« gender and writing style | Gene Expression Front Page | Proximate vs. Ultimate »
July 08, 2003

Human Biodiversity makes the Big Leagues

A dustup over Dusty Baker's physiological assessment of certain Cubs. Baker stands by his assertion that black and Hispanic players can take the heat better than whites. Great defense: "I'm not playing the race card. I'm telling it like it is," Baker said.

Posted by martin at 10:11 AM

three things:

1. a white coach couldn't get away with similar comments

2. this guy said that as a black he can say things about blacks just as whites can say things about whites... but he didn't just say things about blacks he said things about a)latinos and b)whites

3. anyone notice how blacks raise the "brother" card when they're in hot water... i read him quoting something about "brothers" somewhere... i wonder if white people started referring to other white people as "brothers" and refused to call others the same, whether they might be accused of parochialism...

Posted by: marinara at July 8, 2003 12:00 PM

#1: maybe, but he didn't exactly get off scot free either.

#2: his point was that he probably could have gotten away with saying, say what Jimmy the Greek did, b/c it wouldn't be at another ethnic group, but that he might not get away with saying that whites were somehow deficient. Odd comment because... well, that's what he did. Unsuccessful attempt to demonstrate there isn't a double standard on race stuff. (though see comment #1)

#3: I didn't see him use the "brother card" marinara, so that seems kind of inflammatory.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at July 8, 2003 12:35 PM

#1) probably true, but...

#2) So what? Since he's probably right in the first place, I see no problem with him saying it and taking the heat for it (though, admittedly, he's going to take less heat for it than, say, I would). As a GNXP reader, I'm pretty happy to see this kind of discussion in the mainstream press. Why the bitterness, marinara?

#3) As a longtime Cubs fan (there's a certain painful pride that comes with saying that), I can tell you that Baker almost always refers to as other blacks as "brother", so I wouldn't call it "rais[ing] the 'brother' card".

Posted by: Joe P. at July 8, 2003 12:54 PM

"Since he's probably right in the first place, I see no problem with him saying it and taking the heat for it (though, admittedly, he's going to take less heat for it than, say, I would)."

Well Joe-if Dusty's right-he should be better able to take the heat! Q.E.D.

Posted by: martin at July 8, 2003 12:59 PM

Also, I second Joe's second point.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at July 8, 2003 01:03 PM

they interviewed a "sports sociologist," how about a sports physiologist??? interesting, huh?

also, baker isn't even making a human biodiversity statement necessarily, it could be simply human cultural diversity. an ex-g/f of mine moved to louisiana to work for the red cross, and her white roommate from florida got cold REAL EASILY, probably because you guessed it, she wasn't used to the cold because florida is warm. by coincidence, many latino & black athletes come from warmer areas, just as Baker noted.

blah, blah, blah....

but yeah, a white manager would eventually have been fired i think. Baker won't.

Posted by: razib at July 8, 2003 01:18 PM

I really think he's making a comment, whether he's fully aware of it or not, on h b-d. A quote from the espn.com article:

"Your skin color is more conducive to heat than it is to the lighter-skinned people. I don't see brothers running around burnt," Baker said before the Cubs beat St. Louis at Wrigley. "That's a fact. I'm not making this up. I'm not seeing some brothers walking around with some white stuff on their ears and noses."

So perhaps "conductive" wasn't the right word for him to use. But still, he's definitely talking about skin color as opposed to some cultural variable.

Posted by: Joe P. at July 8, 2003 01:41 PM

The link to him referring to other blacks as "brothers"

1. my point earlier was that would it be ok for a white manager to always refer to white players as "brothers" and not to do the same for non-white players??

"Since he's probably right in the first place, I see no problem with him saying it"

2. if a white manager said that black players engaged in more sexual shehanigans than white players... or that white players were more into family than black players... would that be accepted? why not .. it's probably true too... its 2003... how long further will african-americans be allowed to say things about others without others reciprocating about them??

Posted by: marinara at July 9, 2003 05:24 AM

Sportscenter (an television show about sports on ESPN) referenced a US military study that showed a gene (i have forgotten which one) which correlates with an increased susceptibility of heat stroke was found predominately in african-americans.

Although the hilarious part is that the sportscaster implied that "of course" this proved dusty wrong, since obviously:
A) The fact that this small subgroup of blacks has lower heat resistance then whites implies that all other blacks and whites have equal heat resistance.
B) There exists no other gene that influences heat resistance (or any other trait!) and has a different frequency distrinutions in blacks and whites.

Posted by: -b at July 9, 2003 06:40 AM

for this dicussion, the sun has two important effects.

1) burning
2) heating

baker is right when it comes to burning. only some whites resist burns. almost all mestizos and blacks resist burns.

baker is probably wrong when it comes to heating. whites and mestizos seem to handle heating better than blacks.

i'd guess there are two reasons.

1) black skin. it resists burns great. it also absorbs heat great.

2) testosterone. blacks have the most. it means they have more sweat glands.

this is the ideal design for losing water as quickly as possible in the heat.

i live in las vegas. today it will be 112 with 19% humidity. generally, only the mexicans will feel good today.

Posted by: jody at July 9, 2003 09:18 AM