Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Race in the New York Marathon and in Provo Politics

As a follow up to my discussion of race and sport in previous posts, here is an article by Gina Kolata of the New York Times that discusses reactions to Meb Keflezighi's recent victory at the New York Marathon. Even though he has lived in the U.S. since age 12 and done all his training in the here, some argue he is not "really" an American because he was born in Africa... Kola writes:

The debate reveals what some academics say are common assumptions and stereotypes about race and sports and athletic achievement in the United States. Its dimensions, they add, go beyond the particulars of Keflezighi and bear on undercurrents of nationalism and racism that are not often voiced.

We just went through a mayoral and city-council election cycle here in ny home town of Provo. The winning candidates talked about working for a "safer" more "unified" Provo. In a city where crime rates are so low they barely register on a graph, there is no realistic way to make the city more safe. And the city is probably more homogeneous ("unified") than any city its size in the U.S. Instead, this rhetoric was a coded message that played on peoples' fears of a growing minority population. It leaves me wondering if the pro-"development" and "progress" people who have taken over city-hall will move for new zoning laws that would keep lower income, predominantly Mexican residents isolated or force them to move to neighboring communities. I hope not.

"Real America," "My America," "Safety," "Unity," "Anti-gang"

So much for post-racial America... Old attitudes linger but the code words have changed.

No comments: