Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Do blacks rate themselves as athletic? In a previous post, I showed that blacks give themselves higher ratings on intelligence than whites or Asians do. Could this be due to reference group comparisons? People compare themselves to others they know in order to assess themselves. Perhaps the typical black person does not know someone nearly as smart as the average Asian person, so the black sees himself as being comparatively intelligent.

But it doesn't work in a context where blacks are arguably superior. The General Social Survey asked 2,373 Americans how athletic they were. The researchers are not too bright and gave the highest score to the least athletic (5) and the lowest score to the most athletic (1), so what you see is the mean unathletic score:

Mean unathletic score

Blacks 2.97
Whites 3.14
Others 3.13

Blacks think they are more athletic (although the difference is not huge). If my theory were correct, an average black person would probably know a better athlete than the typical white guy and would thus rate himself as being less athletic. But blacks are not doing this. They give themselves high intelligence ratings, and they give themselves high athletic ratings. Regardless of objective realities, their self-assessments are generous. For some reason, blacks are more positive about themselves than other groups. As I often show on this blog, the facts simply do not support the idea that blacks live in a country where they are systematically mistreated, run down, belittled, or made to feel inferior.

Wasn't self-esteem such a neat theory? On paper, it seemed to work perfectly. Blacks have always been treated as inferiors; they underperform; it's because they internalize the inferior label and act accordingly. Pretty neat. As is often the case with liberal creativity, the idea falls apart as soon as you look at the facts. "What's wrong with those blacks? Why do they feel so good about themselves? Damn, another theory down the drain."


  1. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Blacks actually are underestimating themselves on this question. The racial gap in athletic ability is much more pronounced than the very modest figures shown on the GSS.


  2. But the real reason I love black men is their hair reminds me of pubic hair.


  3. Anonymous2:25 AM

    I suspect that on average the more intelligent groups are generally more athletic because they are more concerned with personal health, but when it comes to the extreme right of the bell curve (i.e. those who participate in professional sports) African-Americans outperform because they have both an innate biological advantage and take care of their personal health.


  4. Anonymous12:01 AM

    I agree with the previous poster. On average, whites are probably more athletic than blacks because they value athleticism and physical activity more and therefore train more. They also are more interested in health-enhancing activities. However, due to some innate genetic advantages, blacks can outperform whites in some sports when they train.


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