Racetalk and sport: the color consciousness of contemporary discourse on basketball.

University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Sociological Inquiry (Impact Factor: 0.79). 08/2011; 81(3):333-52. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2011.00376.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article explores how a sample of college students discursively negotiated perceptions of race and ability in the context of mediated sport. A majority of respondents expressed acceptance of a link between racial identity and sport-specific skills. However, rather than articulate this notion overtly and directly, rhetorical strategies, such as disclaimers and coded language, were used. We analyze these responses as a form of “racetalk” (Bonilla-Silva and Forman 2000) to more specifically unpack the significance of discourse within the post-Civil Rights Movement era. Although the language used to discuss race in this sample, like the contemporary era more generally, appears colorblind and progressive on the surface, it is undergirded by a distinct form of color consciousness.

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    ABSTRACT: In the present article, we investigate the influence of sociocultural stereotypes on the impression formation of basketball players and coaches. In Experiment 1 (n = 32), participants were shown a picture of a black or white basketball player prior to observation of a point-light video of a player executing a basketball free throw. The participant was informed that the player depicted in the picture was executing the free throw. Results indicated that ethnicity of the target player significantly influenced participant evaluations, demonstrating specific stereotypes about black and white basketball players when evaluating performance. In Experiment 2 (n = 30), results derived from the Implicit Association Test indicated that black players are implicitly associated with athletic player attributes. The results are in line with social schema theory and demonstrate that - similar to findings that have been reported in the United States - a subpopulation of German basketball players and coaches hold specific stereotypes about the abilities of black and white basketball athletes. These stereotypes bias impression formation when coaches and players make assessments of basketball performance.
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