Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk about It

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk about It

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk about It

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk about It

Synopsis

Drawing on the latest scientific research, and addressing all the major sports of North America, award-winning journalist Jon Entine persuasively shows why biology and ancestry are significant components of the stunning ascension of black athletes. Charts throughout.

Excerpt

Although Taboo draws its empirical evidence from the sports world—there is a vast trove of statistics from almost every population group in the world—its scope is far broader than athletics and race. My intention was to answer questions and debunk myths about human biodiversity in the context of the unfolding genetic revolution. As Scientific American wrote in its review, "Few issues are as provocative and as poorly understood as biological differences among the races."

For the most part, the science community has welcomed an honest discussion of issues frequently addressed only in the most circumspect or politicized ways. "Entine has put together a well-researched ... and lucidly written case," the same review noted. "[His] proposed biocultural theory offers an attractive explanation, suggesting that cultural conditions can amplify small but meaningful differences in performance related to heredity."

The most deeply felt criticism came from those who believed that the book reflects a historical "white obsession" about racial differences. Ken Shropshire, a thoughtful Wharton business school professor, asked rhetorically "Why care? Why care if there are some minor anatomical or genetic differences between blacks and whites? ... Will acknowledging some measure of black superiority in a handful of athletic maneuvers help us achieve social understanding ? I don't think so."

Although professor Shropshire's sentiments are understandable, I believe he underestimates the importance of the dramatic revolution in genetics that is now unfolding. The challenge is not whether we should address such issues—we have no choice short of shutting . . .

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