The 1986 movie Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman was loosely based on the story of an all-white southern Indiana high school team that won the state championship in 1954. The movie is a classic sports underdog story, and I encourage everyone to watch it, particularly for its awful racist nostalgia. The movie is incomprehensibly silent about the very real racial history of the period (1950s) or the region (southern Indiana). Throughout southern Indiana during the early 20th century there were hosts of sundown towns, or towns where people of color passing through after dark could expect racist violence. Additionally, very few southern Indiana high schools were integrated, so their depiction of white and black kids sitting together cheering on their Hoosiers is down right historical-fiction.
Our dear friend, the author of this tweet, is clearly nostalgic for this “simpler” time in America when whites could perpetrate violence against people of color without impunity, where “Blacks” didn’t play basketball because they couldn’t (via segregation or racist violence). The author of this tweet even manages to deploy the word “Blacks” as a kind of slur. “Blacks,” here used to talk about the Black men who “ruined” the NBA, and also made it one of the most profitable professional sporting leagues in the world.
At the risk of stating the obvious: people are still racist, you know.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, and David Dietrich. “The sweet enchantment of color-blind racism in Obamerica.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 634.1 (2011): 190-206.
Briley, Ron. “Basketball’s Great White Hope and Ronald Reagan’s America: Hoosiers (1986).” Film History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies 35.1 (2005): 12-19.
Hill, Jane H. The everyday language of white racism. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
Tudor, Deborah. “The race, religion, and ideology of sports.” Jump Cut 33 (1988): 2-9.