With the start of football season, fantasy football leagues have sprung up around work. Today at lunch, several guys are talking about their teams and running backs and receivers and such. I don't recall exactly how the discussion came about, but one, a black guy, of them mentioned his choice because black guys are faster than whites. "It's genetics," he said.
I don't even look up from my book. No, it isn't.
Conversation around us gets quiet. Everyone knows my brain is a vast repository of obscure knowledge. Unlike most people who make declarations like that, I actually have the ammo to back it up. So he asks the obvious question, "Oh, really? So what is it?"
If I told you that blacks being superior runners to whites has nothing to do with race or breeding and is all about simple, basic science, would you want to know?
A pause, then, "Yeah. So what is it?"
It's the belly button.
A longer pause. "What?"
The belly button is the center of gravity on the human body. Scientists found that black runners had belly buttons about two inches higher than white runners. Runners run by tilting their bodies forward, letting gravity pull them down, and using their legs to keep themselves from falling over. It maintains efficiency. Black runners have a higher center of gravity, so there is more for gravity to pull, creating extra momentum, creating extra speed.
He just looked at me. "Bullshit!"
Okay, think about this: if that's bullshit, if it really is as simple as blacks are superior athletes, then why are there so few black champion swimmers?
He actually straightened and I could see the light bulb going off above his head. I said, It's because of the center of gravity. Because whites have a lower center of gravity, it's situated more towards the middle, enabling them to achieve swimmer's posture easily. There is less drag. They slice through the water instead of pulling through it.
Suddenly, everyone started talking about swimmers and runners and body types and such. I went back to my reading. So the next time someone gives you the Jimmy The Greek history lecture about blacks and sports, tell him to shut up and go back to science class.