WMU News

Brains and brawn behind black athletes' success

Sept. 25, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Some have asserted that African Americans' dominance in sports ranging from football to track and field can be attributed to their physical prowess. But one philosopher says it has as much to do with brains as it does with brawn.

Dr. Albert Mosley, professor of philosophy at Smith College, will address the preponderance of black athletes in sports and the perceptions surrounding their dominance in a presentation titled "Race and Athletics" at Western Michigan University Thursday, Oct. 4.

Sponsored by the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, Mosley's talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Rooms 157 and 158 of the Bernhard Center. It is free and open to the public.

The springboard for Mosley's address centers around Jon Entine's 2000 book "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It." Mosley will use elements of philosophy to critically assess Entine's position that blacks' physical superiority is key in their prominence in sports.

"I want to put out some red flags about Entine's argument that it is just a matter of genetics--that blacks have bigger and faster muscles," says Mosley. "He plays on an already existing stereotype of the dumb jock, brawn over brains."

The intelligence of these athletes plays a critical part, says Mosley, something that Entine does not acknowledge.

Mosley is the author of several publications and has presented numerous papers, including "Racial Differences in Sports: What's Ethics Got to Do with It?" He also collaborated with Nicholas Capaldi on the book "Affirmative Action: Social Justice or Unfair Preference?" His areas of specialization include logic, philosophy of the natural and social sciences, social and political philosophy, African philosophy, and African-American philosophy.

For more information, contact the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at (616) 387-4397.

Media contact: Scott K. Crary, 616 387-8400

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