The Instigator
feverish
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
Cerebral_Narcissist
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points

Black people are inherently physcally superior to white people.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/12/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,117 times Debate No: 13271
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (9)

 

feverish

Con

Hello and thanks to Cerebral_Narcissist for agreeing to debate this with me.

It is my firm belief that the biological differences between the groups that we ascribe these race labels to are superficial and insignificant and that any value judgements of superiority are unfounded.

Although we tend to hear more about racial differences of intelligence and such discussions generate a great deal of controversy, http://www.debate.org... the precept represented by the resolution is perhaps even more widely believed. I believe that both doctrines are flawed and unsupported by concrete evidence.

___________

Definitions:

Black people: http://en.wikipedia.org... http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu... "of or belonging to a racial group having dark skin especially of sub-Saharan African origin".

Although it may seem obvious who this term refers to, it could potentially be interpreted in a number of ways. For example I don't know if my opponent subscribes to the "one-drop" rule http://en.wikipedia.org... that anyone with one drop of African blood is black, or if he imposes tighter restrictions. In Britain "black people" is sometimes even used as a blanket term for all non-white minorities. http://books.google.co.uk...

I would like my opponent to be as clear as possible about what particular people he is including within this term.

Inherently: Naturally, in a way that is in-built or hard-wired. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu... http://en.wiktionary.org... I guess in this instance the important distinction would be biology, rather than culture.

Physically superior: "(adj) superior (of high or superior quality or performance)" http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu... I guess we would be discussing things like speed and strength here, I wouldn't consider things like height or genital size to convey the value judgement of superiority.

White people: http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu... http://en.wikipedia.org...

While I assume that my opponent means those (like he and myself) who have predominantly European ancestry, I suppose it's possible that he means all people who don't fit into his definition of black people, so again, I'd like him to define what he means as clearly as possible.

_________

I don't really understand how my opponent intends to prove the resolution and I don't want to straw-man him, so I won't be making any detailed arguments in this first round.

Does he perhaps have some groundbreaking scientific evidence indicating that melanin actually aids muscle development? Such would be difficult to refute, but I somehow doubt it exists.

I think instead that my opponent is basing his opinion on the success of certain black individuals in certain athletic fields. I think he will have a very hard time proving this to be biological, rather than cultural.

In the initial thread where this discussion began, http://www.debate.org... my opponent referred to the 'Great White Hope' of American boxing as evidence for his opinion. I don't know what my opponent intended to infer about the history of the boxer Jack Johnson, http://en.wikipedia.org... and assuming that he was just referring to the success of black boxers in general, my response was this:

//You could just as well say that the success of black boxers indicates superior intelligence on their part, as boxing is a very mentally demanding sport. If you take a sport that relies purely on physical strength, like power lifting for example, you will find that the most succesful athletes in that discipline are actually white.

There are plenty of social explanations for the success of black heavyweight boxers. The determination and enthusiasm for violence required to succeed in this field is often nurtured in the very hostile and impoverished environments that black Americans have been more likely to endure than their white sporting rivals.//

http://docs.google.com...
http://www.google.co.uk...
http://www.oxygengym.co.za...
http://encyclopedia.jrank.org...
http://books.google.co.uk...
http://books.google.co.uk...
http://www.eastsideboxing.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

I think the notion that on the whole, black people out-perform white people in athletic ability is easily refuted by a look at a list of multiple Olympic medalists. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Or, closer to home, the fact that in our domestic sport of football (soccer), no nation with a black majority has ever won a major international competition, and countries with significant black populations, such as the US, Brazil and our own dear England, still field a number (in most cases a majority) of white players.

The fact that black people regularly outperform white people in certain athletic areas, would logically suggest a cultural trend of greater interest in those areas. Without searching for statistics just yet, I think that would be easy to prove in such obvious areas as basketball or boxing.

My opponent also made reference to the notion that "Slavery was based on the fact that [black people] are physically superior to whites." I confess to being totally ignorant of what Cereb means by this, but since he assures me that it is a "historical fact", hopefully an explanation will be forthcoming.

I eagerly await my opponent's clarification of the definitions, of his own position as Pro and some kind of evidence to support it.

Thanks.
Cerebral_Narcissist

Pro

I would like to begin by apoligise to my opponent both for the aggressive exchange that spurned this debate and for my delay in actually accepting it and posting an opening round.

The Resolution is: Black people are inherently physcally superior to white people.

Black People: For the purpose of this debate I wish to define black people as those of primarily black sub-saharan african descent. Thus a person whose only known antecedents are of black sub-saharan african descent would be a valid example. A person whose only known antecedents are of black sub-saharan african descent apart from one white grandparent would be a valid example. A person who is half black, and half white would not be a valid example. This is because one could equally claim that their physical superiority comes from the white race, and the simple need for some form of definition as to what is meant by the term black in order to have a valid debate.

I accept my opponents other definitions and I do not feel that they need to be clarified.

To further clarify my position,
I seek to argue that Black People are, by and large, if taken collectively, physically superior to White People. That is to say there is a stronger correlation black ancestry and physical prowess then there is between white ancestry and physical prowess. It would be an obvious strawman, and one that I know my opponent won't indulge in, to compare an elderly or disabled black person to a white olympian.

Argument 1: The Great White Hope
Is indeed a reference to the Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world and in the words of the first Great White Hope, James J. Jeffries, "the effort to reclaim the heavyweight championship for the white race". Jeffries however was defeated, quite convincingly.

The whites got themselves their great white hope in the form of Jess Willard in 1915, and whites held the title until 1937 when it was taken by Joe Louis (who still holds the record for longest reigning champion).
http://en.wikipedia.org...

A cursory examination of wikipedia suggests that of the period of 1937 to 2010 whites have held for approximately 6 years, certainly no more than a decade. That shows nearly 70 years of black hegenomy over the sport.
http://en.wikipedia.org... (if people want to check)

I would seek to argue that this suggests that Blacks are physically superior to Whites. My opponent counters the following,
"1: You could just as well say that the success of black boxers indicates superior intelligence on their part, as boxing is a very mentally demanding sport."

In reality there is no such thing as mind-body duality. Though something such as mathematical ability can be defined as mental, and muscle strength as physical, a complicated sporting activity crosses both. The skills of a boxer in include strength (purely physical) and reflexes (can be seen as physical and mental).

Though part of the point above I will seperately address my opponents argument of,
2. "If you take a sport that relies purely on physical strength, like power lifting for example, you will find that the most succesful athletes in that discipline are actually white."

This is admittedly a valid point, it is not certain that this is due to biology or sociology however.

My opponent also argues that,
"3: There are plenty of social explanations for the success of black heavyweight boxers. The determination and enthusiasm for violence required to succeed in this field is often nurtured in the very hostile and impoverished environments that black Americans have been more likely to endure than their white sporting rivals"

I have no problem recognising that the social backgrounds of many of these black boxers have created a impetous. However there is firstly a world of difference between living in a violent neighourhood and the intense regimen of training that a professional athlete undergoes. In addition it is clear that there are just as many non-blacks who are raised in similar enviroments. Where are the hispanic heavyweight champions for instance? It is clear that sociology is not the primary driving force for black excellence in this field, and that the reason is most likely to be genetic predisposition.

Argument 2: The Olympics

My opponent states that,
"I think the notion that on the whole, black people out-perform white people in athletic ability is easily refuted by a look at a list of multiple Olympic medalists."

All things being equal one might assume that a country's share of olympic medals would be proportional to its population, allowing for the vagaries of random chance. In reality other factors come into play, such as a countries GDP (or I would suggest it's genetics). A number of statistical studies have been conducted.

This article shows that when looking at population Jamaica, a predominately black nation, greatly overperforms. When looking at GDP we see that Zimbabwe, a predominately black nation greatly overperforms, followed by Jamaica. This is a strong statistical anomaly, and a reasonable explanation for it is race.
http://www.stubbornmule.net...

Argument 3: Football (Soccer).

My opponent states that,
"the fact that in our domestic sport of football (soccer), no nation with a black majority has ever won a major international competition, and countries with significant black populations, such as the US, Brazil and our own dear England, still field a number (in most cases a majority) of white players."

7 of the 25 members of the current England Squad are black. This translates as 28% of the entire team. When compared to the overall population of England this is massively disproportionate. This is because of the correlation between black ethnicity and physical prowess.

Argument 4: Slavery

The Spanish exported vast numbers of black slaves from Africa to the 'New World'. The motivation for doing so is clear, slavery provides a cheap workforce. Why did they not simply make slaves of the native population (these days referred to as indentured servants, or indeed slaves from Europe? Well they did use both, but ultimately blacks, being of superior strength and therefore more useful were preferred.

I am unable to find the quotes I need to back up this point, and shall attempt to do in subsequent rounds and to bring in fresh arguments or develop new ones.
Debate Round No. 1
feverish

Con

Thanks to C_N for his response and also his apology regarding the initial heated exchange in the forum thread. Although I was quite taken aback by his remarks at the time, I have realised that I was partially responsible for escalating things and would like to re-assure him that there are no hard feelings on my part.

___

Rather than any scientific argument about what could potentially cause black people to be physically superior, C_N seems to have argued his position based solely on a few hand picked statistics. Rather than showing "a stronger correlation [between?] black ancestry and physical prowess then there is between white ancestry and physical prowess" all that these statistics suggest is that individual black people have performed better in a few particular sporting disciplines.

I don't see how such correlation goes anywhere towards proving the resolution. As any amateur logician knows, correlation does not imply causality, and even if it did, it would be a simple task for me to present alternative statistics proving the success of white athletes in other fields, swimming and ice hockey being obvious examples.

___

1. Heavyweight boxing.

1) It is indeed a fact that black American boxers have dominated the heavyweight division of boxing for decades but C_N claims this statistic proves his assertion without giving any reason why. Why, if they are so superior do they not dominate other sporting disciplines, or indeed other boxing weight divisions, in the same way?

As well as strength and reflexes, boxing of course requires a great deal of technique, concentration, strategy and decisiveness, all mental factors rather than physical ones. Boxing is not street brawling, or a mere contest of strength, it is an art and a science.

2) C_N accepts the "valid point" that white people dominate power lifting, and I think it is clear that this is a much less mentally demanding sport than boxing. I would wholeheartedly agree that "it is not certain that this is due to biology or sociology" but fail to understand why C_N reaches this conclusion about such a purely physical sport, while insisting that the success of black boxers is due to inherent physical superiority. This seems like a logical inconsistency to me, if it's unclear with power lifting, it is surely unclear with boxing too.

If black people are inherently physically superior, why do they not dominate a straight forward contest of brute strength like power lifting?

3) C_N recognises that certain social backgrounds can contribute to boxing success but seeks to dismiss this as a factor in the success of black boxers for the reason that non-black people also live in similar conditions. Black people are on the lowest rung of the poverty ladder in America, http://www.infoplease.com... this table shows levels from 1975 to the present, with the average black person consistently around three times more likely to live in poverty than their white counterpart, I would assume the difference to be even more noticable prior to that.

As well as basic socio-economic factors to take into consideration, there are many more subtle cultural factors, harder to measure, but just as real. Pre-civil rights legislation, employees were free to openly discriminate on the basis of race, and even after this, on-going prejudice continues to profoundly affect the job prospects of black Americans. http://www.questia.com... http://hum.sagepub.com... Let's face it, one has to be pretty desperate to choose a career that involves being hit in the head repeatedly by an 18 stone man and those white people born into poverty had much more reason to be optimistic about other avenues of employment.

Some popular sports such as baseball and basketball were segregated at the beginning of the timeline C_N refers to and so gifted and ambitious black athletes were more likely to select a sport like boxing where they would be able to compete at the highest level. The success of black boxers from the time of Johnson to the time of Ali was also surely a great inspiration to young black boys who finally saw a black man beating a white man at something and encouraged them into the sport.

There are many successful hispanic American boxers, the most well known perhaps being Oscar De La Hoya, their lack of success in the heavyweight division doesn't seem relevant to the debate to me, they are not white or black according to the definitions we have. Regarding poverty they are less likely to live in poverty than black people (although more than white) and they of course make up a much smaller percentage of the US population, although this trend is changing in recent years http://www.infoplease.com... Perhaps superficial ethnic differences make hispanic men shorter on average and therefore less able to bulk up enough while maintaining tone.

The important thing to consider about C_N's assumptions about heavyweight boxing, is that he is referring to the exploits of a few individuals in one weight class, of one sport that is not by any means a purely physical sport. His conclusions are baseless.

___

2. The Olympics

C_N links a table of Olympic achievements modified for GDP, claiming that the positions held by Zimbabwe and Jamaica support the racial superiority claims but this is wildly misleading.

As the source itself acknowledges, Zimbabwe's score "reflect[s] more than anything else the collapse of their economy under Mugabe's rule" and how do the success of Mongolia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia etc. fit in with the race argument?

The problem with modifying for population in this way is that a few outstanding achievements by individuals can propel a nation higher up the ranking with less statistical significance. It is also interesting to note that in the modified-by-population graph, the only predominantly black nation apart from Jamaica that makes an appearance, is its geographical neighbour, the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

Jamaica is indeed an exceptionally successful Olympic nation, but I would argue the main reason for this is the huge cultural emphasis Jamaicans place on sport in general and on athletics in particular. This BBC video is a good demonstration of how seriously athletics is taken in Jamaica, school age competitions can attract 30,000 spectators in a country of less than 3 million people. http://news.bbc.co.uk...

The "statistical anomaly" C_N refers to, concerns just two individual countries and covers so many unknown variables and obvious cultural and economic conditions that it has no significance at all. If this is the best statistical evidence C_N could find to support his position, it should tell him something about his beliefs.

___

3. Football

I don't know what 7 players Cereb is referring to, but I believe that Ferdinand, James, Lennon and Cole all have one white parent and would therefore be excluded from his definition of a black person. In any case a disproportionate member of black footballers again says nothing about inherent physical superiority. It shows a cultural trend for interest in a specific sport, notably one that requires little equipment and is accessible to all.

Where are the disproportionate numbers of black rugby players, cricketers or oarsmen? If there was any significant difference in inherent ability, black people in countries with large black minorities would dominate all sports and they clearly don't.

It is also worth noting that black people from Jamaica, Brazil, America and England are far more likely to have some European ancestry than black people from African countries.

What about African teams?

4. Slavery

Since my opponent has provided zero evidence for his unusual opinions on why black people were favoured as slaves, I will allow him to do so before responding to such claims.

Thanks.
Cerebral_Narcissist

Pro

As embarrasing as it is to be unable to offer an argument I must admit that I am not able to make up for the flaws in my argument or counter my opponents position. I must concede and urge all votes to CON. Sorry about that.
Debate Round No. 2
feverish

Con

Thanks to my opponent for being gracious enough to post a formal concession within the debate rather than just letting it expire as a forfeit, which I'm sure some other people might have done in the same position. I'd appreciate if he could post something brief in this round too, just so the debate shows up on the front page. I'd very much like as many people to read this as possible, in the hope that it could help deconstruct some racialist myths for some people.

I will just touch very briefly upon the slavery issue. I believe that there were plenty of reasons why black people were used by white people as slaves, and that it had more to do with the theocratic notion that Christians shouldn't be slaves, and the early anthropological view that these "savages" were somehow less than human. I have read plenty of quotes from plantocracy era racist writers who claimed that black people were lazier and even weaker than white people, so I don't think any view that they were physically superior was particularly widespread at the time.

Thanks again to Cerebral_Narcissist and anyone reading.
Cerebral_Narcissist

Pro

Thank you to my oppoent for accepting my surrender. To reiterate vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 6 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
"Wait a minute... I think I see what you did there."

What apart from caving in? Huh.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Wait a minute... I think I see what you did there.
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 6 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
I suck, my basic arguments were weak to non-existent, I had nothing else to go on. I am embarrased that when it finally came to it I did not have much of an argument at all, it's far better to post some sort of argument than none at all but I was not really up to it.

Just glad there are no black nationalists around to vote bomb in my favour.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Also, props to both in this debate. C_N accepted defeat graciously.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I dunno, I'd say--in all seriousness, mind you--that genital size can be valued, in a sexual context, quite highly, since a greater general size (up to a point where the marginal costs hit marginal benefits) often equates greater satisfaction for women in terms of penetration.
Posted by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
This is the civility that debates need.
Posted by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
My "Race in the Age of Obama" professor would LOVE this...
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 6 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
Then why weren't the plantations full of white slaves instead of black ones?
Posted by mongoose 6 years ago
mongoose
Strength had nothing to do with the preference of slaves over indentured servants.
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
Should be interesting.
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