Sport is a mechanism of control in America
January 10, 2018 10:57 AM   Subscribe

"Sport is a mechanism of control in America" [Jaylen] Brown admits that, when he was 14, “It wounds you. But when I got older and went to the University of California [Berkeley] I learnt about a more subtle racism and how it filters across our education system through tracking, hidden curriculums, social stratification and things I had no idea of before. I was really emotional – because one of the most subtle but aggressive ways racism exists is through our education system.”
posted by mecran01 (20 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for this.
posted by allthinky at 11:20 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


"If people didn’t have sports they would be a lot more disappointed with their role in society." Bread and circuses.
posted by kneecapped at 11:52 AM on January 10 [13 favorites]


Adding my thanks. I'm not into sports at all, but I'm pleased to have been introduced to this articulate, thoughtful young man.
posted by dendritejungle at 11:54 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Interesting young man. I hope he eventually goes back (after a successful career) and finishes his education, as it sounds like he'd really enjoy and take advantage of it.
posted by praemunire at 12:05 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Man I would love for some hard-driving sports reporter to drill down on the unnamed executive who pronounced him too smart for the NBA.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:06 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


his YouTube channel is here

more on the bias against him in the institution that claims he may be 'too smart' for the sport

Jaylen Brown, Intelligence, and Racial Bias
In the piece, an anonymous NBA assistant general manager is quoted as saying:

"He is an extremely intelligent kid. He took a graduate school class at Cal in his freshman year. He is a person who is inquisitive about everything. Because he is so smart, it might be intimidating to some teams. He wants to know why you are doing something instead of just doing it. I don't think it's bad, but it's a form of questioning authority. It's not malicious. He just wants to know what is going on. Old-school coaches don't want guys that question stuff."
posted by runt at 12:14 PM on January 10 [23 favorites]


Leave it to the Guardian to introduce me to one of the more impressive members of the next generation behind me.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 12:22 PM on January 10


Brown has that rare depth of insight which can really change things when it gets the chance.

Here's hoping.
posted by jamjam at 12:34 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


I hope Kareem Abdul Jabbar is reaching out to him.
posted by droplet at 12:43 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


My friend’s ex-husband has been lobbying her hard to force her son into sports, tho he’s alteady into reading, violin, school and ultimate frisbee (not a real sport). I like to think the next generation is even more aware than I was that organized sports are often used as safe-spaces for toxic masculinity. Certainly the sense of it informed my own aversion, but today’s kids have access to more info and language on the paradigm.
posted by es_de_bah at 12:48 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


I quit following the NBA back when Bird vs. Magic was still a thing. But I really enjoyed that article.
posted by COD at 1:11 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


"He is an extremely intelligent kid. He took a graduate school class at Cal in his freshman year. He is a person who is inquisitive about everything. Because he is so smart, it might be intimidating to some teams. He wants to know why you are doing something instead of just doing it. I don't think it's bad, but it's a form of questioning authority. It's not malicious. He just wants to know what is going on. Old-school coaches don't want guys that question stuff."

Ever since the kneeling controversy my dislike of the NFL's former coach commentators has really ramped up. I can't help but see them as authoritarian plantation overseers. Particularly Bill Cowher. And now they all have American Flag pins on their lapels.

If it were not for Tony Romo predicting and explaining what was going to happen and reviewing replays and saying " Beep, Bloop Doop" to describe juking runners and things like that I'd probably have quit watching football (or at least muted the sound).
posted by srboisvert at 1:28 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Jaylen Brown bringing the truth like a double-clutch SLAM DUNK!
posted by jeremias at 1:45 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


A quote from the article:
In his year at college, before pausing his degree to play in the NBA, Brown wrote a thesis about how institutionalised sport impacts on education. “I was super emotional reading about it,” he says of his chosen subject. “There’s this idea of America that some people have to win and some have to lose so certain things are in place to make this happen. Some people have to be the next legislators and political elites and some have to fill the prisons and work in McDonald’s. That’s how America works. It’s a machine which needs people up top, and people down low."
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:14 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


But when I got older and went to the University of California [Berkeley]

Look at it this way about American sport - I did a postdoc in UCD in Ireland and a postdoc in Berkeley. On the grand spectrum of US universities, Berkeley is a nerd college. UCD is 3/4 the size of Berkeley going by Wikipedia student numbers. UCD's stadium (the Belfield bowl) has 1500 seats + room for 1500 standing on grass. Berkeley's Memorial Stadium has had a capacity from 60k-80k over various refurbishments, in a city with a population of 120k. American college sport is nuts.
posted by kersplunk at 3:13 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


Berkeley's Memorial Stadium has had a capacity from 60k-80k over various refurbishments, in a city with a population of 120k. American college sport is nuts.

Come on. "Berkeley," although technically an independent city of its own, is actually a small, arbitrary slice of the California Bay Area metropolis, which has a population of 7 million. This is like suggesting that UK tennis is nuts because the population of Wimbledon, England is only 70k but the stadium can hold 15,000 fans. The University of California is the premier public college for Northern California and it's no surprise a lot of people like to come to the games.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:09 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


That's a great article. I never liked him much (or the Celtics) but I do now. I went through many of those same emotions learning just how much I got lied to by people I loved and trusted. I learned so much about race and society. In his statements you can see some of the contradictions and unfinished thoughts. I love that he had that awakening and is watching it open more and more.
posted by cashman at 6:10 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


He is an impressive young man. I look forward to seeing what he does in the future.

Racism and slavery are this country's founding flaws, and I wonder if we will ever get it out of our system.
posted by corvikate at 8:00 AM on January 11


Here's a copy of the DFW commencement speech where the fish in water story comes from. It's very good.
posted by exogenous at 8:55 AM on January 11


Adding a second comment since I'm too late to edit: my thanks to the MeFite who gently and privately (and correctly) pointed out that my use of "articulate" was...not great. Apologies, and I'll endeavour to do better in the future.

Here's an article they kindly forwarded explaining why it's problematic if anyone isn't aware or is curious. I found it eye-opening.
posted by dendritejungle at 9:33 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


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