April 9, 2012
Here's a pretty funny story from the Washington Post that gives a sidelight on what the black upper middle class feels about equal opportunity (namely, for me, not for thee). Black college fraternities and sororities have long competed with each other in a form of step-dancing that, at least in the frat boy version shown in the movie Stomp the Yard, is rather militaristic. (Stomp the Yard is a pretty interesting movie for its insider depiction of life at an upscale black private college like Morehouse -- it's one of the few movies where the fraternity boys are the heroes and are portrayed as positive role models for lower class blacks. Here's the trailer.)
Anyway, a white sorority from the U. of Arkansas won the Sprite Step-Off and the $100,000 first prize. This elicited such an outpouring of rage from across the country from blacks who are into this arcane event that the Coca-Cola corporation later announced that there was an unknown "scoring discrepancy" that rendered the results beyond interpretation, and so it also awarded $100,000 to the black team that came in second and declared them co-champions.
Keep in mind that stepping appeals largely to black Greeks (i.e., college students who are, typically, the children of college graduates themselves). This isn't like a white team winning at street basketball in the South Bronx. This ought to be much more genteel. Socially, this controversy would be about the analog of if the Whiffenpoofs of Yale lost the big men's a capella choir competition to Howard, and then white people all across the country bitched and moaned so much that the corporate sponsor declared the Poofies to be co-champions.
It gets you thinking about that long-running but seldom investigated mystery of why there are so many pretty good white NBA players from foreign countries, but so few from the country that invented basketball. If upper middle class blacks are so proprietary about Greek step dancing, how do you think average blacks feel about white basketball players? Do you think, maybe, that racist verbal abuse and violence against white youth basketball players might account for part of the shortfall of white American players in the NBA? I realize this is a deeply esoteric issue -- after all, who has ever heard of the NBA or noticed the races of the players on TV? We're having a national whoop-tee-doo this year over Bullying, but statistical evidence suggesting that racist bullying plays a pervasive role in a major sport is of no interest to anybody.