Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Black Baseball Manager in Trouble for Racist Comments

Cubs manager Dusty Baker stated that, as far as he had seen, Black and Latin players handle the hot weather better than Whites, and Whites handle cold weather better than Blacks and Latin players. For this, he is in deep doo doo with the racialist industry.

This is really a pile of crap, because in my experience, he's right.

It was pretty well known in the Army that in extreme weather, Black and Latino troops, equally clothed, fed and rested, were more susceptible to cold injury than troops of Northern European extraction. Likewise, Black and Latino troops tended to be more resistant to heat injury, while pale Northern European Whites were dropping like flies.

This maxim was taught in noncomissioned officer leader schools; and as far as I know in tactical officer training as well. We discussed it in unit training, and in the field, regular safety briefings geared toward taking care of the troops took this fact -- and it is a fact -- into account. It wasn't racism. It was a frank appraisal of what troops were likely to bring to the table. And in the world of 80 pound back packs, 20 mile ruck marches in extreme weather, where bad decisions even in training can result in death, there wasn't any room for polite lies that attempted to conform real life facts to critical race theories.

It's not that Black or Brown skin is ineluctibly tied to living in hot weather, or White skin signals the existence of a cold weather gene. But it is a fact that peoples living in hot weather climates such as Africa or Southern Europe appear to have slightly evolved to cope with heat. I think this is akin to the microevolution Darwin noted among sparrows.

It was explained to me that people with large noses, open nostrils, large lips, low body fat, and a slightly increased number of capilaries near the surface of the skin, are more efficient at radiating heat during hot weather. Many Blacks have these characteristics, as do many Southern Europeans and West Asians. A smaller number of Northern Europeans do.

As for people of Northern European descent, smaller noses and lip surfaces, a higher degree of body fat, and slightly fewer and deeper capillaries make them better at preserving body heat, and incrementally worse at staying cool.

Sure enough, on field exercises in the winter, Black and Hispanic troops in the units in which I served suffered a higher rate of cold injury. Most frequently, they reached a semi-coherent, clumsy, babbling state that signals hypothermia more often than White troops. They also hit hypothermia at temperatures and exposure times where similarly dressed and working troops of Northern European descent were asking to take off layers of clothes, because they were getting warm and sweaty.

Though cold weather injury was by no means restricted to Black and Hispanic troops, it seemed to hit them faster and more frequently. None of the troops under my supervision ever got frostbite, but several of the Black troops got a little "frostnip", a shallow freezing of their skin turning white from spending extensive time outside the turret of their vehicle, while the vehicle was maneuvering in a winter convoy.

Likewise, the pasty kids from Minnesota, whose folks hailed from Sweden and Norway, worked outside in T-Shirts in 35 degree weather (if they were working hard). Yet they only lasted a couple hours at peak efficiency in 120 degree desert heat and had to drink a lot of water to cope with their profuse sweating, no matter how well acclimatized they became; most of the Black and Hispanic troops adapted to the extreme heat quite easily.

The reason I have some faith in my anecdotal evidence is that the Army is asinine about duty uniforms. The traditional method for determining what the uniform of the day should be is to use a "human thermometer". A troop, or two or three, are sent to stand outside in the cold for a while. You have them take off clothes, or add clothes, to determine what they should be wearing. When they are just a little cold standing still, you assume that they would be comfortable at a moderate level of activity in that uniform, and that becomes the uniform of the day. Everybody in the unit has to wear that particular set of clothes. So the clothing level is normed, and my anecdotal evidence is therefore to some extent the result of controlled conditions.

I don't think it's racist to state this. Go ask an Army doctor about this, or a troop, Black or White, or Hispanic, who has served in a tactical unit that did both hot and cold weather duty.

Accordingly, "Harry Edwards, a sports sociologist who served on the faculty at the University of California-Berkeley for 30 years, called the comments "unfortunate and not totally informed" but said they weren't malicious."

I wonder why they didn't ask any doctors about this, especially doctors in extreme hot or cold weather climates...

I suppose I should have let the Black troops in my platoon get frostbite, just to prove or disprove Edwards' theories, huh?

Diversity may actually involve acknowledging that people are. . . well, diverse. In some cases, diversity might even be a half inch more than skin deep.