Social Experiement: Who would you chose?

Basketball match-up: Who would you chose?

  • I'd bet on the White Basketball player

    Votes: 4 9.5%
  • I'd bet on the Black Basketball player

    Votes: 19 45.2%
  • I'd flip a coin to decide

    Votes: 19 45.2%

  • Total voters
    42

Simgar988

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 22, 2009
1,081
5
UYBAATC
This was discussed in my college class today:

If you were betting on a one-on-one basketball game between two people of the same age with the same, height, weight, wingspan (body proportions equal) who would you chose? You have no previous knowledge of skill other than that they are both skilled players.

Cheers!

P.S. Every student in the lecture hall has a clicker to respond to polls, in class quiz questions, etc. I will reveal the classes polling and some discussion points brought up later.

Edit: how do I make the poll private? I thought I clicked it, but apparently not. If a mod can get to it before I can, that'd be great! Thanks
 

iBlue

macrumors Core
Mar 17, 2005
19,174
15
London, England
The cuter one. Duh.

edit: I see a poll is now up. Since we are given no info about which player has more experience or skill - I voted for the black guy in the poll based purely upon the stereotype and adage that white men can't jump. ;)
 

Scarlet Fever

macrumors 68040
Jul 22, 2005
3,272
0
Bookshop!
I though White or Black was referring to different teams, but then I realised it was about race.

I'd bet on whoever is better. If i had to bet before I saw the players, I'd bet one the one with the better sounding name.
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,552
2,886
Going off the famous documentary about certain types of people that can't jump, I'm going to say black.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
Wirelessly posted (Nokia 5800 Tube XpressMusic : Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.4; U; Series60/5.0 Nokia5800d-1/21.0.101; Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 ) AppleWebKit/413 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/413)

I'm going to take Wesley Snipes' advice and always bet on black.
 

Queso

Suspended
Mar 4, 2006
11,832
7
I've voted to flip a coin, but personally I'd bet on the tallest one (nobody is every exactly the same height) or the one with longer arms (same with "wingspan"). That's far more relevant in this context :)
 

mscriv

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2008
4,911
586
Dallas, Texas
Since the thread is titled "Social Experiment" I'm assuming the teacher's goal is to discuss how social prejudices affect our decision making processes. I'm interested to hear more about how your class debate went and what the teacher's final conclusion or point was in doing this exercise.

As far as who would I choose. That's easy, the one named Lebron or Kobe, wait maybe Michael. Oh darn, how about Larry. No, Kareem, err... I mean Dirk and Steve.... :confused:

C that's it, my final answer is C. :D
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
Exactly- whether or not they are black or white means nothing. What a stupid question to ask a class. I'm wondering what the purpose is.
Actually, it's a pretty loaded question, and I think the results will be skewed by people reading into the purpose of the question.

In other words, when I read the poll, my thought process was, "The question is intentionally worded to emphasize that one guy is white and the other guy is black. Am I to assume that one will be better than the other based solely on race? Is this question designed to determine if I make racial stereotypes and judgements? I believe it is popular conception that black players are better, but do I personally really think that? I'd better not say anything that would make me appear racially prejudiced. Besides, logically and rationally, if I know nothing about the skill of the player, I really couldn't make a judgement call. Yeah, that's what I'll say -- that I can't decide."
 

3D0G

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2009
100
0
I'm not a basketball fan, but my recollection from watching a few games in my life is that there are usually more black players than white players on NBA teams. Given that fact and the fact that blacks represent a smaller proportion of the overall population, this means that on average black people are better at basketball than whites. The reason could be cultural or physical (or both), but the end result is the same. If whites were, on average, just as good, there be more whites than blacks on NBA teams, in the same proportion as the overall population.

Similarly, look at track and field games in the Olympics (or anywhere else, for that matter). Almost invariably, blacks dominate the lineups and will win over whites. So based on a purely statistical analysis, it's clear that blacks are, again on average, faster than whites.

I'll probably get severely flamed for this, but note that I'm not saying anything negative about anyone! And if you disagree with my reasoning, please explain where the statistics are wrong.
 

eawmp1

macrumors 601
Feb 19, 2008
4,130
5
FL
Flip a coin, because this is question more about prejudice and racial stereotypes than ability to rate basketball players (unless you are Jimmy the Greek)
 

agkm800

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2009
672
4
Having a discussion on stereotypes is one thing, but can't you come up with a better example? What's next? Bet on an asian kid in a math competition?
 

Unspoken Demise

macrumors 68040
Apr 16, 2009
3,687
0
>9,000
Having a discussion on stereotypes is one thing, but can't you come up with a better example? What's next? Bet on an asian kid in a math competition?
Mexican guy on a sombrero dancing contest?

Irish guy in a beer pong game?

Russian guy in a coolest hat competition?

Kenyan guy in a 50 yard dash?
 

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,027
1,798
Manhattan
Depending upon the discussion in class this sounds like it could be yet another one of these questions that one couldn't possibly answer in a way that someone else wouldn't accuse you of being racist. If that is the point of the discussion, then *that* would be interesting.

Say you are a white man making this decision. If you pick the black player, then you are relying on a stereotype that black men are better at basketball. If you pick the white player, than its naturally because you identify more with someone of your own race. Both could be considered racist choices according to sensitive individuals and the only way to avoid being accused of being racist is to refuse to discuss or particpate in such a question--which is a huge problem with race today IMO. Due to the fear of being perceived as racist, many will refuse to even discuss the issue.
 

Unspoken Demise

macrumors 68040
Apr 16, 2009
3,687
0
>9,000
Depending upon the discussion in class this sounds like it could be yet another one of these questions that one couldn't possibly answer in a way that someone else wouldn't accuse you of being racist. If that is the point of the discussion, then *that* would be interesting.

Say you are a white man making this decision. If you pick the black player, then you are relying on a stereotype that black men are better at basketball. If you pick the white player, than its naturally because you identify more with someone of your own race. Both could be considered racist choices according to sensitive individuals and the only way to avoid being accused of being racist is to refuse to discuss or particpate in such a question--which is a huge problem with race today IMO. Due to the fear of being perceived as racist, many will refuse to even discuss the issue.
I chose the white guy because the first white basketball player I identify on my mind is Patrick Sparks from UK. That short M-Fer could score a 3 over anyone. He was incredible and a joy to watch play.
 

Unspoken Demise

macrumors 68040
Apr 16, 2009
3,687
0
>9,000
+1. I'd bet on the black guy if his last name was Jordan and the white guy if his last name was Bird.:D If the black guy was Jordan and the white guy was Bird, then I'd flip a coin.;)
You'd flip a coin between Jordan and Bird? There's no contest. Jordan. Hands down.
 

3D0G

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2009
100
0
Depending upon the discussion in class this sounds like it could be yet another one of these questions that one couldn't possibly answer in a way that someone else wouldn't accuse you of being racist. If that is the point of the discussion, then *that* would be interesting.

Say you are a white man making this decision. If you pick the black player, then you are relying on a stereotype that black men are better at basketball. If you pick the white player, than its naturally because you identify more with someone of your own race. Both could be considered racist choices according to sensitive individuals and the only way to avoid being accused of being racist is to refuse to discuss or particpate in such a question--which is a huge problem with race today IMO. Due to the fear of being perceived as racist, many will refuse to even discuss the issue.
I agree with you. The question is just a springboard to discuss racism in general. And I think that people are too quick with calling other people racists (although certainly there are plenty of racists out there), and the fear of being labeled does stifle even legitimate discussion.

Regarding your example:

"Say you are a white man making this decision. If you pick the black player, then you are relying on a stereotype that black men are better at basketball."

Stereotypes are basically just generalizations, and generalizations can be (although often are not) based on statistics, whether carefully tabulated or generally seen or understood. So if someone makes a valid statistical argument for one or the other, then this is a valid generalization (or stereotype). In other words, if forced to make a choice, then we have to use whatever information we have given the circumstances. In the absence of specific information, we have to use more general information. Maybe the statistics are wrong, but calling someone a racist for using them isn't correct--the answer is to point out where the stats are incorrect.

The big problem with stereotypes occurs when people do have more information about a person but choose to ignore it in favor of the more general statistical information, or worse, just prejudiced hate. In the OP's question, however, there is no specific information about either choice.