Jarvie, G. and Reid, I.  (1997)  'Race-relations, the sociology of sport, and the new politics of race and racism', in Leisure Studies, 16  (4): 211 - 20.

[NB This is the introduction to the whole of issue 16, which is a  'special' on 'black perspectives' of leisure]

There are a number of academics sources on sport and racism: sport is variously seen as inherently conservative, nationalistic, an instrument of cultural colonialism, or as having positive integrating functions. Sport may be a site of struggle, a source of stereotypes, or arena to display masculinity and athleticism which is also racist. It may be a site of racial exclusion or institutional racism, exposing mythical policies of equal opportunity.  [A more detailed review of the different approaches follow, including neo-and post - marxist, black feminist, and work on Islamic athletes and the issues concerning them].

There is also a figurational approach which sees racism as an example of  'established - outsider' relations  [see file], which is complexly linked to other kinds of dependence and independence in a situation of unequal power chances. This approach has been applied to the US by Dunning  (see the reference page 217).

There is an emerging black challenge to the category of  'race' and whiteness as a dominant cultural norm. This work insists that  'race'is always articulated with class and gender. Sport is often seen as a  'sidetrack' [associated in the UK with the work of Carrington]. In the USA, Dyson has argued that the sporting success of American black people is often taken to be a demonstration of equality of opportunity, and the social openness of the USA, but in reality, black athletes are  'equal on the starting line, but the social, economic, political and emotional struggles that any given athlete had to overcome to reach the starting line were far from equal' (218). Black athletes can come to represent  'a black cultural fetishism for sport as a means of expressing a particular form of black cultural style and identity'  (218)  [the same points can be applied to black people in film, especially in  'blaxploitation' genres like Shaft -- and maybe in music?].

Overall,  'race' offers particular dangers for those wishing to find universal explanations.

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