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Racism in Sport as Universal Issue to Be Addressed to The World

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Words: 2120 |

Pages: 5|

11 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 2120|Pages: 5|11 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Historical Context of This Issue
  2. Socio-Ecological Model in Analysis of Racism in Sport 
  3. Ineffectiveness of Current Anti-Racism Policies
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

The increasing amplitude of racism in sport is a contemporary issue within society. Racism, experienced in the form of racial vilification, discrimination and abuse, is embedded in behaviours and attitudes within society. It occurs when a sense of superiority is used to degrade a minority based on physical appearance, race, nationality, skin colour, descent and ethnic origin. Racism, which can occur directly or systematically, impacts all parts of society. It is prominent in the impact that it has on people’s involvement in sports and participation in physical activity. The interplay between race and sport can also be paradoxical, where an experience can influence a player’s positive or negative attitude towards physical activity; a shared perception of racial identity is significant in influencing a person's sense of self, where an experience on the field can largely affect their level of motivation, engagement, physical health and wellbeing over a period of time. Through the progressive actions of change-makers in sporting associations, the introduction of policies as a protective mechanism for players experiencing racial discrimination and the normalising of calling these acts out implies the likes of an ideal world, where racism in the sporting sphere nears its obscolecence. Racism in sport is the contemporary issue to think about in the essay which involves sporting associations, players and spectators, and exists as a prominent aspect of the sporting participation on a local, national and global level.

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Historical Context of This Issue

For decades, racism has served as the fundamental roots of underlying prejudice and discrimination in the sporting industry. Throughout history, racism at sporting events has taken many forms; in the early days racial abuse was protested to players thats were of colour by shouting racial slurs and through humiliation- throwing bananas to imply their position of inferiority. In a national sense, as policies such as the Racial Hatred Act  emerged-extended from the Racial Discrimination Act making it against the law to discriminate based on race, colour or ethnic origin, understandings of society started to shift. An increased diversity of ethnic groups in countries globally over time has demanded a change in social understandings of inter-race interaction. These blended communities are a way of life for many, a social setting that people are accustomed to, but racism still continues to exist, and it is in a sporting atmosphere that strong emotions constituting racism define athletes by their race rather than their level of skill. Not only is racism found in major sporting leagues, which often receives spotlight attention in the media, but is found on a more confined level in local and community clubs- the upbringing of junior athletes is reflective of the social learning of factors such as race in sport. While many have faced racism as a part of their sporting pursuits, the courage of people like Adam Goodes (former AFL player), Colin Kaepernick (former NFL player), and Muhhmad Ali (professional boxer and activist) in confronting racism inspires awareness and accountability, highlighting that not only does racism involve the interaction between players and coaches, but the influence of spectators and media, and to resolve this issue involves action on all parts. Racism is an issue that affects everyone.

Socio-Ecological Model in Analysis of Racism in Sport 

The socio-ecological model forms the basis of the factors which contribute to an individual's choice to participate in physical activity- in particular, how individual factors, social environment, physical environment, and policy and organisational change can inform views on racism in sport. On an individual level, the enjoyment of physical activity stems from the inclusiveness in a sports this comes from the support of a nurturing social environment. If a person does not feel included because of their race, they are less inclined to enjoy participating in sport, and this directly impacts their self-efficacy, their belief that they can reach an outcome equivalent to that of their peers who may be of a different ethnicity. Education on an individual level is also a fundamental factor of racism in sport. Those who are educated about the shared moral principles and values of society, that racism is not okay, may treat people of different ethnic groups as an equal and with respect. The social environment of an athlete plays a large role in the social climate and support network of an individual. If a person has a supportive family, and sporting community, they are more likely to have belief in their own abilities and are more likely to speak out against racism knowing that there are others who hold similar beliefs. Racial discrimination based on ethnicity can often deter people from participating in sport, choosing to avoid confrontation rather than stand-up this can lead to social isolation. Having a supportive group of people to exercise with, such as ethnic-based team sports may influence changing cultural norms and also influence people’s ability to participate in sport. Cultural and social norms have shifted in recent years so that is not acceptable to discriminate against someone based on their race or ethnicity. This has increased the rate of participation in sport for people of minority groups.

Physical environment factors may present signs of indirect racism where there is a lack of access to sporting facilities in remote Indigenous communities compared to those in the cities. A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households in remote/very remote areas were the least likely to have access to indoor facilities (59%), while major cities in places such as Victoria had greater access to these facilities (83%).

With the correct policies and frameworks in place to enable individuals to participate regardless of race, racism can be managed and removed as an issue in sporting culture. Policies such as the Racial Hatred Act protect people from experiencing the effects of racism and prevent people from showing racial attitudes because of the penalty that applies. Infrastructure such as Muslim only swim sessions also allow participation in physical activity without racial discrimination. It is through the socio-ecological model that racism can be defined and minimised to maximise participation of all ethnic groups in physical activity.

Ineffectiveness of Current Anti-Racism Policies

In a general sense, a large group of sporting associations, players, coaches, and spectators agree that there is no place for racism in sport. While most are on the same page, it is the forms of racism and the ways in which they are encountered that are often controversial. One common viewpoint is that racial discrimination in sport is an issue that affects everyone, and more needs to be done to address the needs of all people involved. Those who are born in non-English speaking countires are affected by racism the most, the Australian Scanlon Foundation Survey suggests, finding that 47% of people born in non-English speaking countries reported having experienced discrimination because of their national or ethnic background at some point in their lives, compared with 20% of the Australian-born. More than one in three Australians can identify ethnic groups that they believe do not ‘fit’ into our society, corresponding with 25% who reported being made to feel like they did not belong. It is believed that the policies in place are ineffective in preventing racism and this stems from a wider cultural issue that starts with spectators and on social media and is maintained through a tolerance for racism that begins in junior sport. A study conducted by 'The Conversation' found that racism occurs across most sports for both genders, with non-white children being the targets of the most abuse. One junior club official notioned to the inaction undertaken to prevent this kind of abuse, stating that “Some of our Muslim kids are regularly vilified but they’ve learned to shrug and move on.” Here racism is being normalized and there is little follow up for perpetrators and taking responsibility for those actions, instead the victims being “pulled out of the match for their own safety.” This self-removal means that the victims are forced to take responsibility for something out of their control. This is a learned response to help cope over time- the same thing happened in high league sports, where in a football game between Bulgaria and England, spectators racially vilified the black players. Because they refused to stop the play, the hate continued. Players who are victims of racism tend not to address it formally through established models such as the Racial Hatred Act because there is usually a negative consequence for the victim. Adam Goodes, who called out a 13-year old girl for racially vilifying him received enormous backlash that marred the end of his career. This case proved that while there is protection for players while they are on the field, there are no limits to off field, from the spectators and social media, and that there should be tougher punishment for those who commit these acts. One viewpoint is that racism is embedded in society and its culture- it is systematic and stems from cultural norms. The AFL has expanded diversity in their league enormously in the past few decades, 11% of all AFL players are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, from a population of about 2.5 percent. This can be traced to the days when Nicky Winmar, among others, took their stand against racism. While this is a great step forward, it is believed that that the AFL, while defining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as ‘heroes,’ is simultaneously systematically labelling these players as “Indigenous” and taking away from their skill and ability- characterized by race rather than what makes sport sport, ability. The final viewpoint is that sport is not seen as a place to voice opinions, and doing so can threaten a person's sporting career. San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick ‘took a knee’ last year while the national anthem was being played- his contract was not renewed and no team has picked him up. This shows that players who stand against discrimination and racism are not being supported by authority and wider society and are disadvantaged for speaking out.

Conclusion

Racism in sport is a reality in modern society; it stems from the unconscious and underlying biases from spectators, officials, players, and associations. Ongoing occurences of racial discrimination and vilification are prevalant. While racial attitudes are a major barrier to participation in physical activity for many individuals and ethnic groups, there are ways to change the ways that these issues are addressed. While the major sporting leagues have strict policy to prevent and disencourage racism on the field, it is also vital that this same level of importance is upheld in junior sport where many have an official process for handling racial abuse but it is rarely utilised- instead preferring to informally address the incidents through coaches or managers speaking to their counterparts on the other team. Action of authority is also vital in preventing racism. In the issue with Adam Goodes, the lack of response from the AFL reinforced that racial vilification was acceptable. If an offence occurs, it is important that those in authority use their position as leaders in the community to shut down racial antagonism and send a message that racial discrimination is unacceptable. It is also important that we increase inter-race sporting opportunities. Diverse networks expose people to different forms of cultural, educational and socio-economic backgrounds and help with developing qualities of acceptance and inclusiveness. Racism is a significant issue in contemporary sport, and unless it is addressed by all people in the sporting industry, it will continue to be an ongoing issue. Racism in sports is a universal issue. 

References

  1. Cunningham, G. B., Engelberg, T. E., & Frisby, W. (2021). Racial microaggressions in sport: Implications for racial justice, athlete well-being, and the sport psychology profession. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 12(3), 137-148.

  2. Edwards, H., & Edwards, M. (2017). Race, racism and sports journalism. Routledge.

  3. King, C. K. (2019). Race and the NFL: The social and cultural life of American sports. Rutgers University Press.

  4. Knijnik, J. D., & Tinning, R. S. (Eds.). (2019). Racism, gender and sport: Critical race theory. Routledge.

  5. Krieger, N., Smith, K., Naishadham, D., Hartman, C., & Barbeau, E. M. (2005). Experiences of discrimination: Validity and reliability of a self-report measure for population health research on racism and health. Social Science & Medicine, 61(7), 1576-1596.

  6. Long, J. H., Hylton, K., & Ratna, A. (Eds.). (2012). The politics of sport and identity in global perspective. Routledge.

  7. Phillips, M. J., Crouse, S. F., & Ralph, J. (2021). Perceptions of racism and discrimination in sport. Sports, 9(5), 70.

  8. Shin, F. S. (2019). Race and sport: Critical race theory. In J. Coakley & E. Dunning (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Sport Sociology (pp. 345-357). Sage Publications.

  9. Spracklen, K., & Long, J. H. (Eds.). (2020). Sport and discrimination. Routledge.

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  10. Yılmaz, M. (2020). Sport, racism, and social media: Racial discourse and social media data. Lexington Books.

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Racism in Sport as Universal Issue to Be Addressed to the World. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/racism-in-sport-as-universal-issue-to-be-addressed-to-the-world/
“Racism in Sport as Universal Issue to Be Addressed to the World.” GradesFixer, 14 Aug. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/racism-in-sport-as-universal-issue-to-be-addressed-to-the-world/
Racism in Sport as Universal Issue to Be Addressed to the World. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/racism-in-sport-as-universal-issue-to-be-addressed-to-the-world/> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Racism in Sport as Universal Issue to Be Addressed to the World [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 14 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/racism-in-sport-as-universal-issue-to-be-addressed-to-the-world/
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