In This Chapter


Authored by: Rob Ruck

Routledge Handbook of Sport, Race and Ethnicity

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138816954
eBook ISBN: 9781315745886
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596677


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The shadows of slavery and its aftermath long distorted the study of sport’s connection to race and ethnicity in the USA. Scholars, public intellectuals, and the public discussed race’s nexus with sport almost exclusively as a binary matter involving African-Americans and Caucasians. Both of these groups were largely portrayed as homogeneous racial aggregations, their internal class, ethnic, and regional differences muted. Meanwhile, indigenous people and immigrants from North America, the Caribbean basin, Asia, and the Pacific were pushed to the sidelines as the African-American struggle to gain access to the mainstream of sport drove the overarching historical narrative. Stressing a before-and-after dynamic, scholars addressed either the impact of African-Americans’ exclusion from, or their subsequent inclusion in, the nation’s sporting life. Painting with a broad brush, they treated segregation as lamentable and integration as redemptive, but neither segregation’s upside nor integration’s downside were broached.

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