How Basketball Helped Me Realize I’m Not White

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About Yago Colás

Yago Colás writes about sports, literature, and philosophy as equipment for living. He wrote the Cultures of Basketball Course Diary based on a course he created at the University of Michigan. You can find him on his blog, Between the Lines, and on twitter @yagocolas.


  1. Great piece, Yago, thanks. Very sincere and original. I´d be curious to know how some of your Heman mates respond to your writing on race. I wonder if some might feel surprised, or glad, or indifferent…

    • Thanks Megan. I had something very moving to work off of. I’ve wondered what others at the park felt and thought about these issues too. But we never talked about it. Probably, there would be as many different feelings and thoughts as there were players at the park. Thanks again for reading.

  2. The only racism I see here is your own sense of self-loathing. You say you’re the son of Spanish immigrants. Fair enough, but if your parents are Spaniards, as opposed to Latino, you’re white. Perhaps a bit darker than others, but you’re still white. It seems to me the only one in the story making an issue out of race is you.

    • Ryan O'Hanlon says:


      Whiteness and blackness are totally imagined, falsely constructed things. That’s the point of this piece, and the point of Steve Locke’s piece, which inspired Yago to write this.

      Read this:


      • Based on your very own logic, this article should not even exist. Blackness and Whiteness have nothing to do with one’s character or integrity but it does exist whether you choose to agree or not. Why does the writer feel the sense of “liberation”, for lack of a better word (or redemption, a word which was used), at letting go of his Whiteness? Clearly it seems to matter to him.

  3. He fesl liberation letting go of his whiteness because he is your typical self hating liberal. They are always the most obssessed people in the world with a person’s racial background and inferring things by it even though they generally preach otherwise. And yes Sir if you are direct descendants of Spanish immigrants you are indeed white. White is what racial background you belong to but it has nothing to do with who you are as a person. There is no white culture and much as liberal rascists want to make it so. Whites come ridiculously diverse backgrounds. A white person from Sweden and one from Texas in the United States for example are probably not going to live remotely the same kind of life or share nearly the same values. One day you libs will learn.

  4. Excellently written! I’ve found it hard to express that i feel most myself when i am least aware of my physicality, and this is one aspect of it. It’s important to remember that whiteness is something you have, like a bad back or nearsightedness. You can deal with it, you can try to control it, you can refuse to let it rule your life, but it will always be there. You can forget it for a time, but it will always be brought back to bear on you, and you don’t get to choose to give it up. Somebody will ask you why you hang out with “those people,” you’ll wonder why you got a job you weren’t the most qualified for, or you get accused of being a cop. Once you’ve been free from it once you can never forget the falseness of it, but you also know that it will be with you to the day you die.

  5. I really enjoyed this article. I’m biracial, and while my identity development is necessarily different, I understand the challenges of figuring out where you fit in and the pleasure that can come from stepping, however briefly, outside of racial categorizations in favor of more utilitarian ones. Heck, I even want to give basketball a second try.

  6. Dan Fogerly says:

    So, what, suddenly you’re black because you love basketball? Why are you embarrassed to be a white male? I’m a white male and I’ve never felt uncomfortable with who I am or what color my skin is. Neither should you. You must have a lot of self esteem and mental issues going on if you really feel uncomfortable in this day and age. Are you embarrassed? I can’t believe you actually posted this. What are you trying to accomplish from this article? I’ll bet you were just trying to piss people off and gain attention, so congrats, you did exactly that. Check my email address if you have a chance.

  7. LOL… Yago, you’re a self-loathing idiot, what a moronic article from beginning to end… Whites are repudiating self-hatred, unlike this dip$hit.

  8. wonderful issues altogether, you simply won a emblem new reader.

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  9. Why can’t y’all just let the man tell his story? He’s relating his experiences and internal narrative, and several of the above commenters are jumping all over him for it. Why is his voice considered less important, or his story irrelevant, simply because of his self-perception and experience of race?

    I think that the disparaging comments left above speak more truly to the prejudices and pain of the commenters, than to the quality of the article. Being white, and writing about being white in a racial context, does not imply self-hatred, mental illness, or attention seeking. All people and stories have value.

    And to the commenter who pointed out that there is no such thing as “white” culture: you are right, within limitations. There is no global “white” culture, just as there is no global “black” culture. There is, however, a specific American white culture, just as there is a specific African American culture. Being aware of that culture and the privilege that it contains is a part of moving the conversation on equality and racism forward.


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