Racism And Discrimination In Sports Essay

2473 words - 10 pages

Introduction
      Dealing with the issue of sport and ethnology, three major factors come to mind; prejudice, racism, and discrimination. These factors span across gender, ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural groups. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss how these factors have played a part in the evolution of sport in our society. The first issue tackled in this paper will be racism in sports, followed by prejudice and discrimination.

Racism
     ?A definition of race might rely on an outward manifestation such as color or some other physiological sign. Race and ethnicity (and to some degree nationality) also imply a shared socio-cultural heritage and belief system. Finally, race and ethnicity harbor a physiological self-identification. Indeed, this factor is perhaps the most important in defining the identity of an ?ethnic? or ?racial? individual. It implies a conscious desire on the part of a person to belong to an aggregate of people, which possesses unique cultural characteristics, rituals and manners and a unique value system.

     North America is, and always has been, an ethnically diverse society. Yet this cultural diversity along religious, ethnic and national lines had been tolerated only in a limited degree, end even only on the dominant Anglo-Saxon elite?s terms.? (Eisen and Wiggins, 1994, p. xii). History books repeatedly show this in their pages. A person can not pick up a history book and read through the pages with out finding something on how a particular athlete or group of athletes were persecuted because of their race. Part of the American dream that is taught to our youth of is freedom, equality and the ability to move ahead in life if a person is motivated to do so. It is unfortunate that this isn?t the case; that is unless the person fits into the right sociological group.

     For instance, ?The American Dream of unlimited possibilities was shattered for black athletes. By 1900 most of them had successfully been excluded from American sport and were forced to establish their own separate sporting organizations. The most famous of these were the black baseball leagues, a loose aggregate of teams that did not achieve much organizational structure until Rube Foster founded the National Negro Baseball League in 1920. Late nineteenth-century black athletes were often disturbed by their inability to be classified by anything other than race. They recognized the symbolic importance of their triumphs to the black community, but wanted to be acknowledged as outstanding athletes rather then simply outstanding black athletes.? (Eisen and Wiggins, 1994, pp 137-138) For blacks being distinguished in this manor was demeaning to them; as well as it should be. One of their ways of protesting against this came at the XIX Olympiad.

     During these games black American athletes decided to protest against social injustice. Athletes such as Jim Hines, Tommie Smith, John Carlos?and other black Americans decided to...

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