August 26, 2008

Track data: the last post! (I promise ... I think)

Before everybody gets completely bored with track again for the next 3 years and 11.5 months, I'm putting out in public my Excel spreadsheet [LINK FIXED] listing the 200 fastest times ever for the ten main lengths with the race of each runner denoted. This database provided the basis for the graphs in last night's VDARE column on running and the Olympics.

I put in some hours looking up photos of runners on Google Images, so the racial identifications are pretty accurate, but I invite anybody interested to put corrections in the comments here. Generally speaking, there are fewer ambiguous cases than you'd expect: African-American 100 meter men, for example, tend to be very black. Perhaps the most ambiguous cases came right where my theory predicts -- with the 1980s Brazilian 800m man Joaquin Cruz (I'm guessing he's half white and half black) and with the 1970s Cuban champion at 400m and 800m Alberto Juantorena (I put him down as all white, but I could be wrong).

Most of the top runners representing Persian Gulf states are hired Kenyans or Moroccans (although Saudi Arabia has one native born runner make the list).

I did the same analysis back in 1997, although just for the 100 at each length. You can download it from this page. Not too much has changed over 11 years. Mostly the patterns have intensified as the Kenyans and other Africans have become even more dominant.

One thing that caught my eye in 1997 was that the domination of the 400m by men of West African descent seemed unnaturally excessive. In 1997, there was too steep a falloff in West African black domination from 400m, where West African blacks were then overwhelming, to 800m, where blacks were merely competitive. The subsequent emergence of a white Texan, Jeremy Wariner, who won gold in 2004 and silver in 2008 (and ran a very fast anchor leg on the Olympic record setting mile relay team), as one of the greatest 400m men ever suggests that my skepticism in 1997 was correct: American whites were being kept out of some degree of 400m success due to stereotypes that weren't quite as valid as they had appeared.

I think what was going on with the 400m was this: the 400m has traditionally been an event dominated by Americans. The U.S. has won the gold medal in 19 of the 26 Olympics, and over half the total medals. (The U.S. swept the men's 400m in Beijing.) I'm not sure why this is. The mile relay (4x400 meters) was traditionally the final event at American high school and college track meets, so perhaps Americans put more emphasis on it. Or perhaps the typical admixture of black and white genes found in African-Americans is about right for the 400m.

In any case, the event remained integrated at the U.S. Olympic team level up through 1964 when a 30-year-old white math teacher from LA named Michael Larrabee won the 400m in Tokyo. In 1968 at the Mexico City Olympics, however, the U.S. swept the 400m with three blacks running amazing times (two of them under 44 seconds). Lee Evans set a world record that lasted until the mid-1980s, and the 4x400 relay mark wasn't even equaled until 1988.

In reality, the many famous Mexico City records (such as Bob Beamon's 29'-2" long jump and Jimmy Hines's 9.95 100m) weren't as great as they seemed in the 1970s: less air resistance at 7300 feet altitude met faster times at events shorter than, say, 1500 meters. But 1968 set a cultural template in the U.S.: the 400m was a black event.

After all, people reasoned, it's a sprint, so it's black. Actually, it's a "long sprint," four times the distance of the 100m, just as the 800m is a short middle distance event, but people like to put things in boxes, so Americans saw the 400 as a black sprint while they saw the 800 as Dave Wottle's mostly white event. The reality is a quantitative continuum, but people don't like to think numerically, they like to think in terms of Platonic essences. Similarly, when Jeremy Wariner won the gold in the 400m in 2004, lots of pundits announced that that "shattered the stereotype" that whites can't sprint.

Meanwhile, other countries that didn't put as much emphasis on the 400m continued to have a moderate amount of success with white 400m men, whether they were an all-white country like Australia (whose Darren Clark finished 4th in the 400 in 1984 and 1988) or even if they had black 100m sprinters, such as Cuba with Juantorena and Britain with Roger Black and Iwan Thomas in more recent years.

So, it wasn't surprising when Wariner emerged (and, to a lesser extent Andrew Rock, who finished sixth in the 2004 Olympics and second to Wariner at the 2005 world championships). I suspect that the U.S., with its abundance of African-American 400m talent, overlooked a few really good 400m white runners in the decades between Larrabee and Wariner. Rock, for example, who won a relay gold medal in 2004, had had to walk on at a Div. III school because no college in America would give him a track scholarship, in contrast to all the West Indian 400m runners who got scholarships at American colleges. Probably, some good white 400m runners were channeled into being mediocre 800m runners, and others quit track and went and did something else.

Of course, a superstar like Wariner got a scholarship, so don't exaggerate the impact of prejudice -- the impact is mostly on the marginal who probably wouldn't have amounted to all that much in any case. Wariner is much like the fellow whose look and affect he emulates, white rapper Eminem. To be accepted in a black dominated field, a white guy has to be better than the blacks.

Conversely, there is probably a black guy out there struggling to make the mile relay team who could be a terrific 1500m man if anybody could wrap his head around that. On the other hand, though, society usually makes a huge effort to drag blacks into anything perceived as too white, while it's hard for anything prestigious in our society, such as the 400m Olympic team to be considered "too black."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

31 comments:

Concerned said...

“On the other hand, though, society usually makes a huge effort to drag blacks into anything perceived as too white”

Has anyone else noticed that when blacks are involved in any sport, it immediately jumps up in athletic and street cred? For example, I saw one of the little cute white girl gymnasts, I forget which, hugging a black coach. Something said to me, “this sport now has athletic cred that it didn’t have before.”

Is this just me or does everyone have that reaction? (It's definitely a learned reaction.)

George Grote said...

I've followed all of your posts on Olympic data with great interest - the recent comments regarding Wariner I tend to agree with, though more than a soft racism towards European descended peoples is at work. As has been pointed out here before, we've lost 100,000,000 of our kindred in war/famine alone in one stretch starting with the American Civil. The additional amount destroyed by environmental and social factors that arrived in the wake of the Industrial Revolution (i.e. white bread, factory life, calomel) is uncountable. It's almost like we're a different breed now.

In S. Africa and Zimbabwe years ago, I marveled at some of the remnants, passed over by the mass slaughters - giant blonde and brunette man, with massive hands and chests, yet surprisingly agile, playing barefoot rugby on non-manicured pitches. They, too, will go by the wayside, but you just wonder what we were once, physically. It's like comparing the giant beaver of 10,000 years ago to those of today.

Somewhere in Galton's material, when talking about the ancient Greeks, he said that they were as athletically superior to us as we were to the African negro. That's a curious statement to ponder, written as it was as the racial slaughters of the Europeans were only just beginning to kick in, changing our type perhaps forever.

PatrickH said...

I'm wondering about West Af descended black guys making it in the 1500. Distance runners aren't just mediocre sprinters, they really do have to have a set of physiological traits that suit them to distance running. VO2 max for example, is critical for endurance athletes, but is heavily influenced by genetics and only partly increasable by training.

So I think your guy would have to be something rarer than just a black guy who's slow. (I don't claim that's what you were saying, Steve; just expanding gaseously here). There are lots of slow people out there who just don't have what it takes to do enduro stuff. Can't be too tall, head can't be too big , other stuff, lots of other stuff.

There was a very good black American 800m runner some years ago named Johnny Gray. Gray, however, would hang waaaaay back in the pack for most of the race, and then kick (sprint) home. He really only did well using this strategy in races that were slow and therefore decided by the final sprint.

Distance guys know how to take care of guys like Gray, or for that matter mediocrities who move up from a shorter distance to try to grab glory in a longer event: they just burn them off with a fast pace from the start. The kickers can't handle it. Bye bye flyboys!

Anonymous said...

Christine Ohuruogu: the winner in the 400m race. Is she on drugs?

She was banned for missing 3 drug tests, and then was re-instated because she had never actually failed a drug test. She's hooge, much bigger than the American favorite Sanya Richards.

halfbreed said...

I'm surprised that in all of your blogging on running ability you've ignored the analysis of the great sociologist Harry Edwards, who opined that black people learn to run faster because they have to, because they "have to run fast from the po-lice."

Actually, you make a good point about the 400 meters. I remember Bill Toomey ending his first day of the decathlon in Mexico City with a 400 meters of 45.3, and thinking, hmm, what could he have gone if he had concentrated on that event. When you think of it, you only have to have 20.5 or so speed to be a world class 400 guy, and there are a fair number of white guys who can do that.

jody said...

going out of your way to prove just how one dimensional your olympic coverage will be? let's not stop here. how about another one or two posts about just track!

don't bother exploring interesting questions about olympic sports, not even track. for example, why can no white american even make the olympic trial cut at 100 meters, which is only 10.28 seconds? white sprinters elsewhere can, even in south africa, where they are outnumbered 9 to 1. this is completely ridiculous, and begs for investigation.

an interesting analysis would be to project how good white americans really could be at track if they were racially isolated but still as sports crazy as always, like the australians. instead, they sit around not trying, because every day in the US, somebody is telling them that they can't do it because they aren't black.

right now the situation is ludicrous, and we have to assume that a team of 4 white americans could not get to the final of a 4x100 relay at a world championship or olympics. they would have to watch as white guys from smaller white nations with smaller talent pools run past them.

i'm pretty confident that a relay of 4 white americans could break the 4x400 world record under racially isolated circumstances.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Somebody got castigated on a previous thread for broaching the topic [there are so many Olympics threads and so many comments now that it would take a while to find it], but his point was that blacks begin to mature [physically] at a much younger age than whites, so that white guys of about the ages of 12, 13, and 14 - during the typical "junior high", or "middle school" years - when youth sports start to make the transition from silly little league affairs with Typical White Person parents in lawn chairs making fools of themselves, to the more serious pastimes where the boys are competing to get noticed by the hottest cheerleaders - that these early pubescent white boys just get shellacked & humiliated by the overwhelming black advantage in physical prowess at that age, and, as a result, completely lose interest in sports by the time they get their growth spurts and catch back up to [and even surpass] many of the black kids [who had had the youthful advantage over them during the early pubescent years].

And - as I believe that that poster had pointed out - one obvious explanation for the European white dominance in the NBA [and in FIBA] right now is that the white kids in Europe don't experience that early pubescent dejection which comes from playing alongside blacks, and so grow their way out of it without ever even realizing that they had once been at a competitive disadvantage.

Also a little off-topic, maybe, but I've heard that in e.g. schoolyard basketball, the young black kids are getting pretty "tribal" [in e.g. the Phariseeical sense of the word] about things - I've heard that if the white kids try to play pickup basketball with the black kids then they are in serious jeopardy of being on the receiving end of [at least the threats of] some gangland violence - apparently the black kids seize the basketball courts as their own territorial domain and make it pretty darned difficult [if not impossible] for the white kids [literally] to step foot on the courts.

Finally, even further off-topic, but I've often wondered if something similar might not be the case for intellectual achievement, as well.

I know that Charles Murray seems to believe that relative rankings of "g" are pretty firmly settled at a very young age:

The Age of Educational Romanticism
By Charles Murray
Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2008
aei.org

...If a classroom of first-graders is given a full-scale IQ test that requires no literacy and no mathematics, the correlation of those scores with scores on reading and math tests at age seventeen is going to be high...

And certainly if "g" is largely genetic in nature, then it's largely [heck, maybe even completely] determined at conception.

Nevertheless, I've often wondered if general "academic performance", or some kind of "practical intellectual ability", is necessarily constant over time [and especially whether it is relatively constant over time - i.e. whether the standard achievement rankings of the kids produces the same orderings over time], or whether it can vary as the kids experience different growth spurts through the years.

For instance, I've often noticed that e.g. very young Pacific Rim Asian children seem to be vastly more - what? - maybe seem to have a vastly greater dexterousness than do the Caucasian kids - not necessarily an intellectual dexterousness, but almost more a physical dexterousness - and certainly the Pacific Rim Asian kids are much, much more socially malleable than the Caucasian kids - you'll almost never see a Pacific Rim Asian kid act out any sort of defiance of authority in the manner that you invariably get from the Caucasian kids [especially the smarter, more irascible Caucasian kids - or maybe that's just a Scots-Irish thang - I dunno].

The point of this being that I know darned well [given who the Caucasian kids' parents are] that [God willing] the Caucasian kids will grow up to have much more outstanding academic careers than their early childhood Pacific Rim Asian playmates, but that it could take a good eight or ten or even fifteen years before a nursery-school- or kindergarten-aged Caucasian kid will finally catch up to [and surpass] a Pacific Rim Asian kid in academics [or athletics, or music, or what have you].

Along those lines [and speaking of "castigation"], there was also a comment from some guy, in one of these recent Olympics threads, about testicle size and testosterone therapy [and a sort of generalized physical and maybe even intellectual aggressiveness associated with testosterone], which was one of the more bizarre things that I've ever read at iSteve, but which I think may have had a kernel of truth to it.

It certainly reminded me of something that I once read Kasparov say [I think I read it long before the popularization of the WWW, so I doubt that I'd even be able to Google it now] to the effect that women would never become chess champions because to reach the summit in chess, one had to harbor an intellectual rage which compelled one to want to engage in a sort of intellectual murder of one's opponents, and that a woman could just never support that level of visceral, almost primordial intellectual hostility [and the associated ideations of intellectual violence].

So while "g" might be largely determined at conception, things like athletic achievement and intellectual achievement and musical achievement and their associated relative orderings among the children [as measured by e.g. winning the lead dance role in ballet productions, or grade point average in school, or seating position in All State Band/All State Orchestra, etc etc etc] are not necessarily constant in time - that as the kids go through various growth spurts [both physical, and maybe, in some more abstract sense, mental], their relative ordering on any particular metric of achievement is liable to change.

Certainly if you get back to e.g. the question of basketball, there's some really obvious evidence that measured achievement does not remain [relatively] constant with age - the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, as late as his sophomore year in high school, failed to make his school's basketball team, and Scottie Pippen, the second greatest player of his era, failed to earn a Div I scholarship coming out of high school [and ended up as a 6'1" freshman at Central Arkansas, an NAIA school], and David Robinson, the greatest American center of his era, was 5'9" as a junior in high school, and entered the Naval Academy as a 6'7" afterthought.

More recently, in this age of micro-examination of [and media saturation about] American secondary school basketball talent, the consensus #1 recruit in the class of 2009, John Wall, as determined by performance in the summer camps of 2008, was, until very recently, a complete unknown.

For instance, here's a September 2006 listing of the top 500 recruits in the class of 2009 which does not even mention Wall:

HOOP SCOOP'S RANKING OF THE NATION'S TOP 500 SOPHOMORES
September 13, 2006
hoopscooponline.com

And here's an August 2007 listing of the top 100 recruits in the class of 2009 which has Wall leapfrogging to #15, but with no indication that, a mere 12 months later, he would have again leapfrogged all the way to #1:

Class of 2009 Post-Summer Top 100
Aug. 22, 2007
cstv.com
CLASS OF 2009 (1-50)

halfbreed said...

One guy who fits into some of the theories mentioned here is Brian Clay, who won the decathlon in Beijing, who is half Japanese and half black. He's listed as 5' 11", although I heard the announcer say he was 5' 10". His strength for his size may have had something to do with his racial makeup, he certainly needed something extra to compete against the other decathletes, all of whom were bigger than him.

I've often thought that someone who is half northeast Asian and half black (a relatively rare combination) effectively averages out to a white person on virtually every metric except athletic ability, as northeast Asians and sub-Saharan Africans tend to be at opposite ends of the behavioral/hormonal/IQ spectrum on every trait for which there is a bell curve.

rosh said...

Your last paragraph is nonsensical considering that whites don't dominate the long distances, East Africans do. The hypothetical "blak guy" of which you speak would unlikely be discouraged by the paucity of blacks of West African descent in the long distances, because blacks like most people don't make a distinction between East and West Africans.

Anonymous said...

Please keep your promise.

Track?

I love you man but geez!

Anonymous said...

the link to your spreadsheet isn't working for me

Anonymous said...

got it to work. you need to take out the blogger.com part

Anonymous said...

"To be accepted in a black dominated field, a white guy has to be ebtter than the blacks." As,conversely,a black must be better than the whites to be accepted in a white-dominated field,like Barack and Michelle Obama getting into Harvard Law school!

Truth said...

"To be accepted in a black dominated field, a white guy has to be better than the blacks."

To be accepted in any athletic endeavor a man has to be better than his opponents, When he's not there is a word for him:

Benchwarmer.

Anonymous said...

Regarding medal count.

http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/who-won-the-olympics-medal-count-let-me-count-the-ways-402/

I am so entertained by above link. lol. Especially sour-graping, lol.

MQ said...

Steve, are we going to hear anything about USA basketball, or just these endless track stats? What's happening in international basketball is fascinating -- showing up the importance of cultural factors in sports. Other white nations are highly competitive with black Americans in basketball (although this year we saw black Americans have finally successfully adopt to the international style). But white Americans still can't compete with black Americans.

I actually thought Lucius Vorenus's long comment above was very insightful on some reasons for that -- basically, young black Americans monopolize the best developmental slots. (Interesting that several years ago, Dickens and Flynn used just this model and the example of basketball to show why the idea of genetic racial IQ differences is not supported by evidence of high within culture racial IQ differentials).

P.S. George Grote, are you saying there was some mythical 19th century period of Caucasian supermen? Bizarre. Jack Johnson was beating the best white fighters before WWI. There was no mass slaughter in the U.S. to deplete our gene pool. And why would WWI and WWII have disproportionately killed the best athletes?

Indra Maghavan said...

The early development and shorter life cycle of blacks is the true explanation, as some seem to finally be catching onto.

Because sports are run in schools, instead of in clubs, as in Europe, the effect is doubly pronounced.

The US vs Europe comparison is verified by the north/west vs south comparison: more whites reach pro-level status when they were raised in the north or west, i.e. they did not compete with blacks in junior high and high school.

Southern whites are no less athletic than northern or western whites, they are just locked out of improvement by black over-representation in the formative years.

This is factually based. Blacks enter puberty almost 2 years earlier than whites. How could it not have a profound influence on end-results when athletic career tracks begin in junior high.

Throw in the over-age blacks who started school late or were held back a year, and you literally have white boys competing with black men on a large scale. The competition is not fair. Lets make 12-14 y/o blacks compete with 16-18 year old whites and see who is "more athletic".

TCO said...

It seems like your points are re-establishing the importance of nurture (training, selection) as at least an important component versus nature. In the past, this area has been discussed as nature supreme. Runner's World article. etc.

Anonymous said...

"...to the more serious pastimes where the boys are competing to get noticed by the hottest cheerleaders - that these early pubescent white boys just get shellacked & humiliated by the overwhelming black advantage in physical prowess at that age..."

I'm more interested in the sociological angle of your observation. Black accomplishment in sports has emasculated whites in the US. Do these early, dejected feelings of helplessness contribute to anti-black attitudes?

TCO said...

The black coach is on the men's side. And the sport is so much a ghetto (but an impressive one, think about the moves being done) that gymnasts probably feel more camaraderie within sport rather than race.

George Grote said...

Lucius Vorenus, always insightful, is on the money again. I remember reading how a lot of high school football coaches in Texas were more positive toward integration than many would have expected them to be, due to their realization that the diference between maturation rates of blacks versus whites would greatly benefit them in landing running backs and whatnot. The famous Permian team, down in Odessa, had a star player named Boobie Miles back in 88, an awesome athlete. However, the running back coach said of him that he [had] "a man's body, but you're dealing with the mentality of a twelve year old." The psychology of going up against such opponents should certainly factor in discussions of the various races and their sports abilities in the U.S.


mq: "George Grote, are you saying there was some mythical 19th century period of Caucasian supermen? Bizarre."

Yeah, that's clearly what I was saying. Kudos on your brilliantly adept interpretation. And on your anecdotal trump card.

"There was no mass slaughter in the U.S. to deplete our gene pool."

Where are you from, dude? Have even maudlin Ken Burns documentaries passed you by? 610,000 men in the prime of life wiped out in four years doesn't impact a gene pool? What'd Lovecraft mean when he sarcastically said that Americans waged a Civil War so that Czechs might inhabit Boston (I'm paraphrasing)? Something about the replacement of one physical type by another?

"And why would WWI and WWII have disproportionately killed the best athletes?"

Are you really struggling with that question? Did you spend even thirty seconds thinking about it? Here, I'll let Chuck Darwin answer: "In every country in which a standing army is kept up, the fairest young men are taken to the conscript camp or are enlisted. They are thus exposed to early death during war...and are prevented from marrying during the prime of life. On the other hand, feebler men with poor constitutions are left at home and consequently have a much better chance of marrying and propagating their kind."

Now back to grad school with you.

ben tillman said...

The US vs Europe comparison is verified by the north/west vs south comparison: more whites reach pro-level status when they were raised in the north or west, i.e. they did not compete with blacks in junior high and high school.

Not just the North and West but also the deepest of the deep South -- Louisiana and Mississippi -- where segregation academies are still in business. In law school at Georgia, we used to joke about Ole Miss and white tailbacks, but 20 years later LSU was winning the national championship with a white tailback and a white safety.

KlaosOldanburg said...

wariner looks like he might have a few more african genes than your average european-american. he's certainly "white," but if we had dozens of classifications like in brazil he'd probably be a shade or two away from distinctly northern european people. reminds me a little bit of jason kidd.

pic 1

Pic 2

George Grote said...

re: klausoldanburg's Wariner photos - reminds me of one of the extras in Last of the Mohicans.

If you asked him, you'd probably get the old fave "my grandmother was part Cherokee."

Peter said...

wariner looks like he might have a few more african genes than your average european-american. he's certainly "white," but if we had dozens of classifications like in brazil he'd probably be a shade or two away from distinctly northern european people. reminds me a little bit of jason kidd.

Going by the linked pictures, if I didn't know who Wariner was, I'd guess him as being of some sort of Southern/Southeastern European ancestry: Sicilian (the most likely), Greek, Albanian, maybe Turkish or Armenian.

Anonymous said...

Great work Steve.

Very interesting and confirming.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous ,
i went to one of the best law schools in the country and Barack and Michelle did not have to have better credentials than whites in order to be accepted . The opposite is true . The average LSAT scores and GPAs of black first year law students at top ten schools are much lower than the average scores for whites and the average grades for blacks in the first year of law school are lower than whites.

Anonymous said...

klaosoldenburg said:
"wariner looks like he might have a few more african genes than your average european-american."

There was an article on Wariner in Sports Illustrated some years back (around 2004 I believe) where Wariner's mother told the interviewer that she would get annoyed when people seeing her son dominate at high school track meets would ask her if he was mixed because they couldn't believe a white kid could be so fast. She, at any rate, claims that Wariner is of all white ancestry except for 1/32nd Cherokee.

Another article on Wariner says this:
"Sure, he heard what buzzed through the crowd when he and seven African-Americans coiled into the starting blocks for the 200-meter and 400-meter sprints: Man, what's that white boy doin' out there? Sure, he stuck out in his new surroundings. But not for long.

He had already traded his long, curly hair for a clean buzz. Now he quietly observed and began to blend in, the way he had years earlier in the classroom. His voice inflections changed. A little bounce came into his walk. Like many white suburban kids watching hip-hop videos, he began wearing baggier clothes. Hours of training under the Texas sun burnished his skin to the coloring of his Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother. The alternative rock he'd favored in middle school disappeared from his radio. Off he'd roll in his car, driving his new track buddies home after practice, Jay-Z and Lil' Wayne booming from the speakers. "He just molds to the environment he's in," says teammate Korey Wright.

Half of the kids at his high school were of African, Asian or Hispanic descent. More and more, that was the half he hung with. Pookie came to a few conclusions about African-Americans. "They aren't judgmental," he says. "They don't worry as much about popularity."

African-Americans came to a few conclusions about Pookie. "You see a lot of white guys trying to act black and a lot of black guys trying to act white," says Darold Williamson , a world-class sprinter who would end up being Jeremy's best friend at college. "Guys trying to be cool by being somebody else. Not Jeremy. He's not forcing anything. He's real free about life. He goes with the flow, he doesn't obsess over stuff like some white guys do. He's always just himself. That's why it's so easy for African-Americans to accept him." "

-Philly Guy

Anonymous said...

Jody said:
“white sprinters elsewhere can, even in south africa, where they are outnumbered 9 to 1. this is completely ridiculous, and begs for investigation.”

South Africa is probably not the best comparison. The top SA white sprinters have been Boers like Johan Rossouw (100m in 10.06s) and Morne Nagel (100m in 10.13s and 200m in 20.11, as well as 6.48s on the 60m indoor – best all-time for a white sprinter and 18th best all-time overall). As Carleton S. Coon pointed out in his famous “Races of Mankind,” Boers, as a group, have a lot more Bantu in them than they would care to admit. Even when they don’t look it, as with Brazilian whites, they often have a “touch of the tar brush.”

Lucius Vorenus said:
“Somebody got castigated on a previous thread for broaching the topic … but his point was that blacks begin to mature [physically] at a much younger age than whites, so that white guys of about the ages of 12, 13, and 14 … just get shellacked & humiliated by the overwhelming black advantage in physical prowess at that age, and, as a result, completely lose interest in sports by the time they get their growth spurts and catch back up to [and even surpass] many of the black kids [who had had the youthful advantage over them during the early pubescent years].”

That would be me who raised the topic. It is well established that blacks are more advanced on virtually all measures of motor development as young children (i.e., can hold their head up first, crawl, walk and talk earlier, etc.). Black babies are born with more advanced skeletal development and greater bone mass (despite a shorter gestation period and lower average birth weights) than white children. Blacks remain skeletally more precocious throughout their development to adulthood and, when looking at well nourished populations, undergo puberty and menachre at earlier ages than whites. This would certainly give them a leg up in youth sports. They also begin and complete their adult dentition earlier than whites.

Re the development of East Asians, I have to take issue with Rushton for presenting them as on an opposite end of the spectrum from blacks, with whites intermediate. The actual picture is more complex. As blacks are ahead of whites in motor development as young children, whites are ahead of Asians. However, by age 4 Asians catch up to whites in motor development and bone development and develop at a similar pace to whites until about age 10, when they begin to become more advanced skeletally, and enter puberty earlier, experiencing their pubertal growth spurts and menarche at earlier ages than whites. For instance, well nourished white and East Asian children are about the same height until their early teens. However, when height is adjusted for years until puberty or menarche, whites are taller. White adults end up somewhat taller than well nourished East Asian populations because their later puberty gives them more time to grow before their growth plates seal. This difference in pubertal timing also accounts for why whites, at a give sitting heights will have legs averaging about 4 cm longer than well nourished East Asians.

Within white populations, Mediterranean whites are characterized by a somewhat more precocious skeletal and sexual development than Northern and Central Europeans, even when raised in similar environments. For instance, an Australian study, cited in Evelyth and Taylor’s 1990 book, “Worldwide Variation in Human Growth,” reports that Australians of Anglo-Celtic and other NW European heritages matured significantly later than the Australian born descendants of immigrants from Southern European Countries such as Italy, Greece, Portugal and Malta.

Please note that I don’t want to get carried away with the maturation argument. I do believe that whites never do catch up to blacks, on average and at the extremes, in short distance speed and leaping ability, and do not think they could achieve representational parity at things such as NFL running back or cornerback or 100m sprinters. I do, however, think they could do better in sports such as football and basketball than they currently do and that a number of able whites, who could play running or corner back, are pushed into other positions or not considered.

Lucius Vorenus said:
“Finally, even further off-topic, but I've often wondered if something similar might not be the case for intellectual achievement, as well.”

I have also wondered about this. The data presented by Flynn, Dickens, and Murray in their recent debate over the Black/White IQ gap seems to indicate that the gap in g between whites and blacks grows as the subjects reach their early 20s. I have wondered if this was at least partially a result of different maturation tempos.

It is also interesting to note, as Helmuth Nyborg points out in his article about gender differences in g in “The Scientific Study of Human Intelligence” (a volume in tribute to Arthur Jensen), that studies comparing g between the sexes give females an edge until their early teens, whereafter they show a slight deficit to males. Since females mature earlier than males, differences in school achievements between boys and girls may partly result from differences in maturation tempo.

With respect to East Asians, they start to overtake whites in maturity at school ages and I have wondered, as you posit here, if this, in combination of their apparent genetic tendency to develop ADHD at lower rates, is part of the explanation for their higher academic performance. When looking at intelligence test scores for East Asians, some authorities, like Lynn and Rushton will give averages in the area 5 to 10 points higher than whites. However, most of these scores come from samples of school age children. On tests administered to adults, like WAIS norming studies conducted in Japan, and the NLSY sample used by Herrnstein and Murray (admittedly, the number of east Asians in the NLSY sample is small), point to a gap of around 3 points in favor of east Asians, which is still significant, but far short of the ½ S.D. edge asserted by some.

Tco said:
“It seems like your points are re-establishing the importance of nurture (training, selection) as at least an important component versus nature. In the past, this area has been discussed as nature supreme. Runner's World article. etc.”

No one can seriously assert that any complex phenotypic trait such as sporting success is entirely genetic. Environmental factors must play a large role. There are few factors that could have a bigger environmental impact than greatly different maturation tempos. Most people decide to seriously pursue a sport during their middle- and high school years and if they are uncompetitive at such ages, they are unlikely to pursue it later or receive a scholarship for further development of their athletic skills in college, thereby putting them in an environment less conducive to their achieving their potential at a later age.

Anonymous said:
“I'm more interested in the sociological angle of your observation. Black accomplishment in sports has emasculated whites in the US. Do these early, dejected feelings of helplessness contribute to anti-black attitudes?”

I doubt black dominance of popular sports contributes materially to anti-black attitudes among whites. Instead, I think it gives many whites the impression that they cannot compete and that such sports are not for them, thereby causing them to focus their athletic efforts and ambitions towards soccer, “country club sports” and x-games type activities like skateboarding. I do not think, however, that this creates malice towards blacks. The enormous numbers of white males who passionately love to watch black dominated sports and play fantasy leagues, etc. seem to support this.

Instead, anti-black attitudes probably result mainly from black behaviors, such as high crime and dependency on transfers and preferences, combined with a sense of entitlement to such preferences and an angry, accusatory belligerence that sees everything as a sleight or some sort of “racism,” and not from black sporting success. To the extent that whites gain negative attitudes about blacks through sports, again, black behavior, such as excessive celebration, taunting, trash talking and indiscipline, is probably to blame. I’ll never forget a high school gym class where a Korean friend and I played a game of doubles paddle tennis with two black students. We beat them handily, and, as we were scoring point after unanswered point, the black students became more and more frustrated and one of them started to hurl racial epithets at us, including, “honky, chink-boy, and slanty-eyed mother-f@$ker.” No disciplinary action was taken, even though the instructor could obviously hear them. I doubt our behavior would have been so ignored if we had directed similar epithets towards our black opponents.
-Philly Guy

Truth said...

"Barack and Michelle did not have to have better credentials than whites in order to be accepted."

Apparently, neither did John McCain:

http://www.236.com/blog/w/alec_
sokolow/middie_mccain_more_moron_t
han_5544.php

"why can no white american even make the olympic trial cut at 100 meters, which is only 10.28 seconds? white sprinters elsewhere can, even in south africa, where they are outnumbered 9 to 1. this is completely ridiculous, and begs for investigation."

It be the man holdin' y'all down.

"because every day in the US, somebody is telling them that they can't do it because they aren't black."

But of course that never happened in a classroom; I know, I know, that's different!


"one obvious explanation for the European white dominance in the NBA [and in FIBA] right now..."

Is LSD back?

"of] some gangland violence - apparently the black kids seize the basketball courts as their own territorial domain and make it pretty darned difficult [if not impossible] for the white kids [literally] to step foot on the courts."

Wow, that's got to be really difficult for all of those white kids who live in Compton, the South Bronx and Downtown Detroit!

"the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, as late as his sophomore year in high school, failed to make his school's basketball team, and Scottie Pippen, the second greatest player of his era, failed to earn a Div I scholarship coming out of high school [and ended up as a 6'1" freshman at Central Arkansas, an NAIA school], and David Robinson, the greatest American center of his era, was 5'9" as a junior in high school, and entered the Naval Academy as a 6'7" afterthought."

Luciee, come on you're losin' me here, you just told me black kids matured earlier.

"Instead, anti-black attitudes probably result mainly from black behaviors, such as high crime and dependency on transfers and preferences, combined with a sense of entitlement to such preferences and an angry, accusatory belligerence."

Make up your mind Philly; I thought racism was inbred and natural.

George Grote said...

Wariner - Cherokee blood. I knew it!