A Color Blurred Society
During my morning workout at the gym the other day, I glanced up at one of the many TV monitors. I try to use my time on the elliptical trainer to zone out and think about what’s going on in the world and what I am going to write about next. But I do get distracted by the TVs. There’s a lot of Fox News and HGTV on the monitors but also, in this case, ESPN. The show this morning on ESPN was Keyshawn, Jwill and Max and the captions on the monitor showed they were commenting about how awful it was that the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Bieniemy, was not offered a job as a head coach for some other NFL team after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win. I had no idea who Eric Bieniemy was. I was wondering, “why do they care if some assistant coach was not offered a head coaching job?” This discussion went on for quite a while.
And then I realized that these announcers wouldn’t give a shit if some white guy wasn’t offered a job, but if a black guy is not offered a job then it must be because of racial animus. Sure enough, Mr. Bieniemy is a black man and the show hosts asserted that his skin color was indeed the reason he was not elevated to a head coaching position. I could not follow all the commentary, reading text while working out is difficult and throws off your workout. I did notice one caller into the show said there could be other reasons why Mr. Bieniemy didn’t leave the Chiefs but by then I was finishing my cardio program and moved onto the weights.
But I kept thinking. Some people look at everything through the lens of race. Some people are heavily invested in the continuation of the concept that America is a cesspit of systemic racism. The Washington Post lamented that there are only three black head coaches in the NFL and “that needs to change.” That needs to change because 60% of the players in the NFL are black, the Post asserts. But if blacks are about 12% of the US population, the black players are way over-represented while black head coaches at 9% looks more like America (as some people say).
Maybe the question should be why aren’t the diversity, equity and inclusion activists complaining about the lack of Asian players in the NFL. I am sure short Jewish guys are also under-represented (actually the 6 Jews in the NFL represent 0.35% of all players while Jews are 2.3% of the US population). As it turns out Asians are way underrepresented in the NFL (only 0.1%) while Pacific Islanders are way overrepresented (1.7%) and Samoans especially overrepresented. The thirty Samoans in the NFL represent 1.77% of all players but Samoans make up only 0.02% of the US population.
Another way to frame the question is if the preponderance of blacks as players is due their skills and abilities, why is the preponderance of white head coaches due to racism. The thought comes mind, “those that can do, those that can’t teach.” The players on the field are there because the NFL is a meritocracy and a meritocracy often yields disparate results. Asians and Jews are overrepresented in academic endeavors, but DEI activists insist on changing that so that college campuses and the medical and legal professions “look more like America.” Can you imagine what the NFL would be like if it had to apply racial quotas to “look more like America?” Nobody would watch. Do you want the same for medical and legal professions, business boardrooms, etc?
There were seven black head coaches in the NFL in 2018 (almost 22%). So why are there only three now? Because head coaches get fired if they don’t win games, not because they are black. If Mr. Bieniemy is as good as the commentators say, he will get his chance to coach an NFL team. Because the NFL is a meritocracy.
The other thought that came to mind during my workout was the comments over Super Bowl Weekend about this being the first Super Bowl featuring two black quarterbacks. But if the selection of quarterbacks in the Superbowl was based solely on a race’s percent of the total population, the odds of having two black quarterbacks would be about 70 to 1 (1.44%).
Another thought, Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, Patrick Mahomes is only half black. His mother is white (as was President Obama’s). And since Mr. Mahomes’ wife is also white, his kids are only one-quarter black.
And Tiger Woods is not only the greatest black golfer ever, he is also greatest Thai golfer ever, because his mother is from Thailand. And his son Charley, who has all the makings of becoming a great golfer as well, is only one quarter black because his mother is Swedish. And by the way, all-American designer and home fixer-upper, Joanna Gaines is of Korean, German and Lebanese descent.
The point that I am making is that it is getting harder and harder to put a person into a neat little ethnic or racial box. I come from a different era, but my son ‘s wife is Hispanic, and my son-in-law’s brother is married to an Indian. Kids are getting all mixed up genetically. All you have to do is go to the grocery store to see families made up of many races and ethnicities. The number of mixed race couples portrayed in TV advertisements has skyrocketed. They hardly existed at all a decade ago.
The one-drop rule that a single black ancestor made a person black is a holdover from the era of Jim Crow. The only people pushing this concept in the twenty-first century are the race baiting black leaders and anti-racist activists that thrive on racial division and hate. People have been interbreeding whenever the occasion arose since prehistoric times. According to the one-drop rule I am a Neanderthal (is that a qualified minority under federal guidelines?).
We may never achieve the colorblind society that would be the ideal for racial harmony that Martin Luther King dreamed of. Human beings are too flawed to achieve that level of perfection. But we do seem to be becoming a color blurred society. Different races and ethnicities occurred because populations of humans were isolated from one another. Throw all sorts of people into the same pot and you get all sorts of mixtures. Some people may think that all this blending of races and ethnicities is a bad idea (it used to be illegal – technically). Others may feel it is a good thing. I just think it is inevitable.