The paper presents a review of the novel Darwin’s Athletes: How Sport has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race by John Hoberman. It elucidates the overall effect and validity of written work with regards to the history of African Americans. In addition, it gives a brief summary of the plot and analyzes the key elements of the book, including the character, setting and the prevalent theme.
This novel exposes the underlying racial prejudices in the American society. The writer tends to associate the black dominance in sports with intellectual inferiority. For instance, he notes that his basketball team is composed of 80% blacks. In addition, he points at popular figures, like Muhammad Ali and Jack Johnson, as some icons that can only excel in sports as they lack the genes for academics. This generalization drew sharp reactions from black academics, who insisted that the black community did not need anyone to tell them what activities to engage in (Hoberman 13).
In an attempt to justify his claims of black inferiority, Hoberman points to the fact that blacks were prohibited from flying military planes. According to this particular incident, blacks were considered ineligible, compared to their white counterparts, who bordered the military planes. However, the setting certainly betrays Hoberman. He is white, and his inflammatory statements reveal deep-seated stereotypes that whites have towards blacks. The popular belief, according to Hoberman, is that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites, and that they are trying to cover up this fact, outdoing whites in sports (Hoberman 32).
Essentially, the theme of black inferiority is quite prevalent in the novel. Although blacks have been forcibly denied access to challenging careers in the country, their sporting prowess is instead used to demean them. This probably explains Hoberman’s relative unpopularity among the black population.