Carpe Diem

More on the ‘twisted logic’ of racial diversity in pro sports

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida puts out a series of annual racial and gender “report cards” on professional sports including basketball, baseball, football, and soccer (see a list here) and they’ve recently added a new racial and gender “report card” on sports writers. I’ve reported on their questionable reports before, see this post from April and this CD post from last summer.

Here’s one of the main findings from the institute’s most recent “2013 Racial and Gender Report Card for Major League Baseball (MLB)“:

For the category “Players” MLB gets a letter grade of A+ for player rosters by race in 2013 even though:

1. Black baseball players are significantly underrepresented in MLB (8.3% of total rosters) relative to their 13.1% share of the US population.

2. Latino baseball players are significantly overrepresented (28.2% of all players) relative to their 16.7% of the US population.

3. Asian players are significantly underrepresented in MLB (2.1%) relative to their 5% of the US population.

4. White players are slightly underrepresented in MLB (61.4%) relative to their 63.4% of the US population.

When you have three racial categories (blacks, Asians and whites) that are underrepresented and one race that is significantly overrepresented (Latinos), how does the institute arrive at a letter grade of A+ for race in MLB? Well, apparently, only by adding the percentages of black, Asian and Latino players together to get 38.7% minority representation in MLB, relative to their 34.8% of the general population.

So again, the grading “logic” for MLB’s racial composition seems rather twisted, especially when you consider that the NBA also gets a letter grade of A+ – even though Hispanic players make up only 3% of all NBA players (significantly underrepresented), blacks make up 78% (significantly overrepresented) and whites only 18% (significantly underrepresented). So here’s how I think the TIDES “logic” of racial grading must work – as long as whites are underrepresented in a professional sport, and minorities as a group (or some individually) are overrepresented, major league sports will get a letter grade of A+ for race for the racial composition of its rosters.

Bottom Line: Does this type of mechanistic, head counting of athletes by race/skin color, and then assigning letter grades for professional sports for race, really move us further in the direction of Martin Luther King’s vision of a colorblind society? I really can’t see how it does. Am I the only one who finds this “racial head counting” of pro athletes so simplistically childish and offensive?

8 thoughts on “More on the ‘twisted logic’ of racial diversity in pro sports

  1. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the drop on their curve ball…”

    • …but by the drop on their curve ball

      And the numbers seem to indicate they ARE judged only on that basis. Club owners only ask “what can you contribute to my bottom line”?

      Only organizations of axe grinders like TIDES are concerned with skin color.

  2. MP: “Am I the only one who finds this “racial head counting” of pro athletes so simplistically childish and offensive?

    Nope. You are not alone. It seems especially offensive that TIDES appears to consider all non-white players to be interchangeable, further removing them from consideration for individual merit or the “content of their character”.

  3. It’s not like this is a meaningful body of work from a university that actually merits acknowledgement. UCF? I guess a relatively new university needs some notoriety.

  4. I note there are no women players in the MLB, meaning overt sexual discrimination.

    I also note, that in many, many years of owning crappy second-hand cars, and thus being a frequent patron of auto repair barns, I have never, ever seen a female mechanic, nor did I ever hear or talk to woman who wanted to be an auto mechanic.

    But I have met several hundred women who wanted to be actresses, dancers, reporters, write children’s books, or be psychiatrists.

    Obviously, there are all victims of social pressures….

    • Here’s the unofficial gender report for Apple Developers in one photo:

      Oh wow! And they’re all law abiding. I wouldn’t hesitate to use that empty ladies room if the need was great enough.

  5. Look more closely at the numbers. They apparently use “black” to mean “African-American.” Latin American and Caribbean players of African ancestry are not counted as black.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>