RR6: Chapter 7

Race has always been a huge issue in the United States dating back to the founding of our country. Race issues are no different in sports.

Ethnicity and race are closely related but contrary to popular belief, but they should not be regarded as an interchangeable term. Ethnicity refers to one’s heritage, and race often gets referred to as skin color but is actually race is your physical characteristics.

Black athletes in the early 1900’s participated in organized sports leagues called “negro leagues”. But blacks were not allowed to play in white leagues. That was until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. A fair share of his own teammates and fan’s believed that racial integration was wrong. Despite the critics by 1948, several other black athletes joined the MLB.  Nevertheless, it took until 1959 that every MLB team was racially integrated.

Activism became prominent in black athletes in the 1960’s and 1970’s. One of the most prominent examples of Black activism was the Black Power salute in the 1968 Mexico City Games.  Tommie Smith and John Carlos received their metals and brought attention to Black heritage. The two athletes brought attention to Black poverty, Black pride, Black lynchings, and the most prominent gesture the fist to the sky symbolizing black pride.

In many professional sports leagues, there almost always a dominating race within the sport. The MLB is a lopsided 61% White, with the next predominate race at 27% being Latino. The NBA is predominantly Black at 78%, and the next race is white at 18%. The NFL is also predominantly Black at 67%, and the next race is white at 31%. Why is there a more predominate race in each league?

In conclusion, race has always been a huge issue, is currently an issue, and will always be an issue in sports and culture.  Race should not be a current issue in sports anymore, sports have no color.

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