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Wrong Wrong Wrong
Thursday, 2005 October 27 - 8:16 am
There are stereotypes that may be generally true about a race of people, but the problem comes when you try to apply those stereotypes to individuals.

Proving once again that racism is still alive and well in this country, Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry said that his team wasn't doing well because they didn't have enough black players. "It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well."

Black Kids Run Fast. That is his message.

A stereotype can still be damaging even if it isn't a negative one. As an Asian kid growing up, I got tired of the stereotype that I was good at math and martial arts. Whenever someone asked me if I knew kung-fu, I knew it meant that the first thing they saw was my Asian-ness, and that was coloring their perception of me. That made me different, and it bothered me.

Nowadays it doesn't bug me so much, and I can usually joke about it. I laughed when the New York cab driver assumed I wanted to go to Chinatown, even though I had Amy with me. (What, did he think she was my White Slave Girl or something? Or that maybe we were going to eat her, and her little dog too?) The irony of it was, I was actually going to Harlem.

It sure would be nice if we didn't use race to define things so much. Coach DeBerry could have said, "We don't have enough speed on our team." And he could go looking for faster players regardless of the color of their skin. To use race as a dividing line like that just reinforces the problems we have with race relations in this country.

In a nice counterpoint to this bit of buffoonery, Apple posted a little tribute to Rosa Parks on their web site. As of right now (morning of October 27th), it's still the front-page photo.
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