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10.26.2005

Statistical generalizations != racism 

The AP makes a pathetic attempt to stir up controversy by printing these comments from Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry:


He said Air Force needed to recruit faster players. "We were looking at things, like you don't see many minority athletes in our program," DeBerry told The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

When questioned about the remarks during his weekly luncheon Tuesday, the coach didn't hesitate to elaborate.

"It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well," DeBerry said in remarks first broadcast Tuesday night by KWGN-TV in Denver.


Fisher DeBerry is certainly not the most prestigious person to have ever made such observations -- UCLA physiologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond and Roger Bannister have said as much in the past.

One of the scientists quoted in one of these articles tries to downplay the findings by claiming that the athletes in question are statistical aberrations. I don't buy it. The phenomenon can be observed on the football and basketball teams of large high schools, and I'd say that such athletes represent perhaps the top 10% or 5% of the population. That's still statistically significant.

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