This column is about step dancing. It's a dance popular among African-Americans, very active, a black friend tells me--never seen it myself--with a lot of athletic, cheerleader-like moves. They had a national step-dancing competition last month, the Washington Post reports, and the damndest thing happened: a team of white college girls from Arkansas won. Outrage? You bet. So five days later, after the result set off what the Post calls "a national ruckus," the organizers said hey, we made a scoring mistake. A black team from Indiana University tied the white girls for first, actually. They'll both get the $100,000 first prize. End of outrage? You bet not. When the whites were first announced as winners, the emcee told the mostly black crowd not to be so surprised. "Stepping is for everybody," he said, "If you can step, you can step." It's a black dance, sure, but it turns out the white team from Arkansas had been stepping for sixteen years. They knew how to do it. The video was shot by Anthony Antoine, a community activist in Atlanta who posted it, he said, "just so my girl friend could see how good these girls really were." Viewer comments were so harsh friends urged him to take the video off the internet. He wouldn't. He thought the white girls had won anyway. And he gets the last word. "I would really like to think there actually was a scoring problem," he said, "but I just don't think so... I would just have to conclude that we have a lot of work to do racially speaking." Yes. I wonder how many white teams will compete next year.
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