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February 23, 2007

Comments

Ken

On your first point (re: Pacman).

I'm also at a loss on how to interpret Black male athletes "involved" in criminal circumstances.

On the one hand, in the case of Pacman, it seems like there is just too much correlation there...

On the other hand, as I tell students in social theory classes, theoretical frameworks allow us to interpret our empirical observations in a meaningful way. Thousands of years ago, people looked up at the movement of the stars and concluded that the earth was the center of the universe. Then, people looked at the same stars, the same movements, and concluded that the Sun was the center of the universe.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that Black athletes have been framed in such a way that an empirical fact (he sat next to a man who shot someone) carries with it a very specific interpretation. But, when you have the likes of Rush Limbaugh complaining about the "thuglike" nature of the NFL, how can we trust the interpretations of the cops on the scene, the news reporters, etc. The same empirical observations can be interpreted a number of ways. And given the track record of the way this country has framed the actions of Black men in the past, I think we need to be critical of second hand interpretations.

ps. Don't worry, I don't think this has to devolve to some sort of meaningless postmodernism where there is no objective reality. After all, the heliocentrics were right. But, theories do change. Paradigm shifts occur. And anyone who thinks that social theories are immune from politics, should really read Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (if only to have something to talk about when they drink DuckRabbit porter...)

D-Wil

Thank you for mentioning my post... But much, much more importantly, thank you for speaking out on the thorny and complex issue of race, sports, and perception-image.

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