Skin color stereotypes in USA sport
The art of sport is formulated with the purpose of developing and maintaining coherence among individuals. It is used as a tool for establishing fundamental values such as equality, forbearance as well as fair play. Sport can also be used as a platform for which racism can be postulated against the people of the minority group altogether (Hoose 67).
Since time immemorial, in the history of football, in the United States, the position of quarterbacks has been predominantly set for the white race at the expense of their black counterparts. There are several reasons which have been put forward to counter this racial move, the most obvious reason being that unlike their black counterparts, the white quarterbacks are always ready, rarely make mistakes, and are mentally ready. On the other hand, the black quarterbacks are depicted as being gifted in terms of their physicality but lack the mental capacity which is required for the position as a whole(Craighead, Privette, Vallianos, Byrkit 110-118). The physicality which is possessed by the black quarterbacks is basically more physical in nature than with their white counterparts so that they tend not to be dominant in the position as a whole. The main focus of this section of the paper is to establish whether the perception implicated by the society which is aimed at enabling the stereotype of black and white quarterbacks meticulously by use of selections or rather exclusion in that matter (Allport 57-67).
History has it that there was only a single quarterback who led his team to the Super Bowl. This is awkward since in each of the NFL team there are about 96 quarterbacks in total for any given football season and statistics indicates that only eighteen were black. Football is a sport which is closely associated with the black fraternity thus the NFL teams always recruits 80% of blacks. Out of this percentage 95% of the quarterback positions are held by whites. It is true to indicate that the treatment of black quarterbacks have been unfair over there whites counterparts as African American quarterbacks have had difficult times in the NFL competitions (Allport 78).
It has also been proved to be a fact that most black quarterbacks from high school and colleges all over the country end up being recruited by these NFL teams and then converted to fit other specified positions other than the QB position. For example, when Joe Webb became the first college quarterback to pass the more than 2000 yards and in turn ran for over a 1000 yards for two consecutive seasons and thus termed as one of the ever-consistent QB in those two consecutive seasons, still he was criticized for the inability to handle snaps well under the center’s throw (Allport 79). It was further noted that he was poor in defense and lacked the proficiency needed for throwing. Webb was thereby converted into a receiver for the rest of his career and further went ahead to play Pro Bowl as a receiver. Other black quarterbacks which features in this list are Michael Vick and JaMarcus Russel who after becoming the first ever quarterbacks with number one picks were converted into different positions under intense controversy which reflected on their inability to concentrate and defend the attacks made.
It is wise to indicate that the stereotype of white quarterbacks over black quarterbacks is a phenomenon which is attached to race and is in fact depicted wholly as one which focuses on talent versus intelligence as a whole. It is quite illogical to postulate that since there has never been any other black quarterback who had led his team to Super Bowl was not necessarily an indication of the loss of talent of quarterbacks within the black community as a whole. Personally, I don’t believe or rather allow to be carried away with the stereotype as I consider Blacks QB to be as much intelligent as their white counterparts in general (Hoose 34-45).
This phenomenon is also a stereotype which puts blacks at a much higher level than there white counterparts. It is stipulated that white basketball players do not meet the specific physical abilities which are required for this type of sport. This stereotype is especially reflected in the National Basketball Association whereby more than three-quarters of the players are black. White men have not only been able to play the game but also win and excelled solely in the game to becoming one of the most sought-after professional basketball players. In history, there have been white legends in basketball. For instance, Bob Coursey and Jerry West are considered to be not only quality players but also very intelligent and physically fit as well. Stereotypes are defined as rather definite and over generalized notions which people hold towards particular set of groups’ altogether (Hoose 46).
It is surprisingly unfortunate to find out how racial stereotyping paves through the sports management and performance as well. For instance, when a white basketball player like Larry Bird performs outstandingly and so skillfully the audience will be caught putting in remarks which are aimed at exaggerating the unexpected performance through the existing notions which stipulate that white basketball players are intelligent and even work harder than their black counterparts in general (Hoose 48).
It has now come to be known that the media does the stereotyping in the sense that the commentators are made to postulate that black basketball players are gifted in terms of masculinity and physical ability than their white counterparts, on the other hand, the white basketball players are perceived to be superior in terms of intelligence and wit and are known to be working ethically better and with precision than their black counterparts.
However, it is argued that since black basketball players are overrepresented in this game than their counterparts the whites, definitely implies that they possess a rather superior level of performance. It is however illogical that people go well beyond the individual capabilities to infer performance to specific races. It is further argued that most people possess the individuating factor and thus overgeneralize the matter at hand altogether. The ease with which the perceivers have been able to assess the individuating information has, in turn, facilitated the fact that the athletic ability of individual basketball players may at most times override the utility of race which is used in establishing the rather uncertain performance of basketball players at large. The stereotype that white basketball players lack the physical capability needed in the basketball game is an individuating factor which enhances the notion that stipulates “white men can’t jump” (Hoose 50).
It is stipulated that there are numerous forms of attributions which are made to both the in-groups and out-groups which acts towards bringing about the necessity needed for successful outcomes as a whole. For instance, there is a credit which is placed that describes or rather portrays successful out-group events to be linked with definite and unstable causes which in turns predicts the positive stability needed in the black basketball players as opposed to there counterparts as whole.
At even more distinguished and complex levels, it is further stipulated that the aforementioned phenomenon existed because of the compensatory factor so that the un-athletic and physically weak white basketball player were perceived to be in possession of more skills and knowledge than there black counterparts who possessed the physical capabilities as a compensation for there lack of skills and task execution.
Putting attention to the field of basketball, it is quite clear to indicate that when people hold onto racial stereotypes about the overall performance of basketball then the influence is depicted on the way both the black and white basketball players are postulated by their fans as well as the extended management as a whole. This aspect about basketball performance by both the white and black players can well be illustrated by the “perceptual confirmation effect”. This is a form of study which is conducted to any person who performs an action irrespective of whether he or she is affected by the racial stereotype or not. This research confirms that different individuals respond to this phenomenon quite differently as they perceive the meaning of the performance in so many ways. It should be noted that the differences which arises out of these respondents is related wholly to the behaviors of the basketball players in general (Anderson 18).
For example, when research was conducted to determine the reaction of individual participants especially when pushing was done by black basketball players against there white basketball player counterparts; it was found out that the white participants become more violent when the black conducted the pushing as compared to when the white basketball player did the pushing. The main goal of the perceptual confirmation procedures is to determine whether the stipulated stereotyped expectations about players does in any way affect the judgment or rather behavior of the person’s under study.
As Professor Harry Edward puts it, “The result in both sport and society has been the establishment and perpetuation of what is in effect a plantation system of authority arrangements with Whites commanding a virtual monopoly on power and decision-making roles with a negligible proportion of token Blacks in mid-level junior executive positions, and with the masses of Blacks concentrated in lower echelon, relatively powerless production roles” (Anderson 11).
As much as black sportsmen have in general been described as superior athletes, in most cases these perception has been turned against them in the sense that they are perceived to lack capabilities and skills which they need in dealing with commitment, discipline and controlling efforts while there white counterparts receive the credit instead. It will therefore be wise to ask ourselves whether whites, who dominates in all other aspect of American life, felt somehow humiliated to black in certain sports thus depicted the aspect of bitterness altogether.
When players were asked whether they felt any form of racism directed towards them, they retorted that whites, in general, received most of the favors while still performing in their respective sports as compared to them. It was also discovered that retired baseball and football players were not in any allowed to take up coaching after completing there careers as a whole(Anderson 27). This phenomenon is considered to be the reason as to why the African-American perceive professional sports as the gateway to success and thus ignoring academic intellectuality.
In a similar manner when the opinions of African-American was sought concerning the opportunities which avail themselves in coaching or executive managerial positions at least 70% of them indicated that blacks were segregated against as a race was one of the pioneer pillars used in selecting coaches. At least 73% of the participants indicated that the white persons had a better chance for acquiring a coaching job even when there qualifications matched with those of their respective black counterparts. On the other hand, only 30% of the white participants agreed to the fact that race was a determinant factor when choosing or rather selecting the coaches as only 46% indicated that equally qualified white coaches had better chances of being selected over there black counterparts (Anderson 35-45).
Apart from the aforementioned theories which puts research into finding out whether there are reasons for why people of different race behave the way they do, another theorist, Immanuel Kant, postulated that the fact that people should be made to understand that the way they behave should not be determined by the resultant consequences of their actions but out of the recognition that by doing it then it will be considered morally wrong. In his categorical imperative explanation, Kant indicated that the solution to such vices as racism will be achieved when people learn to treat others as ends and not as means. This was clearly a way for which he recognized the most sought after need of treating others with respect and not simply because by doing so it was to benefit any individual member of the society. He also emphasized on the need to recognize and appreciate the immeasurable value of human life altogether (Anderson 25).
Furthermore, institutions such as schools and other educational institutions are encouraged to conduct there part in fighting against racial discrimination in the field of sport. Further solutions involve the teaching of teachers as well as coaches who will in turn possess the skills required in developing and maintaining multicultural teams as whole. The adaptation of comprehensive diversity notions should be taken into consideration so that equal sport opportunities are presented to all the races without segregating individuals in terms of race and color in that matter. The legal frameworks especially the government is also advised to put in place stringent measure which will help to deter members within a given society the possibility to racially discriminate against others (Biemat& Mout 5). Those found guilty of segregating others in terms of their color especially in sports are expected to be punished by way of imposing harsher fines in order to deter others from conducting themselves in the same way altogether.
In baseball, there are great black players who did not have the chance to receive the props they needed because of there colors. It is further indicated that these black players are never perceived in the baseball records because the managers fail to recognize there individual talent and skills. For instance, Jackie Robinson was one of the very first few blacks who managed to break barricades and hence receive recognition as a true black player but was later pulled off from the squad citing his inability to correlate the ball well and score marks.
The racism factor is not depicted in the selection of players but also in coaching. For instance, in the 1980’s, an executive with Los Angeles Dodgers, Al Campanis retorted that the reason as to why there were few or no black managers in the sport was because they lacked the necessities and skills to conduct the players as well as the game. He also indicated that the black players were bred in the slavery trade to become individuals with big thighs and feet which in turn gave them an upper hand over the white counterparts.
As much as these sentiments from Al Campanis caused a very great stir in the sports fraternity, it was perceived that the Americans never had imagined that there was still the existence of racism in the society let alone the sports field. Black players who participated in the game of baseball were over-generalized as being unwitting but natural forms of performers who were born with the advantage of rising within the required skills required within the sports fraternity. There are several explanations which are attributed to this form of phenomenon and the first is related to the sociological factor so that blacks are perceived to be from the ghetto where they are constantly fighting poverty and numerous distresses in life and in turn ending up to become strong within challenging environments but lacking the capacity to get themselves out of the situation as a whole.
As much as people perceive sports as a fundamental platform upon which the race factor is supposedly eliminated. Unfortunately, the aspect of sports is in itself a clear depiction of the society as a whole for the phenomenon aspect of racism is in itself synchronized within the sports fraternity culture. This facet has lead to the fact that black athletes are in turn left to depict the aspect of double consciousness and thus bearing a pride for being blacks while on the other hand believe that there success will only be determined by the prevailing white society.
The problem of including the African-American athletes into the baseball games dates way back to college whereby the black college athlete was made to understand that they were just but “super spades” meaning that they were expected to perform at higher capacities in order to get involvement in the sport as opposed to there white counterparts who were selected after a simple criterion was established. It is also a known fact that black baseball players were supposed to be perceived as superstars on there respective teams in order to get the much anticipated chance they needed of joining national teams altogether.
For instance, Jackie Robinson was perceived to be an outstanding player only when he outshone all other black players in the field of baseball game. He was later perceived to be in possession of anticipated skills which he will use to score points. Were it not for this fact, it is believed that he will not have even received the popularity he had in the game. He was already a superstar before he joined the professional team altogether.
It is a known fact that most of the hockey players are whites and even though there are blacks who participate on the same very few of them are appreciated by both the management as well as the fans while conducting the sport altogether. History has it that the white hockey players are hardworking, smart and intelligent. White players are also perceived to posses the natural capability to lead others while making important decisions while still playing the game. This features give them an upper hand over there counterparts in the sense that the game as a whole is determined by skills rather than the physical ability which the black athletes are mythically believed to have acquired naturally all the same.
Unlike football and basketball, where speed and masculinity gives athletes an upper hand over there rivals, in hockey the selection of players only favors those who depict distinguished characteristics as well as witty skills. The stereotype underlying the white player as having this forms of attributes is a clear pass in to the sport altogether. The black fraternity are thereby left to pack outside and those who are selected for the game are expected to have performed exceptionally well during there college times: they need to have been superstars as a whole for them to earn a position in the game altogether.
A research conducted indicated that the society as whole is clouded by this criterion of placing as well as associating players to certain types of games while attributing to them as exceptional performers in the other games. Since there are no straight ways for which to subject justice for this forms of placements and judgments, the sports management board are advised to term this criterion as basically a form of vice which downplays the ethics of morality in the area of sports as a whole. There are basically two theories which have been put forward to expound on this form of phenomenon altogether. These “two ways of thinking” as they are commonly put are deontology and the theory associated with consequentialism (Biemat & Manis 4).
Deontology as a theory in itself puts more emphasis on the fact that the consequences of meticulous forms of actions are not to be in any way related to the decision that the aforementioned action is morally right or not. It further stipulates that the moral worth of an action depends entirely on the characteristic trait of the action in itself. On the other hand, the consequentialists believe that the determinant of whether an action is morally right or not lies with the resultant consequences which are attributed to these actions as a whole.
This facet therefore implies that the only way which can be used to place judgments on actions is the determined as the only element which is to be considered as b being perpetual and not the action or morality of the matter as a whole. These two theories have always been used to provide reasons for this form of unethical behavior especially in sports. They help in understanding the fact that both sociological and academically pursuits do not have an upper hand in the real world phenomenon in fact they are made vulnerable and thus diminish with time(Biemat & Manis 3).
There is yet another theory which explains the existence of racism in sports. The theory of utilitarianialism depicts the fact that which is considered morally right is basically judged by the entire principal of utility in the sense that evil is never given the chance to prevail since there is maximization of the positive amounts of goods altogether so that the happiness which is to be experienced by the majority takes the precedence over the rest.
In sports, this theory is taken to mean the fact that it will take the management all it takes to satisfy the utility of both the fans and the general society as a whole (Biemat & Manis 2-5). This then means that the selection of the players based on there specific colors is in one way or another determined by the overall impact it will have on those supporting the game in most cases financially: fans. If by selecting a white Quarterback over a black one will maximize the utility derived from these fans then the selection panel will not hesitate to come up with ways through which they can do that and satisfy the crowd.
All in all, I don’t think that these facets of categorizing players over others are in any way helpful or tactical to the teams in that matter. It is pretty clear that people posses almost the same qualities which they need for survival and it will be quite illogical to discriminate players with there colors at the expense of others. It is very common to find out that whites are as skilled as there black counterparts in basketball while the vice versa is true in sports such as baseball and football. It will therefore be wise for teams to select players not because of there color but because there are certain that those players are competent and posses the skills which are required in order to bring about the growth and development of the games as a whole. Let not sports be platform for which racial inequality be perceived but rather be a platform for which all races can freely intertwine to bring about the coherence everybody needs in this world.