Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hex/Quigley a while (Erik) 


LAT n/a (Amy) 


NYT 9:47 (Amy) 


WaPo 10:33 (Erin) 


Timothy Polin’s New York Times crossword, “Creature Feature”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 24 18, “Creature Feature”

The theme is the 106d [1975 summer blockbuster], JAWS, and all sorts of stuff relating to the movie and to sharks. Plus a {FIN} rebus, and if you do a connect-the-dots with the rebus squares, you’ve drawn a shark’s fin.

Movie stuff: 3d Steven SPIELBERG112a fictional AMITY ISLAND, and 101d. [Movie org. whose “100 Years … 100 Thrills” list has 106-Down at #2], AFI.

Shark stuff: 17d MAN-EATING, 24a DORSAL {FIN}, 68a SEA MONSTER, 74a DEEP THREAT (this is not a familiar phrase for me, and the clue, [Speedy wide receiver, perhaps], doesn’t resonate at all—but I just asked my husband about the term. He informed me, “It’s usually used in reference to a speedy wide receiver,” and I laughed), 86a/87a GREAT / WHITE, 99a SHARK somehow not connected to 86a/87a, the vague WATER HAZARD concept clued via golf (I believe there are not yet any golf courses where the water hazard has sharks, but I’m happy to be proven wrong here, and if proven wrong, then I’ll be mad about the dumb exploitation of a majestic beast), and the never-heard-of-it 66d. [Ska-punk band with the 1997 song “Sell Out”], REEL BIG FISH. I’d call bullshit on the REEL spelling of the band name, but you could define the Jaws shark as a REEL BIG FISH, with film reels.

I might’ve missed some more thematic entries since they were strewn hither and yon.

Four more things:

  • 41a. [Opposite of colorblindness?], BIGOTRY. No, this clue is just plain stupid. People who claim “I don’t see color” can certainly still be bigots. Ignoring people’s identities and cultures is a bigotry of its own. You can see skin color, sure. Pretending that it doesn’t have actual effects in our culture is just blatant denial. “I don’t see color, so I don’t understand why these people keep complaining about the systematic effects of racism.”
  • 90d. [Aromatic yellow citrus], YUZU. I’ve had salad dressing and desserts with YUZU.
  • 52d. [Country music channel, once], TNN. Constructors! For heaven’s sake, take TNN out of your word lists. That was a cable channel from 1983 to 2000, when the channel became Spike TV, and Spike TV has since given way to the Paramount Network. Nobody cares about a cable channel that vanished almost two decades ago.
  • 107a. [Metaphor for deliberate ignorance], DEAF EAR. This is a piece-of-crap metaphor, as is “turn a blind eye to.”

Four stars from me. Here’s a retro flashback, an episode of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (including commercials!). Amazingly, there’s an Amazon Prime remake of the show, complete with a boy with curly red hair and the same dang green creature.

Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Men and Women of Note” – Erin’s writeup

WaPo solution, 6/24/18

It’s a meta week! Our instructions: “Which former first lady should be the next theme answer in this puzzle?” Let’s see what our theme entries are:

  • 23a. [“That’s How Heartaches Are Made” soul singer] BABY WASHINGTON
  • 40a. [Former New York Times theater critic with a Pulitzer Prize] MARGO JEFFERSON
  • 57a. [Jazz singer who wrote songs inspired by the civil rights movement] ABBEY LINCOLN
  • 68a. [“The Terminator” actress] LINDA HAMILTON
  • 80a. [Recipient of the Icon Award at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards] JANET JACKSON
  • 97a. [Founder of a luxury skin-care company] ELIZABETH GRANT
  • 118a. [First woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame] ARETHA FRANKLIN

What do these women have in common? Besides success in their respective fields, their last names are shared by the men found on US dollar notes (as hinted by the title), starting with George Washington on the $1 bill and increasing in value to Benjamin Franklin’s $100 note. The next note in line is the $500, which is no longer in print (surprisingly, Jefferson’s $2 bill is still being printed). President William McKinley was featured on the most recent $500 note, which makes his wife Ida Saxton McKinley our meta answer.

Other things:

  • This excerpt from ELIZABETH GRANT’s website. That’s some seriously flowery prose for a proprietary skin care compound.
  • 70d. [Language spread by the Ministry of Truth in “1984”] NEWSPEAK. Here is a description of Newspeak structure and goals.
  • 63a. [Portrait artist Alice] NEEL. Her biography is fascinating. I don’t know where to begin, so here is a link.
  • 68d. [Where to make a pit stop in California?] LA BREA, as in the tar pits.

Until next time.

Michael Ashley’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Hey, That Hurt!”—Amy’s recap

LA Times crossword solution, 6 24 18, “Hey, That Hurt!”

Am heading out to the Pride Parade in a couple minutes, so here’s the solution grid. The theme answers are made by adding OW to the end of familiar phrases or words. ALARM BELLOW, FELLOW DOWN, DRY WALLOW, FREE WILLOW, SMART PILLOW, WINDOW SURFER, FALLOW COLORS. Not a particularly amusing theme.

There are also random answers that end in OW (EAT CROW, SOW), not so elegant. And there are plenty of fill answers that are as long as the themers—ART ROONEY, “WHOA, THERE,” ASKED A LOT, UNDERMINE, TINFOIL HAT, SPRAY-ON TAN, DNA SAMPLES, CARABINERS—which muddles the puzzle further.

Happy Pride, everyone!

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked crossword, “On Familiar Terms”—Erik’s write-up

CRooked crossword solution, 6 24 18, “On Familiar Terms”

The theme of this puzzle is ‘white men of note with their first names replaced with familiar shortenings of those names,’ like so: LEO (Leonardo) DA VINCI, HANK (Henry) THE EIGHTH, EDDIE (Edward) THE CONFESSOR, TOMMY (Thomas) AQUINAS, FREDDY (Frederic) CHOPIN, BILLY (William) THE CONQUEROR, LARRY (Lawrence) OF ARABIA, and DICK (Richard) WAGNER.

Fill highlights include PIZZA and PECAN PIE. In the clues, I enjoyed the accurate [Archaic “OMG”] for EGAD and the vocabulous [Phantasmagoric] for UNREAL.

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53 Responses to Sunday, June 24, 2018

  1. PJ Ward says:

    WaPo – Ida McKinley jumped out but didn’t thrill me. The other women are not connected to the faces on the bills.

    • Martin says:

      And the $500 is no longer in circulation. And the theme entries are all 14 letters.

      I really thought I was missing something.

      • PJ Ward says:

        I agree about missing something. Ida feels like the cheese in a rat trap.

        The middle three theme entries are 12, 13, and 12.

          • The two other options I had considered:

            1. Making the meta be the fantasy author Robin McKinley. There weren’t many other famous McKinley women I could find, but she at least won a Newbery Medal.

            2. Dropping the meta altogether and letting the theme stand on its own. I was reluctant to do that just because I didn’t know how obvious the theme was without it.

            Ultimately I stuck with it as is just because I thought Ida would be more well-known than Robin.

            • David L says:

              I missed the money connection completely and spent a few minutes mentally going through presidential surnames in hope of finding someone famous with a different first name. That got me nowhere, so, as is my wont with metas, I gave up.

            • Katie M. says:

              I liked the theme, but I thought I was missing something too. I didn’t think the answer would be the wife of the person on the note.

              To me, Robin McKinley is more well-known than Ida. Wouldn’t “Newbery winning author” work for meta instructions?

            • I loved the fact that the theme answers were in ascending value order – hard enough to get all of the last names in there, but in the right order? Impressive. But then I thought Ida couldn’t be right because she is married to the president and all the other theme entries were just coincidentally the right last name, but nothing else made sense. Robin would have been more challenging (requiring a Google search) but would have fit better.

  2. arthur118 says:

    Sorry Amy, calling BS on the spelling isn’t enough; the link shows that REEL BIG FISH are the real deal.

    Scroll down past the list of upcoming play dates and there are pictures galore of the group, sans scales or fins, offering no apology for their quaint spelling.

    • roger says:

      Am I missing something or does REEL mean “reel in a big fish” like in “fishing reel”?

  3. Ethan says:

    I was pretty annoyed at the clue for NOM because “Oscar nod” is waaaay more familiar to me. I knew SLIDY was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what mistake I had in the Downs.

  4. Jim Hale says:

    An okay puzzle for me. Ab Fan crossed with Boba Tea was unpleasant. Never heard of yuzu but will look for it in Japan where I’m headed soon. I sure hope they find a cure for “the greening” soon in Florida as growing a citrus tree here is only worth it for it’s value as a host plant for the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, the biggest in the US. The caterpillar, which I’ve raised, looks like a small snake.

  5. JohnH says:

    Things I hadn’t heard of in the NYT, including the band name in a lengthy entry, the alternative version of bubble tea, and (last to fall) the character in Jurassic Park. I sure thought I knew Martin Amis, but somehow that book hadn’t reached me. But mostly just enjoyed the theme-laden construction.

  6. Huda says:

    NYT: There were enough things that were not known to me that I kept wondering whether there might be different rebuses for different body parts in different locales in the puzzle. I finally finished it and realized only the FIN was there, along the midline, which was cool.

    I think the only time I’ve seen genuine color blindness where race is concerned is little kids. I remember my son having an African American play buddy at pre-Kindergarten. The child had two blond parents and my son had no thoughts whatsoever about this combination, never thought his friend might be adopted and really did not give it any meaning or care. It was in the same category as him having green eyes and my having brown eyes. This was a case where I was happy that my kid was clueless. I don’t know when categorizing people by various features and colors takes hold– but I’m sure it’s highly modified by how the family talks about people and describes them.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      When my son was little, he saw people’s color … but descriptively. By different shades of brown.

      The problem with maintaining the childlike idealism of race making no difference is that in our society, the construct of race absolutely makes a ton of difference in how people have been (and are) treated, and blithe colorblindness ignores racism, pretends it doesn’t exist. Kids learn racism from adults and later from their peers, and kids who aren’t being taught to be racist still need to be taught about racism, so that they can recognize it, call it out, work against it.

      • Jenni Levy says:

        There’s also convincing evidence that kids will be racist unless actively taught not to be. We sort by type and we default to “us vs them.”

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          I do wonder if the results would be different if the study population was all kids whose parents are of different races.

          • Jenni Levy says:

            interesting question.

          • Steve Manion says:

            I have four children. The mother of my first child is black and the mother of the other three is Asian. My youngest son got into trouble when he posted something that could easily have been interpreted as racist after an argument with his black frenemy. They brought me into the school and when the family history was explained, they dismissed any serious charge and told him not to repeat it. My son, who has now gained 10 inches in height in the past year, was depressed and hypersensitive about his size at the time. The black boy, who was bigger than my son, but the smallest black student in the school, knew how to get under my son’s skin. My son knew how to retaliate. In my experience, kids who grow up in racially mixed families are keenly aware of race. All of my three Asian heritage kids have Mexican heritage girl/boyfriends and my daughter’s old boyfriend is black. I believe that we will always be aware of race even if such awareness can be insensitive and stupid.


        • john farmer says:

          There’s also convincing evidence that kids will be racist unless actively taught not to be. We sort by type and we default to “us vs them.”

          It’s human nature that people, starting at an early age, sort by group and develop various opinions about those groups. Those opinions can be positive or negative, well-informed or not. Often people have a preference for their own group, but sometimes the preference is for another group. Virtually all of us have some bias toward others based on the group we associate them with. One example, results of Harvard’s Implicit Association Tests show “that most Americans have an automatic preference for white over black.”

          Most of us are biased (even those who think they’re not, which is why it’s implicit). But is that to say virtually all of us are racist? If you equate racism with implicit racial bias, then you could say yes. But if you equate racism with bigotry and hatred, then you can say no.

          Implicit racial bias can be a big deal and should not be ignored. But much of the time we talk about racism we’re talking about bigotry and hatred.

          Which is why we should be careful saying that evidence shows “kids will be racist unless actively taught not to be.”

          I don’t think it’s simple human nature for kids, or grown-ups, to be bigots. I agree with Obama, who was quoting Mandela: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion…. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

          • Jenni Levy says:

            John, I have read the literature and the evidence and I stand by my statement. And yes, all of us (not “virtually”, but all) have racist imprinting. Implicit bias is one aspect of racism. I know it’s painful and uncomfortable to think about this stuff, and it would be lovely to believe that “love comes more naturally to the human heart,” but that’s not what the evidence shows us and it has not been my experience.

            Nelson Mandela was trying to reunite a country. President Obama had to walk a very difficult line. Every time either he or Michelle spoke directly about their experiences of racism, there was political hell to pay. Remember when he said that he if had a son, he would look like Trayvon? The backlash was horrendous. I was at Princeton a few years before Michelle Obama and I am quite sure she encountered both structural racism and direct discrimination there.

            This is a topic I work with professionally and have studied at length, which I mention on the off chance that credentials and experience might give you pause before you chastise me. Again, my experience suggests otherwise, but a girl can dream.

            • Penguins says:

              Tribalism is strong.

              I never really saw Obama as a black American; I saw him as elite.

            • Amy Reynaldo says:

              @Penguins, I have no idea what the point of your comment is.

            • Penguins says:

              That racism is a form of tribalism which is innate (not that it can’t be overcome to at least some degree) and just that some Americans stand outside of their conventional classification/s due to background.

            • Amy Reynaldo says:

              And yet black lawyers and doctors and entrepreneurs still get disproportionately, pulled over by the cops, and megamillionaire LeBron James had racist graffiti sprayed on his home. Membership in the elite class still doesn’t trump the other concerns. (And you’ll recall the popularity of hideous racist cartoons and merchandise that targeted President Obama and his family.)

            • Penguins says:

              No doubt about that, Amy.

            • john farmer says:

              Jenni, I try to be respectful but I really don’t care about your credentials. I care about the evidence that you presented. Your link to the This American Life piece does not provide evidence that kids, or people, are bigoted and hateful by nature. Evidence of implicit bias, as I noted, is something different, which is what the TAL piece shows along with the IAT link I provided.

              If you want to consider that one aspect as evidence of racism, fine, but that’s a narrow view. Since that kind of bias is something all or almost all of us share, I don’t know if it’s useful to think of racism in that limited sense. In everyday use, racism — a serious charge — usually entails something more, such as evidence of bigotry or hatred.

              But I see no evidence here to support the claim that kids will be bigoted and hateful unless taught otherwise.

              The counter-argument, per the Obama/Mandela quote (or as Amy stated above), is that kids (or presumably older folks too) learn racism — that is, they learn bigotry and hatred. And if they learn hatred, the argument goes, they could learn love instead.

              That may not be a scientifically validated claim. But that doesn’t make it invalid. Maybe it’s more a humanistic, aspirational belief. Whether love or hate truly comes more naturally to the human heart is an open question that our ways of knowing, including science, may never be able to answer with certainty.

              At the risk of sounding unscientific, I believe that there’s truth in what Obama and Mandela were saying, and that it’s appropriate and exemplary for politicians to talk that way.

              If you’re implying that Obama and Mandela were bowing to political pressure in making those statements, or as non-scientists were simply wrong, then I’ll just say I see no evidence here to support that.

              For the record, I don’t believe humans are innately virtuous or innately evil. And nothing here is a denial of the existence of racism, implicit and explicit. There is, unfortunately, too much evidence of it. But I do strongly believe in human learning, and our ability to adapt new ways. It is the engine of human progress. Having read a fair amount of history lately, I’d say — even with things seeming dark at the moment — life was far worse in the past. So I believe there’s good reason for hope. And good evidence for being hopeful too.

      • Huda says:

        I completely agree with your point, Amy, that we have to explain to them that racism exists and give the right tool to deal with it and reverse it.

        • Jenni Levy says:

          John: The hell with evidence, I don’t like it, and I believe something else.

          OK, then.

          • john farmer says:

            You sound angry.

            No one is saying to ignore the evidence. But if you claim the evidence says “kids will be racist unless actively taught not to be,” and I respond that the evidence you linked to says A (racist in a narrow sense of common bias), not B (racist in a broader, everyday sense of outright bigotry), I say it’s a distinction worth noting. Instead of responding to my point, or providing more evidence, you appealed to your own authority, making several mentions of your credentials, your experience, etc., suggesting that trumped anything I could possibly offer and therefore settled the discussion. It doesn’t work that way. I think your own cognitive biases are showing. Bottom line, if you want to make a point about scientific evidence, pulling rank, so to speak, isn’t going to persuade anyone.

            • Amy Reynaldo says:

              John, telling a woman “You sound angry” is never, ever going to score you any points.

            • john farmer says:

              Amy, perhaps from your perspective. In the context of gender relations, we seem to have these rules, some still in development, about things we should and shouldn’t say to women or to men. I’m not saying those can’t be useful. Our language often carries implicit assumptions, and it’s good to be aware of that. Maybe you detected an assumption that I thought it was wrong for Jenni to be angry, or that she should calm down. But that’s not what I meant, and that’s not what I said.

              Gender assumptions are not the only perspective to consider. In the context of human relations, we bring many aspects of our selves to any discussion, including our thoughts and our emotions. I firmly believe we need to recognize both, and if we can do that non-judgmentally, we come to a better understanding of ourselves and we have better relationships with others. It’s taken a lot of work over the years for me to be more open to the emotional side of life. It’s made an enormous difference. It’s how I see things, and I can’t un-see it. And since I see our emotional lives as part of our shared humanity across all genders, I don’t believe it’s useful to think of one set of emotions as appropriate to acknowledge in men, and another in women.

              Anger is not bad, in men or in women. It’s good, in fact, very useful, and we should be open about it. Let’s distigmatize it, remove any gender-based prohibitions about it. I don’t think we need men to avoid talking about anger, whosever it might be.

              Maybe I’m wrong, but Jenni’s comment didn’t appear to follow the earlier thread and her apparent anger seemed the most salient point of her post, which is why I made my comment. I wasn’t trying to score points.

        • Huda says:

          In neurobiology, we keep learning that there is a significant biological variability in how we relate to others. Take compassion for example: There are neural mechanisms that can be associated with it, and some people show much greater responses in those circuits than others. So, when people hear about, say, a child who is ill or distressed, some have a very strong response and others don’t really care, and this is associated with how they behave– all the way to the willingness of the compassionate ones to donate a kidney to someone they have never met (Something we discussed on this blog).
          This variability is true for most facets of behavior– the responses tend to be normally distributed. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense to have a range of options for coping with others. While biological, I am not implying that these behavioral responses are hard wired. There is ample room for modification by the environment.
          So, I’d argue that the propensity for racism and bigotry is also likely to be normally distributed from the biological standpoint– some people if left alone will be very prone to racism and others will not be. What upbringing and culture do is move the initial tendencies and shape them– we hope for the better. It’s hard to do the experiment fully, because we are all submerged in our cultural context that makes unpacking this stuff very hard. And, social behavior can spread, for good or ill…

          • john farmer says:

            Thanks, Huda. That’s a helpful perspective. That there’s variability across the population, with some more prone to racism than others, seems likely and is worth keeping in mind when we make statements about human tendencies and behaviors. As you said, what’s innate, what’s learned, and what accounts for who we are and what we do is hard to unpack. No easy answers. Thanks again.

    • Richard says:

      Yeah, I think in a perfect world, that childlike colorblindness is the ideal replacement for racism and bigotry. Unfortunately, most people claiming “colorblindness” are ones who have only taken the very first step and stopped saying or thinking explicitly racist things, but feel complacent that that will eliminate any implicit racism and no further examination is necessary.

  7. maxine nerdström says:

    thanks for calling out the shitty clue about colorblindness.

    i really liked this puzzle with one giant “except.” i actually gasped when i realized 88D, GORILLA, was being clued as “thug.” racistly-charged seems like an understatement. problematic AF. it really bummed me out.

  8. Tim in NYC says:

    I think having DROP opposite JAWS was intentional.

  9. Hup Hup says:

    Tim’s comment seems to be the only one commenting on the puzzle’s layout showing the shark coming right at you with its mouth open.

    • Jim Peredo says:

      I noticed this, the wide open JAWS in the center of the grid. But it looks like it’s eating a glider (airplane), and with the overlay of the SHARK fin, I felt that as grid art goes, it became a mess.

  10. Taylor says:

    2 questions:

    Why didn’t Ben just give away AV subscriptions rather than making a profit through donor contributions? Digital subscriptions entail no cost.

    Why are there no NYT Saturday gimmick or rebus puzzles anymore?

    Thank you

    • Jenni Levy says:

      To your first, as if it is a serious question and not just an excuse to sneer: because making, editing, and distributing puzzles is labor and the people who perform that labor deserve to be compensated. In the entertainment world, creators are compensated based on the popularity of their product. Puzzlemakers and editors are no different. There’s no reason why Ben and his colleagues should bear the whole cost of societal inequity; the rest of us can step up. In addition, by creating the campaign, Ben drew attention to that inequity, which is valuable in and of itself.

      To your second: I’ve been doing the NYT since the early 1970s and I don’t ever recall gimmicks or rebuses being a regular feature of Saturday puzzles. It happens every now and then, and is even more challenging because it’s not on Thursday, but it’s always been rare.

    • Gareth says:

      He likes being able to eat?

      • Taylor says:

        I guess I mistakenly saw things as charitable when they’re not (in the case of the editor and constructor) so I suppose I was a bit sneering. If a man has to eat, he has to eat; just seems an “unusual” way of doing that. The donors should be applauded of course.

        I’ve been doing Saturday archives, and while rare, there are gimmick puzzles. They don’t seem to be around at all anymore.

        • Jenni Levy says:

          Sorry that Ben and his colleagues are not adequately altruistic for you. I expect, given your stance, that you have given at least 10% – maybe 20% – of your gross income to the less fortunate, since you sit in judgment of people who are working towards equity in and outside of the crossword world and I’m sure you would *never* expect more of them than you do from yourself.

          • Taylor says:

            Well, they’re not being altruistic at all, right? In fact, they’re profiting off of others’ altruism. That’s kinda Trumpian, is it not?

  11. ===Dan says:

    I didn’t see any point in the reference to colorblindness. There’s no real misdirection (“oh, THAT kind of colorblindness!”) And I didn’t buy the oppositeness at all. The cleverest definition I see in Ginsburg’s database is “Bunker mentality?” but it presumes a context that’s 40+ years old. The rest are mostly mundane straight definitions.

  12. David L says:

    WATER HAZARD: no sharks but occasionally an alligator.

  13. Scot says:

    Regarding the discussion about racism, the youngest of our five sons is an adopted African American, whom we (Caucasian parents) were fortunate enough to welcome soon after his birth. When Casey began public school, he was one of only a handful of Black students. My wife used to pick him up after school and take him to the Y, which was more diverse.

    Once, my wife went to pick up Casey at the Y and he was playing blocks with a Caucasian girl. My wife said, “Son, hurry up and clean up your things.” The little girl looked at Casey, then at my wife, and then back at Casey.

    “Are you really Casey’s mom?” she asked. And then Diana, my wife, went into this whole long spiel about how we’re all the same on the inside yadda yadda yadda. Then she said, “Now do you understand how I can be Casey’s mom?”

    And the girl just shrugged and said, “Yes, but I thought you were his grandmother!”

  14. Brenda says:

    My thoughts on Bigotry/Racism or whatever the word of the week is for disliking another simply because they don’t look like our mirror:
    I was born in NYC in the ’40’s as the youngest member of an immigrant family & heard more racial slurs in my first 10 years of life than in my next 6 decades. People who care grow with education & life experiences. But you can’t reason with a person if that person doesn’t care. Trust me, I tried. I finally severed a friendship of 50 years because I could no longer tolerate her inability to grow out of her own skin. And this was after 8 years of listening to her berate the Obamas – esp. Michelle – whom I admire. My small contribution in expressing my disgust of her bigotry was to cease all communication & deny her an ear.

  15. Steve Manion says:

    Aside from my racially mixed children, my major experience with race and sometimes racism is in sports. Almost all my lifelong friends are good athletes and several of them played Division I football, baseball and basketball in spite of being under six feet tall and not very heavy. With respect to race, they tend to fall into two categories: those who rejoice in the transcendant genetic advantage of black athletes like LeBron or Usain and those who are envious or resentful that they lack the genetic advantage. Whites are moving to so-called whitebread sports, especially lacrosse, and the very best white athletes, such as Mike Trout, are moving toward baseball, which incidentally, is much more financially difficult to get started in these days because of the expense of bats and being on a travel team. I have been watching all the world cup soccer matches and there is much lamenting that soccer in America is a white suburban sport with the obvious implication that white suburban kids are not that athletic. I wonder if observing and being very aware of differences in size, speed, strength and build qualifies you as a racist. There are other reasons besides genetics that cause some groups or individuals to excel–the chance to get out of a life of poverty is a huge motivator, but in the traditional sports, genetics is a key factor and those who overcome a genetic disadvantage are rarities.


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