5 Race and Ethnicity

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Published on October 24, 2008

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Sport, Race and EthnicityLecture 5Coakley Chp 9 (10) : Sport, Race and EthnicityLecture 5Coakley Chp 9 (10) Defining Race & Ethnicity : Defining Race & Ethnicity Race refers to a category of people regarded as socially distinct because they share genetic traits believed to be important by those with power and influence in society Therefore race refers to physical traits, but it is ultimately based on a socially constructed classification system around the meanings that people have given to particular physical traits Slide 3: Ethnicity is different from race in that it refers to the cultural heritage of a particular group of people Ethnicity is not based on biology or genetically determined traits; instead, it is based on characteristics associated with cultural traditions and backgrounds An ethnic group is a socially distinct population that shares a way of life and is committed to the ideas, norms, and material things that constitute that way of life Minority groups : Minority groups Race and ethnicity are often incorrectly used interchangeably due to the notion of them being “minority groups” Minority group is a sociological term for a group that experiences discrimination, social disadvantages and strong self-consciousness as a result of discriminations Not all minority groups are racial and ethnic groups, and not all racial and ethnic groups are minority groups Concept of Race : Concept of Race Racial categories are social creations based on meanings given to selected physical traits Racial classifications are fuzzy because they are based on continuous traits with arbitrary lines drawn to create categories Racial classifications vary from culture to culture (Why are Brazilians black in Australia and yet Brazilians in Brazil?) Race is not a valid biological concept Race in the United States : Race in the United States A primitive but powerful classification system has been used in the U.S. It is a two-category system based on the rule of hypo-descent or the “one-drop rule” (ie one drop of black blood defined a person as black) The rule was developed by white men to ensure the “purity” of the “white race” and property control by white men Mixed-race people challenge the validity of this socially influential way of defining race Racial ideology : Racial ideology Racial classification systems and ideas about meaning of race came about in 1700s (white Europeans exploring and colonising territories) White Europeans and North Americans developed theories about physicality of people Mental traits were seen as superior to physical traits Therefore white skinned people were intellectually superior as people of “colour” were “animal-like savages” (Hoberman, 1992) Therefore became convenient to classify whites and blacks in such a manner ie became institutionalised (blacks became slaves and servants - later degraded and subservient) Racial Ideology in Sports Today : Racial Ideology in Sports Today Race logic encourages people to: “See” sport performances in racialised terms, (ie. in terms of skin color) Use whiteness as the taken-for-granted standard Explain the success or failure of people with dark skin in racial terms Do studies to “discover” racial difference Traditional Race Logic Used in Sports : Traditional Race Logic Used in Sports Achievements of White Athletes are due to: Character Culture Organization Achievements of Black Athletes are due to: Biology Natural physical abilities Searching For “Jumping Genes” in Black Bodies : Searching For “Jumping Genes” in Black Bodies Why is the search misleading? It is based on oversimplified ideas about genes and how they work It mistakenly assumes that jumping is a simple physical activity related to a single gene or interrelated set of genes It often begins with skin color and social definitions of race The Power of Race Logic : The Power of Race Logic Black male students in the US often have a difficult time shaking “athlete” labels based on race logic In Australia Aboriginal footballers are often said to: Have “silky skills” Carry weight (fatness) Less likely to endure strict training Go “walkabout” Young people from all racial backgrounds may make choices influenced by race logic In everyday life, race logic is related to the cultural logic of gender and social class Sport Participation and Aboriginals : Sport Participation and Aboriginals Prior to the 1950s, Aboriginals faced a culturally imbedded segregated sport system Aboriginals participate in a very limited range of sports Aboriginal men and women are under represented in most sports Historically, Aboriginal males have been involved in highly masculinised lower socioeconomic sports ie football, rugby league, boxing Slide 14: Aboriginals are now being targeted as highly prized recruits in AFL and Rugby for their race logic “silky skills” It can be agued that discrimination now exists with respect to race logic in that people now equate Aboriginality with football as opposed to other sports The Biggest Challenge: Integrating Positions of Power : The Biggest Challenge: Integrating Positions of Power Even when sport participation is racially and ethnically mixed, power in sports is not readily shared The movement of minorities into coaching and administrative positions has been very slow Social and legal pressures are still needed before power is fully shared Needed Changes : Needed Changes Regular and direct confrontation of racial and ethnic issues by people in positions of power A new vocabulary for dealing with new forms of racial and ethnic diversity in our lives Training sessions dealing with practical problems and issues, not just feelings

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