Myth #4: "Black People Have Speed Genes"
Reality: To put it simply: there is no way to biologically categorise race. This myth is based on Western society’s obsession to discriminate against physical features like skin colour (Harpalani, 2004). The differences such as height, skin colour and hair textures is due to the variations in climates, not race.
People who tend to be good at explosive-energy sports have a high proportion of a gene, ACTN3, which is responsible for the ‘fast-twitch’ muscle cells. Research has shown that there is a slightly higher proportion of ACTN3 in African Americans (96%) compared to white Americans (80%). If the reason that we see more successful black runners was down to genes then we should expect six black elite sprinters for every five white elite sprinters. Clearly, genetics do not align with racial stereotypes in sports.
So why has the genetic theory of Black athletic dominance been so difficult to debunk? Unfortunately, part of the problem are the attitudes of professional athletes and the media in reinforcing negative stereotypes regarding race and athletic ability.