Football rarity: Northwestern's massi...

Football rarity: Northwestern's massive John Gill part-Indian

There are 9 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Dec 24, 2008, titled Football rarity: Northwestern's massive John Gill part-Indian. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

The bus pulled away from the Metrodome, loaded with jubilant Northwestern players.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

ldc

New Bloomfield, PA

#1 Dec 25, 2008
I would seriously ask the author to read through this piece again and explain why I and others should not see this as prejudicial -- if not racist -- against Indian culture.

A story about a defensive tackle who, IN SPITE OF HIS SIZE and ability -- is actually half INDIAN!(SHOCKER!). His granddaddy wears a turban, and his native country is full of poor kids who beg on the streets.

That is the story's assessment of Indiana culture.

And as a person of color myself -- one with a degree in journalism no less -- I find the way this story was played to be absolutely horrendous.

Of course, I doubt you or your editors bothered to really look at what you were saying.
yochanan

Chicago, IL

#2 Dec 25, 2008
ldc wrote:
I would seriously ask the author to read through this piece again and explain why I and others should not see this as prejudicial -- if not racist -- against Indian culture.
A story about a defensive tackle who, IN SPITE OF HIS SIZE and ability -- is actually half INDIAN!(SHOCKER!). His granddaddy wears a turban, and his native country is full of poor kids who beg on the streets.
That is the story's assessment of Indiana culture.
And as a person of color myself -- one with a degree in journalism no less -- I find the way this story was played to be absolutely horrendous.
Of course, I doubt you or your editors bothered to really look at what you were saying.
stero types make for easy stories.
mike

United States

#3 Dec 25, 2008
here is an article by Jim Odonnell from Sun times on Pat..
And folks, Rick Telander who works at Sun times wrote that Pat was offered scholarship.. What a false story that is. And Rick studied at NW and he is trying to recruit Pat to ND, who scoffed at ND. Rick and Ted, lets see how it goes next year and I will save this article and write to all of writers who spin it, and copy to Pat Fit at nw..

n recruiting myth and lore, Pat Fitzgerald crafted his Hall of Fame linebacking career at Northwestern only after Notre Dame declined to offer him a scholarship.
Not so, says father Pat Fitzgerald Sr.
RELATED STORIES
NU'S FIRST FAMILY
''Pat decided on our first full day of his official visit that he didn't want to go there,'' Fitzgerald Sr. said.''We didn't even stay for the full weekend.''
The rapid-fire decision came during a question-and-answer session with then-coach Lou Holtz and associates on the Saturday morning of the visit in 1992.
''This was pre-Internet, but Patrick had done his homework,'' Fitzgerald Sr. said.''The Notre Dame staff did their presentation in front of about 50 potential recruits and parents, then asked if there were any questions. Only one hand shot up, and it was Pat's.''
Young Fitzgerald wanted to know: Was it true you had to room with the same people you were assigned to for all four years unless you got married and moved off campus?
''They tap-danced around the answer, so Pat rephrased his question,'' his father said.''They tap-danced a second time and then a third. I could tell my son was not happy.''
As the day continued, young Fitzgerald, according to his father, pulled his parents aside and said,''I don't want to go here. Let's go.''
''I asked him if he was serious,'' Fitzgerald Sr. said.''I could see he was, so we went back to the hotel, checked out and were home before dusk.''
And the rest, God bless ye purple deities, is Northwestern football history.
Jim O'Donnell
NU Alum

Chicago, IL

#4 Dec 25, 2008
The "shock" is that someone with Indian ancestry is rather large. It is a fact that the average Indian is smaller in stature than the average American. It is also a fact that India has a lot of poor citizens.
You may not like those facts, but stating them is not racist.
ldc

New Bloomfield, PA

#5 Dec 26, 2008
NU Alum wrote:
The "shock" is that someone with Indian ancestry is rather large. It is a fact that the average Indian is smaller in stature than the average American. It is also a fact that India has a lot of poor citizens.
You may not like those facts, but stating them is not racist.
First, if you think that it is "shocking" to see a taller person of Indian or South Asian decent, you apparently have not been around a lot of them. I'm average height, and I can remember a lot of my buddies from college -- including one of my best friends -- towering over me. In fact, a common question was why they WEREN'T playing sports.

It's a generalization.

But let's say that is true. He is HALF-Indian. By that logic, the article is more offensive, as it suggests that the half-Indian part is so strong, it should have prevented the Gill from becoming so large.

Is that what you are suggesting? That no person who is of half-decent could possibly grow that large, because of the strength of the mutant Indian gene?

That type of the racist that logic is straight out of what they call crainiology in the 19th century. In fact, any good editor should have stopped the story right there.

And yes, India has poor people divided by a prejudicial case system. And SOME people where turbans -- a very small minority, in fact.

Then again, poor people live in the U.S. If a half-American went to the U.K. and talked about our nation, would you like if the stuff he was quoted was about the poverty in the Englewood area, or rural Southern Illinois for that matter?

And I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't appreciated it if every story about people of the Jewish faith in the Chicagoland area only described the minority most conservative, Has-sid-dic Jews who where Yamikas and long beards.

I wouldn't like it either, because I'd be writing that too.

More I think about it, I have a right mind to send this off to my friend who was a past regional president of the Asian American Journalists Association and see what he thinks of it.

Considering he is a 6'2, 200 lb full-blooded,Indian who doesn't wear a turban, I doubt he would like it too much.

I bet he'd make the same conclusions I did.

And I'm sure he'd pass it along to the heads of AAJA.

In fact, that is EXACTLY what I am going to do.

Can't be big because you are half-Indian. You've got to be kidding me.
Fred

Schaumburg, IL

#6 Dec 26, 2008
It appears that Ted Greenstein is forgetting and some readers that Population is 1.2 billion.
I remember people were saying Chinese were smaller in stature. Remember 7-2 Basketball.
Hey folks wake up, Gill makes reference to be in India when he was 12. Now friends tell me in India, no one begs at all. In fact, there are 400 million people, folks more than US population, in middle classes.

So lets say there are 200 million poor, so it is logical that Gill ran into the poorest place.

Does it not make sense? 200 million people scattered all over India. And out of 200 million, not all beg for food oK?

Do you see an article in Chicago area, how many people are looking for survival?

So it is good deed that people help out. So dont make any mockery out of this...

Hmm I wonder who asked him that twisted question? Must be Ted Greenstein. But no quote from him huh?

Wow what a spin-o-rama..

1.2 billion people, I bet 300 million people are taller than Ted Greenstein. And they are all 100% Indian blood. So folks in US 300 million, average height is 5'8. Take average count it scientifically and rationally. Not emotionally.

So Ted what is your height, do scientific survey.
And Tribune has always twisted facts on Indian culture That whats' my indian friends tell.

Hey dont matter, India is up and coming country so Tribune is about to go bankrupt may be it is catching up on all of these years writing ignortant articles.

It is glad Blogs are making more sense then article written by writer.
NU Alum

Chicago, IL

#7 Dec 26, 2008
I am an Italian American, and I don't cry over mafia cracks, or pizza cracks. Those are stereotypes as well, but they are based on truth, just as Ted's article was.
Fine, whine and moan, go file a complaint, play the victim. It is people like you that cheapen the word 'racist' Strange that the person the article was about wasn't offended.
ldc

New Bloomfield, PA

#8 Dec 26, 2008
NU Alum --

The author -- and you -- implied that it is shocking to see someone who has Indian blood be a big, strong, fast athlete.

That was the headline of the story.

Making such a claim is akin to saying, back in the 19th century, that it was rare to find a black person, a Chinese person or indeed, an Italian person of any intelligence.

And the logic used to justify that was because in the public eye, there weren't a lot of blacks and Italians doing "intelligent things."

It was a crock then. And suggesting that its "rare" to find Indian athletes who are big and strong is a crock now.

I assure you, you will see A LOT of Indian Americans in sports over the next twenty years, as the newer generations get more involved in athletics. And there have already been several Indian Americans in collegiate professional sports.

No one is cheapening the word racist. Suggesting that a population is incapable of doing something because of inferior genetics is the very definition of racism.

I'm not implying that Greenstein is racist. I'm implying that, by framing the story the way he chose, and the way the editors chose, the story came off as a racist piece.

Another thing ... how do you know the person in the story was not offended? I assure you that Gill didn't get a copy of the story before it was published. That's not how it works.

And even if he wasn't, that doesn't justify the story.

Just because you are not offended by jokes that assume all Italians are connected with the Mafia does not mean others are not offended by it -- as some people I know are.

The point -- no one at the Trib look at what they were actually publishing.

And the sad thing is, no one probably cares, or sees the error in their ways.

And they certainly won't admit they were wrong.
NU Alum

Chicago, IL

#9 Dec 26, 2008
First of all you are taking this puff piece way too seriously. It never claimed Indians were genetically incapable of playing football. only that Indians are smaller in stature.

Once you prove to me that the average size of an Indian male is comparable in size to the average American male than I will conceed this story is a "crock"

Italians suceeded in this country by PROVING their worth, not by crying to anti defimation leagues. Once there a lot of Indian Americans playing in the NFL articles like this will stop. Whining will not help.

You and those Italians that are hurt are easily offended.

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