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BeautyVenus
07-24-2006, 12:40 PM
The UK Observer

By Gaby Wood


So why, I ask, is he being compared to Arthur Ashe, rather than being called the next Jim Courier? Is the comparison in itself racist? 'I don't think it's racist,' Blake says, 'I think it's an absolute honour. To be compared to [Ashe] as a tennis player is pretty impressive, but to be compared to him as a person is just incredible. Everything he did, and all the fame and fortune he gained, and even his fatal disease, he found a way of using that to help others. One day, I'd like to feel that I deserved to be put in the same sentence as him, but I feel like I've got a long way to go.'

Ashe said that race was the biggest burden he'd had to bear. Has that been true for Blake? 'Well, luckily there have been people like him to help change it, so I think it has gotten a lot better. I think there are still people who don't realise that it does affect your life to a pretty serious degree. I do my best to not worry about it. I learnt to play tennis at the Harlem junior tennis programme, which is 95 per cent African American probably. Then I went to school in Connecticut , where 95 per cent of my school was white. I had great friends in both places, so I was able to look past it and not think twice about it. Now I've realised it's not always that simple, unfortunately.'

Arnold Rampersad is the professor of African American literature at Stanford University and co-author of Ashe's memoir. He thinks 'there is something questionable about calling Blake the next Ashe. Black players are always compared to other black players, even when they much more resemble white players. I don't see much comparison between the two games [Blake's and Ashe's], though Ashe has emerged, 10 years after his death, and even in his lifetime, as the epitome of some kind of gentleman athlete.'

Blake, with his Harvard education, may be compared to that but, Rampersad thinks, there is a deeper reason why the comparison is misplaced. 'There's not the same occasion for Blake to be Arthur Ashe, because of the period of civil rights. To talk about Blake in terms of Ashe is slightly off-kilter, because while discrimination still exists, it's not the same at all. Blake has a much easier road to hoe, as they say.'

Rampersad wonders more generally though: 'Why hasn't there been an African American male tennis player of the status of Ashe, or better than Ashe? It's said that tennis is a white middle class sport, and it is but it's still odd that no one has surfaced, because there's a sizeable middle-class black population in this country.'

That is now changing. 'Before I got a little better known,' Blake tells me, 'people would see me walking around with my tennis racket and the first question any African American would ask me is: "Hey, do you know Serena? Have you ever played Serena? Can you hook me up with her?" I think that's great, because you know they're not tennis fans. And that's what I strive to do - to get more people to watch tennis, to turn people into tennis fans.'

In terms of race, Rampersad believes that tennis is 'a very important sport'. It is, he says, like when Jackie Robinson became the first black player to break into major league baseball: 'baseball is so significant in the American male psyche, and in another sport it may not have been so significant.'

Blake wants tennis to be more like baseball. 'I think it's still a little tough with all the rules, you know, having to be quiet and everything. I'd rather see more personality in the crowds - baseball players can deal with 60,000 people screaming while they're trying to hit a 95mph fast ball - I don't see why we can't. I think it's just tradition that's holding us back.'

alienhamster
07-24-2006, 01:04 PM
Interesting article.

About the race question: I do remember in an article about Donald Young that he said he was often called a f@g or a sissy or whatever slurs because he chose to play tennis. My impression was that in many African American communities, tennis has been seen as a p-u-s-s-y sport for men. Serena and Venus have surely opened the racial door to the sport more, but I do think that gender still plays a pretty prominent role in the "why are there so few male black tennis players?" problem. (I am assuming here that this is indeed a problem.)

Maybe Blake's success can help with that.

Moose Malloy
07-24-2006, 01:12 PM
Black players are always compared to other black players, even when they much more resemble white players.

Its the same in other sports. Notice how white nba players are always compared to other white players? a great white shooter (even if he's european) is compared to larry bird. yet ray allen types are not.

I'd rather see more personality in the crowds - baseball players can deal with 60,000 people screaming while they're trying to hit a 95mph fast ball - I don't see why we can't. I think it's just tradition that's holding us back.'

I think this is near the top of reasons "why tennis isn't more popular in the us."
I can never come up with a good reason when non tennis fans ask me about this. And hitting a tennis ball isn't harder to do than any other sport, concentration wise.
When you go to a sporting event, you want to have fun, not feel like you are in church.

My impression was that in many African American communities, tennis has been seen as a p-u-s-s-y sport for men.

I think that's the pretty much the case in US, period not just African American communities. You have to admit, it is rather ***** compared to NFL, MLB, NBA. No contact, no risk of serious injury, requires less pure atheticism, strength, etc. You look at Roger Federer, possibly the best ever, & you look at any RB, WR, guard, shortstop & his athleticism looks rather ordinary. The best tennis players in the world couldn't be benchwarmers on any pro sports team in the US.

35ft6
07-24-2006, 01:13 PM
^ A white boy who figure skates or does ballet would probably be teased in the same way by his white classmates.

35ft6
07-24-2006, 01:15 PM
I think this is near the top of reasons "why tennis isn't more popular in the us."
I can never come up with a good reason when non tennis fans ask me about this. Well, conventional wisdom on this has always been that tennis players need to hear the sound of the ball coming off the racket in order to know how much and what type of spin is on the shot.

The ball was in
07-24-2006, 01:19 PM
Interesting article.

About the race question: I do remember in an article about Donald Young that he said he was often called a f@g or a sissy or whatever slurs because he chose to play tennis. My impression was that in many African American communities, tennis has been seen as a p-u-s-s-y sport for men. Serena and Venus have surely opened the racial door to the sport more, but I do think that gender still plays a pretty prominent role in the "why are there so few male black tennis players?" problem. (I am assuming here that this is indeed a problem.)

Maybe Blake's success can help with that.

With regards to the statement of too few black players, tennis, in the UK, is still seen as an elitest sport...had i not been fortunate enough to live in the Philippines and learn the sport of tennis during my teen years I would've continued to play football (soccer) and cricket!! Purely for the reason that tennis in the UK is expensive....and to be honest there are not many 'other' races in the club with which I currently belong too...until tennis is made or is more for the masses then it is a game in which few afro-americans will play especially with other sports like basketball, baseball and American football being more accessible.

I guess the same could be said for Tiger Woods and bringing the game of golf to the masses too proving that it isn't a white domintated sport....but that will be going off topic so will end that thought

Tchocky
07-24-2006, 01:19 PM
Unfortunately, we do not live in a color blind society. No matter how hard one tries...it is impossible not to notice the color of one's skin. Hopefully, we are not foolish enought to judge someone solely on the basis of their skin color.

35ft6
07-24-2006, 01:26 PM
^ The unfortunate thing is that the stereotypes are so powerful that most people don't "judge" in the sense that intelligence and rationality prevails when a group of black teens comes walking towards you on a dark street, or for a black teen, a group of white guys in a pick up truck start driving behind you on an otherwise empty country road. Or something.

The tennis guy
07-24-2006, 01:27 PM
I think this is near the top of reasons "why tennis isn't more popular in the us."
I can never come up with a good reason when non tennis fans ask me about this. And hitting a tennis ball isn't harder to do than any other sport, concentration wise. When you go to a sporting event, you want to have fun, not feel like you are in church.



Tennis is not one hit only like baseball. If tennis become baseball crowd wise, I'd rather see tennis not popular in US at all. Tennis is individual sports, shouldn't be like team sports.

skip1969
07-24-2006, 01:43 PM
there are so many sports for a young kid to choose from . . . and tennis equipment costs are an issue, i think. but, most importantly, i think the sport as a whole has it's "reputation" to contend with, and that is a huge hurdle.

sure, many people still might consider it "elitist" or "middle-class" or "white." but i think more importantly, tennis jocks don't have the "rep" that other jocks have. even when the top player is someone hip like an agassi . . . he's still not nearly as "cool' as the best professional basketball, football, or baseball star. and that counts a lot for kids, who want to be cool, and play a cool sport. they want to be considerd "tough" and play a "man's" game. and tennis still has that "soft" label attached to it (which obviously i don't agree with). public opinion plays a part in labeling tennis as a "sissy" sport.

i'm speaking of little boys, mostly (since the discussion turned towards why tennis isn't so popular (among blacks, or anyone else for that matter). the stereotypes that hold true for mainstream american culture, hold doubly true for blacks and minorities. i mean, oftentimes, if you are a minority in america and you go to private school, or to university . . . if you speak english too properly or whatever . . . you are labelled as "whitey" or a "sell-out" of some sort. which makes a sport like tennis even less appealing.

strictly speaking from a sports point of view, think with little girls it's a different story. historically, they have had fewer choices to make (in terms of picking a sport to earn a living). i don't think the "cool" factor enters into it as much. and even if it did, women's tennis (since the open era) has been one of the (if not the) only venues where women could travel, play professionally, and make a nice living, gain some fame . . . so for girls, the decision to pick up tennis as a sport seems like a much more appealing idea.

alan-n
07-24-2006, 01:51 PM
Tennis is a skill sport, it takes more skill overall to hit the ball repeatedly and place it well vs Baseball where you have plenty of time to prepare before hand for that pitch.

If tennis needs to stoop to the level of yelling obscenities at players to distract them, yeah really I'd rather see the sport die or not be popular in the US.

Ask Tiger Woods if he'd be able to perform the way he does if someone in the crowd standing near him were yelling obscenities and snapping pictures. Freedom of speech is one thing, making an *** out of the sport is another.

Moose Malloy
07-24-2006, 02:13 PM
Tennis is a skill sport, it takes more skill overall to hit the ball repeatedly and place it well vs Baseball where you have plenty of time to prepare before hand for that pitch.

Hitting a baseball is much harder. Less time to react, smaller bat, harder ball(which can kill or seriously injure you, a lot to think about while batting) Plus you have quite a few players covering the field, not easy to get a hit.
Thats' why .300 hitters are considered among the best players. Imagine a tennis player getting only 30% of returns in play. They would be considered pretty bad.

If tennis needs to stoop to the level of yelling obscenities at players to distract them, yeah really I'd rather see the sport die or not be popular in the US.


Not all sports have fans yelling obscenities. They are a minority & can be ejected for that. Most fans at team sports are well-behaved. I don't think booing is dispicable behavior. Nor is cheering. Fans that cheer a double fault are tarred & feathered at some events. The standards for tennis fans are a bit absurd. Fans seem afraid to get involved, because you wouldn't want to offend anyone.

Its funny to see you and tennis guy say you'd rather see the sport not be popular/die than change. Typical of the elitist, snob label that tennis has always had. The sport has changed less than any other sport in the last century, not sure how you keep fans or bring in new ones that way.

The tennis guy
07-24-2006, 02:18 PM
Its funny to see you and tennis guy say you'd rather see the sport not be popular/die than change. Typical of the elitist, snob label that tennis has always had. The sport has changed less than any other sport in the last century, not sure how you keep fans or bring in new ones that way.

I don't think tennis is elitist anymore. I traveled the world, and watch tennis becomes more popular in anywhere else in the world, just not US. I just don't agree with the gimmick aimed at attracting US audience only, and make it similar to team sport events in US. To me, that's elitist US centered policy for a global sports.

atatu
07-24-2006, 02:27 PM
[QUOTE=Moose Malloy]Hitting a baseball is much harder. Less time to react, smaller bat, harder ball(which can kill or seriously injure you, a lot to think about while batting) Plus you have quite a few players covering the field, not easy to get a hit.

Hitting a baseball is harder than hitting a tennis ball, but the earlier statement that baseball players are better athletes is questionable. I think I'd take Roddick over David Wells in most athletic contests.

skip1969
07-24-2006, 02:42 PM
i think it's silly to argue about which sport is more difficult, or which athletes are more . . . athletic. all sports require skill, let's take that as a given. and to excel at the highest level of any sport requires immense skill.

moose is right that tennis has to adapt to survive. but i agree with tennis guy that the sport shouldn't just try to cater to us audiences with silly gimmicks. what i love about tennis is that it is international. it shouldn't need to be at the mercy of the ever-fickle, american market in order to survive.

alan-n
07-24-2006, 02:55 PM
Its funny to see you and tennis guy say you'd rather see the sport not be popular/die than change. Typical of the elitist, snob label that tennis has always had. The sport has changed less than any other sport in the last century, not sure how you keep fans or bring in new ones that way.

Its quite simple, I just don't observe tennis but play it. Why should the game change to suit NBA/MLB/NFL audience? To entertain NASCAR and WWF masses that it takes to be popular in the US? Making the game popular to EVERYONE doesn't work, has nothing to do with snob appeal, it just simply doesn't work and thats how societies work anywhere. Change for the better is one thing, example addition of cyclops line calling or shot spot, keeping balls, etc. As long as Tennis is supported by people that play it as recreation than it can sustain itself because there are plenty of people that appreciate the game and its etiquette.

You may find Tennis etiquette odd, and for me I find the "sport" of NASCAR very odd. The fact that drivers can bump each other out of the race, often times the winner of the race is the one that wasn't involved in a crash. Fistacuffs in pit alley when they should be arrested for assault... but hey to each their own.

Bogie
07-24-2006, 03:01 PM
compare the size of a baseball field or a football field to the size of a tennis court. now imagine a seating 60,000+ people around a tennis court which is about 6 or 7 times smaller than a football field or a baseball field. do you really think that the people in the back rows would even see the players, im not even gonna start on seeing the ball being hit from each player b/c that would literally be impossible to keep track of. even the people in the last row of arthur ashe stadium have a hard time seeing what's going on.

as for tennis players not being such amazing athletes as the american sports stars as moose said. your right, there no way you can compared a pu.ssy out of shape athlete such as, oh i dont know..........
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Nadal1336/71379469.jpg

to world class displays of athleticism such as these
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Nadal1336/641570.jpg
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Nadal1336/52281805.jpg

truth is, put any american sports star on a tennis court and they'll die before they reach the 5th set. sure, theyre strong, but they wouldnt last a single 5 set match. this isnt baseball or football where you can substitute a tired player for a pinch hitter or whatnot, and you dont get half an hour brakes between defense/offense changes or between batting. in reality, tennis is 10x more demanding than any baseball or football game could ever be.

alan-n
07-24-2006, 03:08 PM
Yeah and lets not forget that after a team loss, you can blame your mistakes and loss on your team mates. Thats what they are there for right? Doesn't work that way in Golf or Tennis, your mistakes are plain for all to see.

skip1969
07-24-2006, 03:11 PM
i quote myself:

i think it's silly to argue about which sport is more difficult, or which athletes are more . . . athletic. all sports require skill, let's take that as a given. and to excel at the highest level of any sport requires immense skill.

alan-n
07-24-2006, 03:14 PM
Yeah, they require more immense skill (not just physical, but mental).... some sports more than others. Thats just a fact.

PBODY99
07-24-2006, 04:09 PM
Strange turn this thread has taken. No, Blake isn't like Ashe, he came up in an entirely different tennis world. The USLTA wasn't the nicest place to try to play if you didn't look quite 100% white, in the 1960 and early 1970's, let alone earlier, in the US as a whole. Everyone has allways been welcome at an American Tennis Association event< the Nationals are currently happening in San Deigo, CA>
The childern of the Tennis Boom found that they were allowed in tournaments by the USTA and a few parents were able to guide the Rodney Harmons, Chip Hoopers, Mal Washington and other young men of color to fairly high levels in this sport. True the barriers to playing the game are not just a matter of dollars & sense <not a typo> but the type of other options you have.:cool:

alienhamster
07-25-2006, 01:03 PM
i quote myself: oh, Skip, you're so quotable! You're like your own lil Walt Whitman there . . .

(Also just wanted to bump this thread back up top. This is one of the more thought-filled/less stupid-filled threads of late.)

alienhamster
07-25-2006, 01:05 PM
Strange turn this thread has taken. No, Blake isn't like Ashe, he came up in an entirely different tennis world. The USLTA wasn't the nicest place to try to play if you didn't look quite 100% white, in the 1960 and early 1970's, let alone earlier, in the US as a whole. Everyone has allways been welcome at an American Tennis Association event< the Nationals are currently happening in San Deigo, CA>
The childern of the Tennis Boom found that they were allowed in tournaments by the USTA and a few parents were able to guide the Rodney Harmons, Chip Hoopers, Mal Washington and other young men of color to fairly high levels in this sport. True the barriers to playing the game are not just a matter of dollars & sense <not a typo> but the type of other options you have.:cool: I really don't want to leave gender out of this. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I do feel like more and more African American women are breaking into the sport. Am I wrong in that estimation?

mileslong
07-25-2006, 03:25 PM
im always curious why any mixed race athlete (black and any other race) is always considered black. why are these black groups concerned with james blake and tiger woods and their relationships with the black community and black issues? james is not african american he is mixed race and/or multi cultural like tiger woods. and most of all they are human and then american.

leave race out of it, who cares? they are both great guys, a credit to all the races they represent and the country they represent.

OrangeOne
07-25-2006, 03:58 PM
im always curious why any mixed race athlete (black and any other race) is always considered black. why are these black groups concerned with james blake and tiger woods and their relationships with the black community and black issues? james is not african american he is mixed race and/or multi cultural like tiger woods. and most of all they are human and then american.

leave race out of it, who cares? they are both great guys, a credit to all the races they represent and the country they represent.

I'm always curious about people "representing countries". I mean - tennis and golf and individual sports. When tiger, blake, whoever, step out on to a course / court for anything that doesn't involve national selection (so pretty much everything other than a Davis Cup or the Olympics), they're playing for themselves. Not their country. It's interesting sports seem to make a bigger deal out of nationality than it seems to deserve. I find this especially bizarre when players have done the bulk of their junior training away from home, too.

Shabazza
07-25-2006, 04:09 PM
im always curious why any mixed race athlete (black and any other race) is always considered black. why are these black groups concerned with james blake and tiger woods and their relationships with the black community and black issues? james is not african american he is mixed race and/or multi cultural like tiger woods. and most of all they are human and then american.

leave race out of it, who cares? they are both great guys, a credit to all the races they represent and the country they represent.
to answer with a quote from Tchokey:
Unfortunately, we do not live in a color blind society. No matter how hard one tries...it is impossible not to notice the color of one's skin. Hopefully, we are not foolish enought to judge someone solely on the basis of their skin color.
Unfortunately many people (including BeautyVenus) see first and foremost the skin color of a person of which they have a preconceived opinion of how someone with this skin color should behave. Many people don't question their preconception or their cut and dried opinions and expect the person to act according to what they expect!

alienhamster
07-25-2006, 11:32 PM
Well, look, isn't it also a bit riduculous to pretend like race/color doesn't matter, when it clearly does in terms of one's perception in society? And when you're talking identity politics, you have to acknowledge that people of specific nationalities, ethnicities, classes, races, genders, sexual orientations, etc. DO think these things matter (maybe simply as a way of relating to a player).

Hell, people elect their president often based solely on things like this. (I'm not talking about whether or not this SHOULD matter. That's a different argument.)

And people on these boards certainly back players from their nation or socio-economic class all the time, but I rarely see anyone question these self-identifications.

So why are people so loath to acknowledge that race probably is a big concern among fans of the game? If young black males identify with Blake or Monfils or Donald Yound or Scoville Jenkins (because of their race and gender), and it spurs them on to get into the game in the future, why fault them? I do think stuff like this happens, though not often on a conscious level. The more black players there are, the less the sport will SEEM white. And I think that's a good thing.

skip1969
07-27-2006, 01:06 PM
i'm bringin this back, just for you alienhamster.

ok, i understand this: "The more black players there are, the less the sport will SEEM white. And I think that's a good thing."

i guess when you see an arena (sport or otherwise) where the people seem like you, whether it's that they look like you or talk like you or whatever, then it might make you more receptive or comfortable. cool.

there's nothing wrong with looking for someone to identify with. but to me, color seems to be a pretty lame reason. i mean, the fact that people may look similar is hardly enough to lump them all together. what do blake, monfils, young, and jenkins have in common, except that they ain't white. in truth, they are probably more dissimilar than similar.

alienhamster
07-27-2006, 01:17 PM
i'm bringin this back, just for you alienhamster.

ok, i understand this: "The more black players there are, the less the sport will SEEM white. And I think that's a good thing."

i guess when you see an arena (sport or otherwise) where the people seem like you, whether it's that they look like you or talk like you or whatever, then it might make you more receptive or comfortable. cool.

there's nothing wrong with looking for someone to identify with. but to me, color seems to be a pretty lame reason. i mean, the fact that people may look similar is hardly enough to lump them all together. what do blake, monfils, young, and jenkins have in common, except that they ain't white. in truth, they are probably more dissimilar than similar. Thanks, Skip. I wish more people would weigh in on this thread since it's actually interesting and socially relevant.

You know, I do know what you mean about "race" seeming like a cheap reason for trying to attract people to a sport. But I guess I'm equal opportunity about all these self-identifications. It's just as annoying to me to see tennis being marketed to higher class folk (like that ridiculous diamond studded tennis raquet that's on tour at the US Open series this summer), or NASCAR always being marketed as your good ole boy, rural America, lower class sport. Why not foreground the dynamics and particular character of THE GAME ITSELF to turn people onto it? (I am assuming that NASCAR is a sport here, so just work with me.)

I fear that, sadly, tennis won't ever appeal to people as much without acknowleding and foregrounding its social dimensions.

Shabazza
07-27-2006, 01:52 PM
Well, look, isn't it also a bit riduculous to pretend like race/color doesn't matter, when it clearly does in terms of one's perception in society? And when you're talking identity politics, you have to acknowledge that people of specific nationalities, ethnicities, classes, races, genders, sexual orientations, etc. DO think these things matter (maybe simply as a way of relating to a player).

Hell, people elect their president often based solely on things like this. (I'm not talking about whether or not this SHOULD matter. That's a different argument.)

And people on these boards certainly back players from their nation or socio-economic class all the time, but I rarely see anyone question these self-identifications.

So why are people so loath to acknowledge that race probably is a big concern among fans of the game? If young black males identify with Blake or Monfils or Donald Yound or Scoville Jenkins (because of their race and gender), and it spurs them on to get into the game in the future, why fault them? I do think stuff like this happens, though not often on a conscious level. The more black players there are, the less the sport will SEEM white. And I think that's a good thing.
Sorry, I didn't saw your post or I would have answered sooner. ;)
I'm well aware that most people look at the skin color first, cause you can't really ignore it if you're not blind. The human is visual, it's one of our main senses. But realizing someone isn't the same as you and judging them solely on this fact is just sad and vice versa. I mean, as skip mentioned already, just because someone has the same skin color doesn't mean he's the same as you and raised the same way as you with the same values!
Well, maybe it's a good thing for some kids and they need people who they can identify themselves with by the same origin. Someone they can look up to - like Ashe was for many black americans. I don't know. It certainly doesn't hurt tennis to see more nationalities and being more "colorfull" - but I still don't have to like the reasoning behind it.
For me it never was the main criteria if a player is from my country or not or if a player is white or not..I mean I was rooting for Edberg and not Becker, when I was young, although he is from my country.
I like players like Federer, Guga, Blake, Baghdatis, Gasquet, Safin, Henman, Rafter, Ivanisevic, Rios etc. - the only german I favor is Haas (and he doesn't even live here lol). Nationality or race never was an issue for me - I was raised that it doesn't matter where you from, but who you are.

I just can't stand people who only see the color of someone and think: "Aha this person is black(white, yellow etc.) he must be like this and that." Regradless, if the prejudice is positive or negative.

Shabazza
07-27-2006, 01:54 PM
You know, I do know what you mean about "race" seeming like a cheap reason for trying to attract people to a sport. But I guess I'm equal opportunity about all these self-identifications. It's just as annoying to me to see tennis being marketed to higher class folk (like that ridiculous diamond studded tennis raquet that's on tour at the US Open series this summer), or NASCAR always being marketed as your good ole boy, rural America, lower class sport. Why not foreground the dynamics and particular character of THE GAME ITSELF to turn people onto it? (I am assuming that NASCAR is a sport here, so just work with me.)

I fear that, sadly, tennis won't ever appeal to people as much without acknowleding and foregrounding its social dimensions.
Sad but true.
Didn't see this post either. lol ;)

skip1969
07-27-2006, 01:55 PM
two quotes from that original article. one from blake: ". . . I think there are still people who don't realise that it does affect your life to a pretty serious degree. I do my best to not worry about it. I learnt to play tennis at the Harlem junior tennis programme, which is 95 per cent African American probably. Then I went to school in Connecticut , where 95 per cent of my school was white. I had great friends in both places, so I was able to look past it and not think twice about it. Now I've realised it's not always that simple, unfortunately."

and one from the standford professor: "'there is something questionable about calling Blake the next Ashe. Black players are always compared to other black players, even when they much more resemble white players. . ."

now, i don't like to get all deep and philosophical about a topic as complex as race (especially on a message board) but i think the quotes make a simple point. that race CAN effect your life, even when you try to be cool and ignore it. or when you try to look BEYOND it and live your own life the best way you know how. but that the burden of the race issue can be placed upon you anyway, and can limit you.

so a person like blake can't simply be a "tennis player" or "an american tennis player" . . . he has to be a "black american tennis player" regardless of his parentage, his family history, ethnic make-up, socio-econimic past, and all teh other dynamics that have gone into making him the person he is today. which i think is a shame, it does a disservice to a person to use the color of his skin as such an all-important indicator, such a defining factor.

i mean, it may be more accurate to say james blake is one of the most talented "middle-class american tennis players" of the open era, than one of the most talented "black american tennis players" of the open era. if you really want to label him, to begin with.

Shabazza
07-27-2006, 02:02 PM
two quotes from that original article. one from blake: ". . . I think there are still people who don't realise that it does affect your life to a pretty serious degree. I do my best to not worry about it. I learnt to play tennis at the Harlem junior tennis programme, which is 95 per cent African American probably. Then I went to school in Connecticut , where 95 per cent of my school was white. I had great friends in both places, so I was able to look past it and not think twice about it. Now I've realised it's not always that simple, unfortunately."

and one from the standford professor: "'there is something questionable about calling Blake the next Ashe. Black players are always compared to other black players, even when they much more resemble white players. . ."

now, i don't like to get all deep and philosophical about a topic as complex as race (especially on a message board) but i think the quotes make a simple point. that race CAN effect your life, even when you try to be cool and ignore it. or when you try to look BEYOND it and live your own life the best way you know how. but that the burden of the race issue can be placed upon you anyway, and can limit you.

so a person like blake can't simply be a "tennis player" or "an american tennis player" . . . he has to be a "black american tennis player" regardless of his parentage, his family history, ethnic make-up, socio-econimic past, and all teh other dynamics that have gone into making him the person he is today. which i think is a shame, it does a disservice to a person to use the color of his skin as such an all-important indicator, such a defining factor.

i mean, it may be more accurate to say james blake is one of the most talented "middle-class american tennis players" of the open era, than one of the most talented "black american tennis players" of the open era. if you really want to label him, to begin with.
And again a great post, even if I don't like what it implies.
I find it sad, if people like Blake are attacked if they don't act or live up to the lable they've been assigned to.

skip1969
07-27-2006, 02:07 PM
good post, shabazza.

i suppose the perfect scenario is for humanity to get to the point where the majority of people see beyond the surface of things, not everyone, since i think that is an impossibility. and we aren't going around looking to make a connection with other people who look JUST LIKE US. that way, you end up liking who you like, admiring who you admire, and identifying with people who you esteem for the qualities and the character they possess.

then a little blonde, blue-eyed kid can say he wants to be the next ronaldinho. and a little black kid can say she wants to be the next steffi graf. i mean, arthur ashe did it back in the day. it's not like he saw someone who looked like him winning wimbledon and said, "i want to be THAT guy." he simply knew he wanted to play tennis and win, just like the (white) guys he saw playing and winning trophies. he wasn't limited by color.

Shamo
07-27-2006, 03:00 PM
we should compare him to 2pac

Shabazza
07-27-2006, 04:44 PM
good post, shabazza.

i suppose the perfect scenario is for humanity to get to the point where the majority of people see beyond the surface of things, not everyone, since i think that is an impossibility. and we aren't going around looking to make a connection with other people who look JUST LIKE US. that way, you end up liking who you like, admiring who you admire, and identifying with people who you esteem for the qualities and the character they possess.

then a little blonde, blue-eyed kid can say he wants to be the next ronaldinho. and a little black kid can say she wants to be the next steffi graf. i mean, arthur ashe did it back in the day. it's not like he saw someone who looked like him winning wimbledon and said, "i want to be THAT guy." he simply knew he wanted to play tennis and win, just like the (white) guys he saw playing and winning trophies. he wasn't limited by color.
Couldn't have said it better myself! - It'll be a long way down the road to get there, though.

Exia
07-27-2006, 04:53 PM
i don't give a rats anal cavity about the race debate that has derailed this thread.

I will say this, has Blake won Wimbledon? will he ever win Wimbledon? NOT A CHANCE.

until then he is just as good as Tim henman who was also top 5 many eons ago....and look where he is now..

Shabazza
07-27-2006, 05:11 PM
i don't give a rats anal cavity about the race debate that has derailed this thread.

I will say this, has Blake won Wimbledon? will he ever win Wimbledon? NOT A CHANCE.

until then he is just as good as Tim henman who was also top 5 many eons ago....and look where he is now..
What does this have to do with anything stated in this thread?

If you want to bash Blake (or any other player for that matter) open a thread about him with the bold Letters as the thread title - and voila you'll have your bashing thread! It's common practice here.

PS: A warning! If you post this be aware that rather sooner than later Federer and Nadal will pop up and and your rant about Blake will be soon forgotten!

Shamo
07-27-2006, 05:15 PM
james blake is 2pac

after the operation now one saw that

west side! outlawz! outlawz!

Shabazza
07-27-2006, 05:21 PM
james blake is 2pac

after the operation now one saw that

west side! outlawz! outlawz!
Com'on, you can do better...;)

Exia
07-27-2006, 05:22 PM
blake iz da hoomie becuz hiz in da hood yo my brotha.

i put a cap in yo as5 if you be fresh with me!!

alienhamster
07-27-2006, 09:02 PM
blake iz da hoomie becuz hiz in da hood yo my brotha.

i put a cap in yo as5 if you be fresh with me!! I'm so glad you got this thread back on the right track. Pfft.

Nice thoughts Shab and Skip. And to think BeautyVenus started this thread!

Phil
07-27-2006, 09:08 PM
Tennis is a skill sport, it takes more skill overall to hit the ball repeatedly and place it well vs Baseball where you have plenty of time to prepare before hand for that pitch.

Obviously, you've never played baseball or you wouldn't have made such an ignorant statement.

Fee
07-27-2006, 09:43 PM
Well, on behalf of the mulatto tennis fans with English mothers and Black fathers (okay, so I'm the only one), all I can say is I like James Blake, both personally and professionally, and I don't give a flying feck if he lives up to someone else's label for him (someone who has probably never met JB anyway). He's a decent young man, he's fairly intelligent, he's human, and I like his tennis even if its not mind-boggling, history-making perfect.

Play on James. word.

SFrazeur
07-27-2006, 11:36 PM
A man should not be compared to another, because the two men coincidentally have similar skin

colour. Let me make this known: I do not believe in the differentiation of “races”. If you are going

to classify people under a “race” because of physical appearance, then you would have to

differentiate race by skin colour, but, by eye colour and natural hair color. If you go by this, than

I am a different “race” than my mother, my father and my sister. I do not have the same natural

hair colour as my mother. While, my hair colour is the same as my sisters, and my father, My eye

colour is different. So what am I? Am I; some sort of b****** child? I hope people realize how

stupid the idea of “race” is. Now, not to get all tree hugging, bong huffing, green-peace,

Cheech and Chong shirt wearing hippy, on you. About, how:we’re all one race man! The human

race! But, I want my children to be born in a world or at lest an America, where the days of race

differentiation are looked down upon. In the same way the days when women could not vote are

looked down on. Unfortunately, we are in this victimized society. Where some hang on dearly to

victimizations of the past. Some say, that they should be paid reparation, for the fact that their

great-great grandparents were enslaved. Or that Some should have reparations because, their

ancestors were treated badly because of their skin colour. I have ancestors that were Irish, I am

not demanding reparations because of the days of “Irish need not apply”. The Idea of race will

never go away until we let go of the past.

Exia
07-28-2006, 08:24 AM
Obviously, you've never played baseball or you wouldn't have made such an ignorant statement.

PHIL you ARE THE MOST IGNORANT PERSON ON THIS BOARD

skip1969
07-28-2006, 10:18 AM
i don't give a rats anal cavity about the race debate that has derailed this thread.
i'm not big on the whole "race" issue, to begin with. but . . . um . . . this thread is ABOUT race, just in case you didn't read the original post. the article singles out the blake/ashe comparison specifically in speaking generally about certain elements of race, racism, etc.

so, don't get your panties in a bunch. we ain't off topic.

Exia
07-28-2006, 10:20 AM
james blake iz da hommie yo!

jackson vile
07-28-2006, 11:00 AM
It is just more BS, different people are compared to be like different people at different times.

Now if Blake takes numberone they will say how Sampras like he is with his style.

I am tired of people whining, everyone has it hard in some regaurd or respect end of story.


I'll be damned if I am going to have an A-hole tell me that they had it harder than me, that they were poorer than me ect ect.

Because in life, there will always be someone better and someone worse no matter what.

I hate people that think just because you are white you have a great life, what a joke.

This is where you have very racist ignorant people spouting prapaganda.

It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with wealth.


When is the last time you saw some kid or family living in a run down trailer with 3rd geration cloths being treated with respect and kindness in returantes, banks, sporting events, or any where else where people convine?


No where! If you are poor and look like it you are instantly treated badly/less than those that look new and with wealth.


So all these whiney racist people can go f themselves

Dedans Penthouse
07-28-2006, 12:57 PM
blake iz da hoomie becuz hiz in da hood yo my brotha.

i put a cap in yo as5 if you be fresh with me!!
Wow Exia, you are so......so fly!

Stupid little "wannabe" cracker.

Marat Safinator
07-29-2006, 04:38 PM
PHIL you ARE THE MOST IGNORANT PERSON ON THIS BOARD

exactly right

SFrazeur
07-29-2006, 04:57 PM
PHIL you ARE THE MOST IGNORANT PERSON ON THIS BOARD

exactly right

If not the most, he's the first of them to jump.

Polvorin
07-30-2006, 04:34 AM
You have to admit, it is rather ***** compared to NFL, MLB, NBA. No contact, no risk of serious injury, requires less pure atheticism, strength, etc. You look at Roger Federer, possibly the best ever, & you look at any RB, WR, guard, shortstop & his athleticism looks rather ordinary. The best tennis players in the world couldn't be benchwarmers on any pro sports team in the US.

I think you have confused "pure athleticism" for "amount of steroids and muscles."

Tennis players plagued with injuries probably as often as any other sport aside from (American) football.

I believe the best athletes are without a doubt SOCCER players, followed by basketball and tennis. It's just an opinion though.

Polvorin
07-30-2006, 04:46 AM
there no way you can compared a pu.ssy out of shape athlete such as, oh i dont know..........
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Nadal1336/71379469.jpg

to world class displays of athleticism such as these
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Nadal1336/641570.jpg
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Nadal1336/52281805.jpg

truth is, put any american sports star on a tennis court and they'll die before they reach the 5th set. sure, theyre strong, but they wouldnt last a single 5 set match. this isnt baseball or football where you can substitute a tired player for a pinch hitter or whatnot, and you dont get half an hour brakes between defense/offense changes or between batting. in reality, tennis is 10x more demanding than any baseball or football game could ever be.

AHAHAH! ROFL! This is the best post ever! Bogie, you're my new hero.

bluegrasser
07-30-2006, 06:43 AM
Obviously, you've never played baseball or you wouldn't have made such an ignorant statement.

Ditto _ I played on a championship city ' Little League ' team and couldn't hit worth a sh#t, that has to be the hardest thing in sport to do.