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Essay on “Discrimination and Racism in Sports” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Discrimination and Racism in Sports

 

Discrimination can be defined as a social, economic, political or legal distinction made between individuals or groups such that one has the power to treat the other unfavourably. Discrimination can also be defined as the act or policy of treating someone differently, setting them apart or denying them rights because they are different from the majority. Discrimination may be based on the grounds of one or more of the differences of nationality, religion, politics, culture, class, sex, age and colour. Discrimination of colour is known as racism. Discrimination and racism are present in all societies worldwide. Discrimination exists in different places such as school, work and in the home. Much hate is expressed through the media as well. In sports, discrimination against those of colour, homosexuals and women will always be an ever-lasting presence. Sports have always been an arena for criticism, hatred and discrimination of certain groups or individuals. In actuality, racism and other forms of discrimination, within the microcosm of sport, will forever be a reality. The fight against racism goes back into the years past slavery. During that time, it was mainly white people versus black people. Today, in this multicultural society there are many minority groups feeling the squeeze of being born ‘non-white’. Along with racism come the stereotypes. For example, the notion that black athletes are the most talented at basketball, because they can all jump very high or that males are better than females (in sports) and the assumption that females in sports are not feminine. It is wrong to make such generalizations.

However there is little that can be done to change this frame of mind, symbolic of society as a whole. The argument that black people are the best basketball players is very strong for many reasons. The first argument being that, almost 80% of the athletesare of African-American descent. Arguably the greatest player in the history of the game, Michael Jordan, is a black person. If an athlete from a minority group can excel in a sport he/she is recognized for his/her skill as much as his/her skin colour. The media plays a big role in the issue as the influencing body of how society must think. People will always segregate athletes by their skin colour on the basis of their skills. There are always individuals trying to gain recognition for their talents rather than race. For example, people always refer to Tiger Woods as a ‘black golfer’ of ‘the greatest a black golfer’. But he resists being typecast as a racial pioneer. “I don’t want to be the best black golfer on the tour.” There are clear examples of white athletes making racial remarks in pro-golf. Golfer, Fuzzy Zoeller made a stereotypical wise crack about Tiger Woods saying that Tiger should go home and eat fried chicken and collard greens after the young golf prodigy played a phenomenal round of golf back in 1998. This remark was senseless and unnecessary. It sparked controversy leaving bad taste in the mouths of many. No athlete deserves a preferred treatment on the basis of skin colour. The infamous John Rocker, in an interview, made some very disturbing comments about various minority groups and New Yorkers. On the city specifically, Rocker had this to say, “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”

Rocker’s mindset is another example of all that is wrong with discriminating against people. As a result of this and many other remarks, he has become hated worldwide and he has tarnished the fairly clean reputation of Major League Baseball. The thought of his comments influencing others is a dangerous reality. Through media and family influences, racism in sports is an ever-lasting reality and reflects society. Ignorance is the lifeblood of a homophobic individual or group.

Homosexuality to an outsider is an unknown and unconquered place. The absence of knowledge and experience is a fear to man.

Unfortunately, part of society is stubborn and ignorant to the acceptance of homosexuality. This is even more so in the world of sports. In fact, using the words ‘homosexuals’ and ‘sports’ in the same sentence brought about laughter, disbelief or even anger. Once ‘out of the closet’ their superior talent and skill becomes meaningless. As well, the athlete becomes prone to criticism, ridicule and cruel jokes. The crude and rude comments by members in the media are a reminder of the negativity in society.

It is a reflection of people’s ignorance, stubbornness and hatred for others. Many groups and individuals believe that a homosexual presence can ruin their reputations and how others view them in society. Sometimes, people are afraid of association. It is hard to openly admit to being a homosexual. Individuals fear the rejection, ridicule and insensitivity displayed by individuals and groups in society. A female who steps into an arena or onto an athletic field may feel like prey in an enemy territory. Sports have generally been a male domain in the culture. The exclusion of women in sports goes back to ancient Greece more then 2500 years ago. It seems as if women have been fighting for respect in the sporting world for a long, long time. Women have made great strides in sports such as basketball, hockey and track and field. However, they are still suppressed quite a bit. The first female to ever play in a National Hockey League game suited up for the inaugural game in the inaugural year of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Her name war Manon Rheaume. They ended up losing 2-1 against the Minnesota Northstars. She never played another pro-hockey game. She was immediately sent down to the minor leagues and was never recalled. Seemed to have been a publicity issue, to play a female goaltender.

It goes to show how women are not allowed the opportunity to play against men. One-half of all females in athletics agree that homophobia was a hindrance to attracting and retaining women in athletic careers. The co-ed aspect of sport is non-existent Women’s sports are stereotypical less interesting than those of the men. The women are less physical, they do not show much fitness and are generally boring to watch, so the stereotype goes. For example, in professional tennis, the game is slower and the rallies are not as exhilarating. Women aren’t as strong and athletic as the men and do not display the same strength or skill level as them either. Women’s teams are not funded as equally as the men’s teams. This goes even for college athletics. This inequity denies women an equal opportunity to benefit from sports and sometimes denies them attending college at all because scholarship money is not made available to them. Not only in the school atmosphere, but also as a career women are discouraged from entering the field of athletics because the salary for female’s entering athletic careers is very low. The factors mentioned above occur mainly because the fans pay to see the more active and interesting men’s teams. Especially in spectator sports, women will always be at a disadvantage. Men play a more interesting and action packed game. Only five per cent of televised sports contain women’s events. Women play more fundamentally, which is , in fact, boring. Discrimination, racism and stereotypes will always exist in sports. There is too much influence making it hard for justice to prevail. Sports are mainly a reflection of society, the acceptance of minorities in sports will slowly take place, as acceptance of minorities occurs in society. Sports are meant to be for everyone to enjoy and differences are to be left outside the playing field. Sports are not to be political, yet some use them to make a point, some countries boycott the Olympics because of political differences and some also use them to make amends among countries in dispute. Too much pressure is put on today’s athletes to compete on the highest level possible Athletics are a common ground where everyone can have a good time and show case their skills in an encouraging manner.

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