Ahead of the Univerity of Colorado’s upcoming football game against UCLA on Saturday, the Buffaloes’ head coach Deion Sanders broached the topic of racial stereotypes while discussing how he spent his time when the team didn’t play last weekend.
Sanders did so by making clear what activities he did not participate in during the team’s bye week. Specifically, during the weekly Colorado Football Coaches Show, the pro football Hall Of Famer broke down what he said were the “three things Black folks don’t do.”
Without citing statistics to back up his assertions, Sanders ran down his brief list: “We don’t deep-sea dive. We don’t bungee-jump. We ain’t noodling, all right? We don’t do that.”
USA Today defined “noodling” as “the act of catching catfish with your hand by going into the water and reaching into catfish holes hoping they bite.”
Ironically, while Sanders presented his self-stated stereotypes, he also defied a separate one when he continued by saying that he has “hate” for catfish – a staple of soul food cuisine.
Though he didn’t say he doesn’t like to eat them, Sanders, who has made no secret of his love for fishing, explained further.
“I hate catfish,” he continued, claiming they “take all your bait food. They eat every dern thing. They get on your nerves.”
Addressing the prospects of getting bitten while “noodling,” Sanders was vehement.
“I’m not getting in the water to do that, first of all,” Sanders added. “I’m not a swimmer, either. That is unbelievable.”
Sanders not being a “swimmer” may explain why he included deep-sea diving on his list of things “Black folks don’t do.”
Although he didn’t really go there, Black people not being able to swim is yet another stereotype.
But Sanders may have a point with his gripe about deep-sea diving, as it was only last year when oceanographer Dawn Wright became the first-ever Black person of any gender to dive “Challenger Deep — the deepest-known point of the seabed of Earth,” CBS News reported at the time.
Perhaps unaware of Wright’s recent feat, Sanders said: “We ain’t going down there. Ain’t nothing down there I want to see.”
There’s no real racial data to support Sanders’ claim about bungee-jumping, but we’ll trust him on that one.
Sanders has been under an increasingly glaring spotlight since he accepted the job at Colorado and left Jackson State University, a historically Black college (HBCU).
Even before his official arrival in Boulder, a sustained narrative about his hiring has revolved around race in one way or another, including the unfounded idea that he was bringing HBCU culture to a predominately white institution.
Case and point: Earlier this month, shirts for sale online promoted the University of Colorado’s “HBCU state of mind.”
Colorado plays against 25th-ranked UCLA on Saturday night in the famed Rose Bowl in Anaheim, California.
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