academy. The media has taken this story and run with it. But was what he said really that offensive? Or was it shocking to hear someone say what many of us already think?

I know it sounds very stereotypical, but he is not saying something that most of us don’t think. Look at the NFL, black players make up 99.9% of the speed positions. Look at the gold medal winners in the 100 yard dash in the Olympics for the last 20 years. I don’t think it is offensive to say that blacks can run fast.

His only mistake was saying things like this out loud during a press conference. People are bound to get all fired up over something an old white guy said that was not meant as a derogatory statement. If this had been a black coach saying this, we probably wouldn’t have this become as big of a story as it is.

Deberry was commenting on the fact that the school they had just played, TCU, had many black players and they were faster than the Air Force squad who didn’t have as many black players. In this time of extreme political correctness you just cannot say things like this in public and not offend someone, even if what is said is not meant to be offensive.

Would things have been better if he used code words instead of saying Afro-Americans? Would the things he said been more acceptable if he said that his team needed more “speed?” Would it have been better accepted if he talked about how TCU was so much more “athletic” than Air Force and that Air Force needs to recruit more “athletic” players? Is this better than just laying out the truth? Apparently, yes.

I believe this is a case of Sivart’s media taking something and blowing it way out of proportion. I guess the World Series isn’t big enough sports news this week so they had to search for a story to blow up. (Speaking of which, Hank Aaron is making a fuss over the fact that the Houston Astros have no black players on their team.) I wonder if Good Morning America had a piece on this.


BRATCH said...

TCU has a lot of athleticism.

Having talked to many coaches in my day "athleticism" is code for "they have a significant number of African-American players and we don't."

Sad to say, but that's the truth.

Travis said...

Jim Rome was comparing what DeBerry said to saying "Mexicans are lazy" or "Jews are good with money."

But that's not comparing apples to apples. What DeBerry is talking about is a physical attribute for which there is ample evidence. If someone would set out to really study it, it could probably be scientifically proven. It's not at all offensive because it doesn't speak to their character or mental capacities or anything of the sort. It simply describes what is likely a fact of nature.

I'm sorry that people find it offensive. Or, should I say, I'm sorry that something so mundane can be found offensive.

If DeBerry had said, "Black athletes are faster, but they're not smart enough to be a quarterback or coach," that would be different. That is certainly offensive and incorrect.

I'll compare this to Rush Limbaugh's statement that the media wanted McNabb to be good because he was black. There was no denying that. Of course the media loves a black quarterback to be successful because it's rare and rare equals newsworthy.

I hate political correctness. Its kept many people from being honest and saying the obvious. It's as if blacks being superior athletes is the white elephant in the room. (Pun not intended.)

my_merlin77 said...

This is all pretty ridiculous if you ask me. He in no way made any kind of statement to be derogatory. Politically correctness is one thing and I am actually for the whole movement in that direction. But this is absolutely insane when negative connotation are being made as a matter of fact I'd take it as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Coach DeBerry is a man with a great reputation and 22 years of coaching experience at the Air Force Academy (his record is 164-99-1). Why is it that we question his racial attitudes now? Why is our knee jerk reaction to forgo any reasonable examination of the content and context of his statements and instead proclaim them 'a mistake,' 'racist' or 'offensive'.

Where can we talk about racial issues in this culture? If we cannot discuss these things rationally, with neither pride nor prejudice, within the world of ideas found in academic university life, where can we? What will be the effects of a culture that prizes equality over freedom? A culture that is so stigmatized by the possibility of personal offense is one where the hallmarks of the liberal society, freedom and responsibility, will undoubtedly be subjected to the tyranny of the minority.

See Air Force Academy Football Coach Criticized For Frank Comments on Race