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May 12, 1989 - Image 7

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-05-12

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PERSPECTIVES

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Challenging stereotypes of Black athletes

Tempie Brown, a starter on the
Michigan Women's Basketball
Team, is considered one of the top
guards in the Big Ten. Known for
her scoring and playmaking talents,
Brown was a pre-season All-Big Ten
selection last season. Brown is also
respected for her leadership abilities,
which earned her the position of
team captain.
Brown in the following discussion
with Daily Sports Editor Adam
Benson, responded to many of the
issues brought up in the recent NBC
News Special "Black Athletes" as
well as the letter from The Football
News Editor Roger Stanton, which
referred to Black athletes as "lazy".
Stanton later retracted his state-
ments, after receiving pressure from
the National Association for the Ad-
vancement of Colored People, and
the football and basketball players
unions.
The following are Brown's re-
sponses:
In reference to the stereotyping of
Black athletes having it easier or

that they do not work hard, I would statement because I am the only
have to disagree. I do not feel I have athlete in my family. Since we are
it easier on the court. There is no all Black then I guess that would
special trait I have that makes me make me abnormal. Or maybe they
any better than anyone else. When are. I would also have to disagree
the game is easy to me it is because because I know many white athletes
who are more skillful than I am.
The reason why I think people
make statements that Blacks have
some kind of inherent ability that
whites do not, is that these people
have some deep racist attitudes. Such
racism degrades the minority race. In
attacking Blacks, Stanton is attack-
ing an area where Blacks succeed and
invalidating their ability. It is as if
people are intimidated by the high
number of Blacks in sports.
When looking at professional
sports, the high number of Black
athletes is due to the long history of
"favoritism" towards the Black ath-
lete. This is an attitude that has ex-
isted for years. In grade school the
Tempie Brown Black kid is chosen for all the teams,
and this type of choosing goes on
of hours of practice. I would also throughout the person's whole ca-
have to disagree with the previous reer. I say choice because it is the

college coaches and professional It bothers me when people say I
scouts who chooses the athlete. If am a better athlete because I am
the recruiter is socialized to think Black because they are finding some
that "Black" equals "better athlete", explanation for a talent that I have
then that is what the recruiter will worked on. People do not stop at
go after. So the problem that exists saying Black athletes are superior,
they continue in saying that with
high athletic ability comes low
motivation, effort, concentration and
'People do not stOp at dedication. It is almost like being
Saying Black athletes referred to as some type of animal. I
esuperior,tcan remember trying out for a sum-
are p they COn- mer team and the coach and players
tinue in saying that with making racial remarks. I am not one
high athletic ability of great speed and when we were do-
ing sprints and I was not first they
comes low motivation, thought I was loafing. The players
effort, concentration took great pride in "being faster than
and dedication. It is al- a Black player".

most like being re-
ferred to as some type
of animal.'
today is actually a result of the atti-
tudes of yesterday.

It makes me angry that people au-
tomatically associate some trait to
me just because I am Black. It is
great to be regarded as a good athlete
but others need to realize it comes
from hard work and determination,
not from the race into which I was
born.

An interview with Don Coleman:
Building with the voiceless of El Salvador

Don Coleman, co-director of the
Guild House Campus Ministry, re-
cently returned from a trip through
Central America as part of a car car-
avan carrying humanitarian aid to the
people of El Salvador. The follow-
ing interview was conducted with
opinion page staffer Bill Gladstone.
Michigan Daily: Don, you just
got back from the Salvadoran border
traveling with a caravan of fifty
people and eighteen vehicles. How
did you decide to make such a trip?
Don Coleman: Raul and Valeria
Gonzales (and their two children) are
Salvadoran refugees in Sanctuary at
St. Rita's church in Detroit. I got to
know them working on programs
related to the Sanctuary Movement
and Central American issues. Raul
asked me to drive one of the trucks
and to participate in the Caravan.
Ann Marie, my wife and Co-Director
at Guild House, encouraged me to
go. Guild House Campus Ministry
has worked on Central American is-
sues over the years so it seemed like
a natural extension of my personal
interests and the Guild House Min-
istry.
MD: Tell us more about the
project.
DC: The Caravan to El Salvador
is a project of an organization called
Building With The Voiceless Of El
Salvador. It is a project that raised

money and material aid for the poor felt very special to me to be the
of El Salvador. The earthquake of emissary for such generous people
October 10, 1986 left 1,500 dead, contributing to the needy of another
10,000 injured and 500,000 home- country.
less. It destroyed schools, health fa- MD: What was the itinerary for
cilities and the neighborhoods where the caravan?
the poorest live. These are the peo- DC: Well, there were three start-
ple for whom we collected aid. Our ing points in the United States: New
project was to help distribute the aid England in the East, Detroit in the
to the communities in need and to middle and Washington State/ Van-
deliver vehicles for their use. couver in the West. The supplies
MD: How much was collected? were collected and loaded on trucks
DC: Three million dollars worth. as the Caravan moved across the
Most of it was medical aid - some country. They were unloaded on a
educational materials. And we deliv- ship in Houston and shipped to
ered 14 of the trucks we drove to the Guatemala and put on commercial
border. trucks to be delivered to San Sal-
MD: Three million dollars!! vador. It was the intention of the
That's a lot of money and material fifty members of the Caravan to
aid. drive the vehicles to San Salvador
DC: Yes it is. One of the things where we'd meet and distribute the
that impressed me as we stopped aid.
along the way was how generous It took us five days to drive from
people are when they know the needs San Antonio, Texas across Mexico
of people and are given a way to and Guatemala. We were up at 3:30
help. The gifts and the spirit of love a.m. each morning and drove until
were invigorating. For example, our dark. We pushed very hard to get to
first stop was in Toledo. People in El Salvador before the election and
churches and solidarity groups had the transportation stoppage imposed
collected $800.00 as a gift to the by the FMLN. We arrived Monday
Salvadoran people before we arrived. afternoon and the stoppage did not
That evening at the pot luck dinner start until Wednesday midnight.
at the Unitarian Church another BUT we still were not allowed into
$500.00 was donated. At the Friends the country.
Meeting House in Cincinnati nearly When we got to the border every-
100 boxes of medical and school thing checked out and it looked like
supplies were loaded into the trucks we were going through in record
and $1,000.00 was contributed. It time. Just as we were about to enter

the customs people at Hachadura re- saw many North Americans entering
ceived a phone call from the De- the country. The Embassy encour-
partment of Immigration in San aged us to go to Guatemala "where
Salvador ordering them not to let us as a tourist you will have more fun."
in. We spent the next eleven days The most insulting response was
camping at the Salvadoran border. that they claimed they couldn't help
MD: What did you do for eleven us because they couldn't interfere
days? with the affairs of another sovereign
DC: We spent time during the state. U.S. foreign policy is by defi-
day strategizing about how to get nition the attempt to influence poli-
through the border. We read (I reread cies of other nations and the U.S.
Animal Farm by George Orwell), has a long history of meddling in the
threw FrisbeeTM with the children of affairs of El Salvador.
Hachadura and played cards and
scrabble. Some of the more adven- MD: It sounds like an interesting
turous amongst us challenged a trip. Is there any final observations
neighborhood team to soccer. We you want to make?
slept in the trucks and vans we were DC: One contrast that is inter-
driving which were relatively com-
fortable. . esting to me is the amount of
MD: Why didn't you call the money sent to El Salvador.dThe
U.S.Embasy n Sa Savado toCaravan to El Salvador raised, deliv-
U.S. Embassy in San Salvador to ered and distributed $3 million worth
help you? of aid to some of the poorest com-
DC: We tried. Several people on munities in San Salvador. It will
the Caravan called the Embassy each make a significant difference in the
day. Friends and supporters of mem- quality of their lives.
bers of the Caravan from all over the
United States and Canada called the The United States government
Embassy without success. sends two and a half million dollars
We became convinced that the a day to the Salvadoran government -
Embassy was complicit in the deci- 75% of this goes to the military.
sion to keep us out of El Salvador. Some of this is used to support
For example, the Embassy refused to death squad activities. The leaders of
recognize that we were on the Sal- the communities receiving our aid
vadoran side of the border saying are targets of the death squads.
publicly that were in Guatemala. Knowing this makes the task of
They said it was too dangerous for changing U.S. policy toward El
us to enter the country - although we Salvador an urgent task.

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