February 13, 2002

White like Me: We White Guys have faced it. We're wack at most everything. Basically the only thing we dominate now is stuff black people don't have the right clothes to try -- lumberjack contests and luge. But we shred documents like nobody's damn business!

posted by justgary to culture at 12:26 AM - 5 comments

You know, growing up I played basketball almost daily. Living in the inner-city, I was usually the only white guy on the court. I wasn't bad, and heard I was 'pretty good for a white guy' more times than I could count. I always took it as a compliment. Now I wonder... ...should I have been offended?

posted by justgary at 12:29 AM on February 13

Like Jeffrey Dahmer always said: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but a meat cleaver will cut your head off".

posted by Mack Twain at 01:13 AM on February 13

Probably. My best friend is asian (Vietnamese). In basketball, because of his size and race, he gets picked last. Of course, he's a great outside shooter and when given the choice is a first round pick by me. As a big black guy, I get picked first in football to be on the d-line or o-line. I can play neither position. (although when you need the rock busted through 3-4yds, I'm your gent to carry it).

posted by owillis at 01:14 AM on February 13

I lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a couple of years, and I occasionally played pickup basketball at one of the parks. It was mainly black guys who were the regulars and a couple of white guys (like me) who dropped in. The regulars would let anyone play, but if a white guy made one mistake--made a bad pass, missed an open shot, whatever--he'd never see the ball again the rest of the game. The thing is, even though I'm built more for O-line or D-line and I've never played basketball regularly, at the time I could knock down an NBA three-pointer pretty consistently. I just didn't get the chance that often. It never really bothered me, though, it's just how it was. Reilly's point in the article that prominent black athletes commonly make stereotypical comments about white players that would be incredibly offensive if the roles were reversed is theoretically valid, but when you consider American history and the ongoing racial stereotyping of black athletes, it's hard to get worked up about the hurt feelings of white guys.

posted by kirkaracha at 02:04 AM on February 13

I agree, and I don't think of the two as comparable at all. I always took 'pretty good for a white boy' as a compliment, as that was what it was meant. I think it just shows how ingrained generalizations are.

posted by justgary at 01:55 AM on February 14

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