Thursday, January 25, 2007

Please teach Dick Enberg...

...some of the history of African Americans and especially black athletes in the United States. Because maybe if he knew the history that included the equation of black athleticism with African Americans' "animal-like" natures, allegedly honed in the jungles of Africa, he would not have used the words "primal" and "thoroughbred" (as in the horse) when talking about Serena Williams during her win over Nicole Vaidisova.
He meant to be complimentary and certainly not offensive, but his comments reflect a level of ignorance that continues to perpetuate the various myths that still exist about the black athlete.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I had mixed feelings when I heard Enberg say that. In the end, I decided it wasn't his job to go out of his way to use other words, though--were I in his place--I think I would have used other words. It was hard, though, to avoid using the word "primal" during Serena's performance. And there has been no uproar about it on the women's tennis board, though there are multiple threads about how "racist" other commentators are because they have criticized Serena.

My reaction is that the real racism is the lack of people of color in the announcers' booth.

And just when I think Engerg's public lust over certain players has decreased, he tells us Sharapova should have at least "bussed me on the cheek" after he retrieved her trophy lid at the U.S. Open. Taken on its own, it's only moderately offensive, but given all of his other statements, it made me cringe.