Yet, in quite a few fields, I can recall various non-whites of the past who accomplished more than their more numerous and more accepted co-ethnics today. For instance, Pancho Gonzales, a cholo from East L.A., was among the the top American tennis players from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, while there are no Mexican-American touring pros today.
With the French Open tennis tournament going on currently, I`m reminded that Australian Aboriginal-surnamed Evonne Goolagong won the French Open in 1971, 41 years ago, following up with a Wimbledon triumph later that year. You can`t get much more diverse than Australian Aborigine. During this peak era in the popularity of tennis in general and women`s tennis in particular, Goolagong (after her marriage, Goolagong-Cawley) won 7 Grand Slam individual titles from 1971-1980. She was well-liked by the public; not as pretty as Chris Evert, but cuter than Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
One question is how Aboriginal she is. There was never any doubt in the public`s mind about her surname: Goolagong is an obviously Aboriginal sounding word, similar to "billabong," which is famous from the opening line of Australia`s unofficial national anthem "Waltzing Matilda:" "Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong."
On the other hand, Aboriginal looks seem to be somewhat recessive. If she weren`t named "Goolagong," it`s not clear if non-Australians would have immediately guessed she was part-Aboriginal. This was an era of fashionable tanning and tennis players then tended to be well-tanned. Also, the most prominent Aboriginal facial feature, the heavy brow ridge, is less noticeable among female Aborigines.
Both her parents identified as mixed-race Aborigines who were assimilated into rural Australian working class culture. They were as beige-skinned as her, but some of her seven siblings ranged from brown to black. The Goolagongs were poor but not impoverished. They were the only Aboriginal family in a small town, and the Goolagong kids went to school with the white kids. Her father Kenny Goolagong was an itinerant sheep-shearer, but also the town`s golf champion. In the British commonwealth, golf is a less elitist sport than in America. And, Australia is possibly the most sports-oriented culture on earth.