“Race is a set of attitudes, values, lived experiences, and affective identifications”
Racism in Sports are rarely seen in society. The world of sports encompasses the modern day racism, and our society does not realize this without delving into the world of sociology. Throughout history race in society has emerged into a problematic issue in our everyday lives. The most controversial of racism found in sports is the uprising of African American Athletes. African American Athletes have been given the title of having the “Natural Ability” to compete rather than the “Financial Capability” to play sports in which the predominantly white men could. This exhorts questionable qualities to the African American race and how they are perceived in society as the lone “naturally” athletic race in sports.
Race in Sports
Race is something that is overlooked in society, an example of how race is exploited in our society is the roles of racism in sport of Tennis.
“Blacks remain “raced,” primarily as athletes, and Whites prevail “unmarked as racial subjects” in the role of spectators, the media, and administrators”
Tennis is one of the sports that is available to the white elite and prestige people around the globe. The reason is because of its cost. Tennis requires more training than most sports. Most young tennis prodigies need to have access to a facility in which they are privately trained year round. This is because tennis courts are not always available. The future stars have personal coaches, and this is one of the biggest costs. No other sport has individual instruction like tennis which means you have to have some sort of stature to afford the sport. Clothing, rackets, balls, and other expenditures add up to make tennis a costly sport.
One of the worlds top African American tennis players Serena Williams and Venus Williams is a prime example of black athletes victim of racism in sports. Although Serena and Venus accomplished so much on their journey to the top these successful sisters coveted the obstacles of any underprivileged African American athlete would go through. The William sisters worked hard their whole life to be successful in a predominantly white sport such as tennis. Serena and Venus were raised in the city, in a typical inner city stereotype. People in large cities rarely have money to fund sports like tennis. It is not often to see minority tennis players, and by minority I mean someone without white skin. It is not often that we see non-white tennis players, and on top of it she is highly skilled. Society thinks of blacks as being great as sports like football and basketball not tennis or golf.
There really is no such thing as equal opportunity. African Americans are readily resort to using stereotypes to explain their athletic dominance. It really depends where people live and what financial status they have. The Williams sisters are considered great tennis players because they worked hard for all their successes not because they had the most wealth. The city life and private life are two different paths to glory. The Williams sisters rose above the racial stereotype, and this is a boundary that most people do not recognize. The simplicity of racism is shown through the lack of support for inner cities to play the prestigious sports. Serena and Venus may be in a predominantly white sport, but even OJ Simpson could not transcend race because he did not try to. She can if she chooses to because everyone looks onto her as a role model and she tries to bring everyone together. Nonetheless, she carries the aspect of taboo along with her. Taboo has stated that blacks are great athletes regardless of what they play. No matter how big of an impact people may have, they will always have some sort of attachment to them because of race, gender, or orientation.
Serena Williams on Racism
There are four types of racism in society. Inequality leads to the scarcity of resources, and that allows society to identify people based on wealth with the tennis situation. Then because of the inequality and identification, hatred is evoked by the races. The racism spreads to the point where laws are made through codification, and then the racism becomes worse.
The civil rights movement was a combination of many movements in the United States that were aimed at outlawing racial discrimination. One of the most common movements that emerged was the Black Power Movement. This movement emphasized racial pride and became most prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a result of the dissatisfaction of some black activists with the progress of the civil rights movement. The Black Power Movement encouraged blacks to form or join all-black political parties that could provide a power base and offer a foundation to real progress. Many young blacks rejected the courage and patience displayed by Martin Luther King Jr. in his non-violent response to injustice in American society. The epitome of the Black Power Movement was the Black Panther Party. This party justified the use of violence in the accomplishment of black justice. There were many advantages that came out of this new approach. The most noteworthy was its influence on black culture. For the first time, blacks in the United States acknowledged their African heritage. Colleges and universities established black studies programs and black studies departments. The Black Power movement did not succeed in getting blacks to break away from white society and create a separate society. Nor did it help end discrimination or racism. But it did help provide some elements that were necessary for blacks and whites to gain a fuller understanding of each other.
African American athletes challenge the premises that all sports are fit for the “White Man”. As a black athlete I find myself dealing with a lot of the same situations where I was categorized as a great player, based not only on my athletic skills rather my race. These preconceived ideologies of a typical black athlete ultimately nullifies the hard work and discipline to get where they are at. Until we are able to address the problem of racism, by eliminating racial ignorance and hate, sport racial inequality will inevitably manifest.
Books and Articles
- Entine, Jon. Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk about It. New York: PublicAffairs, 2000. Print.