Walter E. Williams

Nearly 80 percent of the players in the National Basketball Association in 2011 were black, and 17 percent were white, but if that disparity is disconcerting, Asians were only 1 percent. Compounding the racial disparity, the highest-paid NBA players are black. That gross disparity works the other way in the National Hockey League, in which less than 3 percent of the players are black. Blacks are 66 percent of NFL and AFL professional football players, but among the 34 percent of other players, there's not a single Japanese player. Though the percentage of black professional baseball players has fallen to 9 percent, there are gross disparities in achievement. Four out of the five highest career home run hitters were black, and of the eight times more than 100 bases were stolen in a season, all were by blacks.

How does one explain these gross sports disparities? Might it be that the owners of these multibillion-dollar professional basketball, football and baseball teams are pro-black and that those of the NHL and major industries are racists?

There are some other disparities that might bother the diversity people. Asians routinely get the highest scores on the math portion of the SAT, whereas blacks get the lowest. Men are about 50 percent of the population, and so are women, but there's the gross injustice that men are struck by lightning six times as often as women. The population statistics for South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, Montana and Vermont show that not even 1 percent of their population is black. On the other hand, in states such as Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, blacks are overrepresented.

Finally, there's a disparity that might figure heavily in the upcoming presidential election. Twenty-four out of the 43 U.S. presidents have been 5 feet 11 inches or taller, above our population's average height. That is not an outcome that would be expected if there were not voter discrimination based upon height. Mitt Romney is 6 feet 2 inches tall, and Barack Obama is 6 feet 1 inch.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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