Thursday 09 August 2012

Some quite brave, where brave is a relative term, broadcasting from BBC tonight. And I don’t mean Phil Jones asking some big lad why he didn’t win a gold medal. In the run up to the 200m final (for men) the issue of race and genetics in athletics, specifically sprinting, was discussed. As with anything involving race it is a thorny issue. Fortunately the discussion involved Michael Johnson who is an example of a former athlete who is very good at broadcast journalism.

He summed up the case of any –isms in society: certain people are more likely to behave in a way because of their race or some genetic element; however this does not mean that (a) people of a race/possessing a genetic element will behave in that way, and (b) people not of that race/not possessing that genetic element can behave that way. So, being black doesn’t make you good at running though the best sprinters are liable to be black – however it doesn’t mean someone couldn’t be world-class sprinter and be white, white people are just lazy as Ron Atkinson said.

So, not all camp men like having sex with other men; not all scousers are thieves and not all footballers on 70k a week like group sex in hotels – they are all just in sub-groups of society that make each activity more likely statistically. So, far so offensive. I was being facetious – enjoy it. Why it is brave to discuss it is that anything that can be seen as ‘evidence’ for difference between any groups can be used for hate. Because people are fucking idiots.

As the sprinters lined up for the start of the race I couldn’t help but notice that all their numbers were attached with staples. Which is how I attached my number when I did the Manchester 10k run. There really should be some difference between how a portly man in his 30s dresses a number to lumber around Manchester on a Sunday morning and how the fastest men in the world dress a number to push the limits of human land-running speeds.

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