Have you ever been discriminated against, prejudiced or antagonized just because you come from a different religion or race? If no then you are good but if yes then you have suffered a racist abuse. That is the definition of racism according to Wikipedia. “Prejudice, discrimination or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”
Racism derive its ideology from the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups. This distinct groups are different because of their social behavior and their innate abilities as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior. Racist ideologies are being manifested in many aspect of social life like education, politics and sports. This article will dwell on the sports side of racism.
History of Racism
How did racism come into the world? Many have thought long and hard about how humans learned to be racists. According to Aristotle in his discussion of slavery, he stated that while Greeks are free by nature, ‘barbarians’ (non-Greeks) are slaves by nature, in that it is in their nature to be more willing to submit to a tyrannical government. Although Aristotle didn’t specify any race, he argued that nations from outside Greece were more prone to the burden of slavery.
He also remarked that it was the soul and not the body that determined inferiority. This proto racism is seen as a preceding factor to modern racism. Since then Racism started to develop gradually. It started gaining roots from the 18th and 19th century. More recently it is focused on the skin of the person as opposed to the innate abilities.
Racism in Sports.
Sports is one of the biggest multicultural activities in the world. People from different race and ethnic backgrounds come together to show their love for a certain sport. The Sport itself does not promote racism, but the players and audience do. Racism in sports has been a frequent and continuous issue throughout the world.
Racism in Sports has been around before we were born. It is often mostly directed towards Africans and African Americans. It has become so prevalent that the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity (HREOC) released a report about it in 2007. The report said racial abuse and vilification is a common place in international sports in places such as Australia, Europe as well as America.
Reality on the Ground.
Association football has a history of racism events. Players are targeted by their association with opposing teams while some are targeted by their own fans. A typical example can be discussed here. Kevin prince Boateng suffered racial abuse from Pro Patria, a small Italian club.
Australian rugby is another sporting events full of racism. Anthony Mundine had to quit and join boxing because he couldn’t stomach the treatment.
The famous NBA is no exception. The Black players that dominate the game still suffer from racist abuse. LeBron James the star NBA player’s front gate of his home was spray painted by a racial slur. He said this about his treatment. “no matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough”
In baseball, there existed racism as well. African Americans were barred from participating in the National Association of Baseball players because of regional prejudice and unofficial color bans dating back to the 1980,s. They worked together to create the Negro league because of the segregation.
Though this are a few instances that involve famous players, a lot of unknown names in the sporting world battle with racism every day. Africans who participate in other sports like golf, hockey and others still suffer racist abuse one way or the other.
Effects of Racism.
Racism has a lot of effects on the individual and the sporting events as a whole. With respect to the individuals they get angry, depressed and boycott games which does not fulfill the passion of thousands who paid to watch the game. The postponement of this games causes the clubs, competitions and fans to lose money. Some players go to the extent of hurting or killing themselves.
Another long term effect we can discuss is that it will cause teams to only have one culture. As in all the players to the management body will have people from one culture. For example only white teams will play against each other and blacks against black. When this happens sports will no longer be practiced worldwide and it will kill the beautiful invention.
Racism can again affect peoples’ motivation, enjoyment and levels of participation. If left unchecked it may result in inappropriate, potentially dangerous and violent behavior.
The Way Forward.
Racism is like a cancer eating into the cells of a person. To cure it, the weak cells must be targeted and eliminated like chemotherapy. One way to go about this is imposing strict sanctions on players, sports managers, and fans who engage in racism. The sanction should be heavy enough to serve as a deterrent to others.
The sporting community should be educated on the effects of racism on sports. What it could cost them. Research has shown that people stop doing some things when they are aware of its consequences.
Bodies and organizations specifically tackling issues of racism should be set up. Sporting federations alone can’t tackle it because they have a lot of responsibilities. Independent organizations should be set up and powered with the sole purpose of fighting this war.
When this is done it will go a long way to fix the damage racism is doing to our sporting activities. What else do you think can be done to cure this disease? Share your views and opinions on it in the comment section. Please share if you find the discussion interesting and educative.
FYA SPORTS: Because you and I love Sports.
By: Fredrick Adehe.