Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Masters and Ethnicity

Sports reporters are the last guys you would look to for profound social commentary, though they can hit it inadvertently.
I love the Masters - there is a combination of religiosity combined with meritocracy that feeds the whole event, despite the southern gentlemen behind the hosting at Augusta National.
But I am watching today, and there is commentary that asks whether, maybe Shingo Katayama might be the first Asian to win the tournament if he has a good day tomorrow.
Half of me has WTF bells ringing off into his brain? I had thought we at least had an ethnically Asian guy who has won more than once!
Of course this is all wildly dependent on slightly incoherent, though not unreasonable, classifications that have to do with past interbreeding in one's family.
American history means for some bizarre reason we classify the mostly Asian (but REALLY wildly mixed) Woods as black, and the current President as Black (and nobody has applied the resources to sorting out his background as has been done with Tiger).
There is no conceivably intellectual honesty behind this.
And in fact 'Black' and 'Asian' are not really ethnic notions I consider too seriously.
But how do we make sense of the focus on Katayama? Asian-born? What about armed forces children who might have been born in Japan or Korea? Do they count? (John McCain, though not for Asia, would fall into that.)
What about Andrew Kim, for a couple of years now one of the best US golfers? The surname should speak a bit - I do not know the whole story.
When golf was a totally white-bread sport, I can see why there would be excitement. But an ethnic Asian, by any reasonable definition, has won the Masters more than once. So shut up.
P.S. Woods is going to tear you classifiers to shreds with his current and forthcoming kids. Mix his mix with us Scandinavians and all hell breaks loose! :-)
Ooppss - my 'us' is the famous 'Scots-Irish' of the last while, though I think Tiger's wife is likely not so corrupted.


At 2:36 AM, Blogger Steve Sailer said...

If you look at Tiger with the thought in mind that he's 1/4 Thai (and half Asian), then, all of sudden -- sure enough -- he looks Thai (assuming he doesn't take his hat off and show you his hair, but there's less and less hair up there each year.) It's kind of like the "gestalt" effect in psychology where you look at the picture that's either a vase or two profiles talking -- you can talk yourself into making it look like either one.


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