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Racism in Sport
There are many races in this world. For examples, White, Black, Asian, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, Hispanic origins are majority races in United States. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0855617.html) Racism is mediation between human beings similarly and differentially located in a class structure and a denial of their humanity, even if that denial is unequal by virtue of the relations of domination and subordination implicit in the mediation. (Robert Miles, 1989) The ACPO had simplified the meaning of racist incident. It is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person. (Macpherson, 1999, p.328) Nowadays, research has shown that some people still have not learned from history and continue practicing racism, like in politics, economics, and works. Some people even practice racism in sport.
How do people become racists in sport world? Firstly, referee who practices racism and has prejudice against some particular players will treat the players unequally in a match. Research shows that black people often get bad treatment from referees in competition even though they perform well. Justin Wolfers, Business professor from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Joseph Price, a graduate student of economics at Cornell University had done a research about National Basketball Association. Their research showed that in 600,000 foul calls over 13 seasons, white referees called fouls at a lower rate against white players than against black players. (http://bpp.wharton.upenn.edu/ jwolfers/Papers/NBARace.pdf) It proved that black players are being treated badly and the racial composition of the refereeing crew assigned to the game affects the probability of a team winning. However, some players like Mike James of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Alan Henderson of the Philadelphia 76ers whose their identity is African-American disagree with this research.
Secondly, the coach tries to limit the time of players to perform themselves. If a player become targeting player of a coach, he is hard to get chance of showing himself in match. His performance will be affected also if he does not gain experience from formal match. The Commission on the Study of Black Americans (1989), Hatchett (1989), Omi and Winant (1986) and others report on the declining state of American race relations in spite of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Specifically, the Commission concluded that though the participation by blacks in sports entertainment was increased year-by-year, however, “Blacks are conspicuously absent from decision-making positions” (1989, p. 103) (http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5000231637). It shows that the black people seldom get the opportunity to make the final decision especially in the crucial moment of a match.
Thirdly, the player is being subjected to racist abuse in a match. The audience will hoot to the particular player in a match, especially when the player contributes to his team. Some examples are Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o was being subjected to racial abuse by Real Zaragoza supporters in Saturday, 25th February 2006 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/ 4751876.stm). Some Italian fans dislike the black striker, like Mario Ballotelli and Ivorian Zoro and therefore, the players were subjected to racist abuse wherever they play. Such as, Ivorian Zoro was jeered by Lazio fans and Inter Milan fans, in the Italian Series A games. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/ 4476412.stm) Those players had voiced out that they wanted to quit from the match when they are treated badly by the fans because they felt they were not respected.
Psychologists have approved that stereotypes is one of the causes of racism. Stereotypes can be formed due to limited information. Stereotypes in the sense of categories and concepts help us organize our thinking, helping us to perceive and remember more than we would without these aids. The problem with the stereotypes about social groups that underlie prejudice is that the categorization processes do not result in accurate generalizations. (Mark Feinberg) Once these mental schemas of groups and traits have been formed, they are activated very easily and completely denied only with the greatest of difficulty. One of the examples is American Indians. They have experienced the negative stereotypes from the onset of European settlement. The Americans shaped a perception of Indian culture that has been resistant to change. Even American Indians themselves have drawn from these films in constructing their own views of cultural heritage. (Price, 1973)
According to Baron and Byrne, the child acquires racist attitudes and beliefs by observing them in those surrounding it, particularly the media and popular culture, and parents and peers. This process can start at a very young age (1994). The child is positively reinforced by, for example, parental approval for demonstrating the same sort of language as them. This can also arrive via a process of the child modeling its behavior and speech on those important to it. (Reber, 1985: p. 447) If we are exposed under an environment which practice racism from childhood, we will be affected and eventually, we will become racist after growing up. In Malaysia football national team, there is no Chinese soccer player because some people believe that Malay and Indian have higher ability than Chinese and some believe that the head coach of national team was racist.
Besides that, some coaches will use racist abuse if it can bring them victory. The problem of racism was faced by North Melbourne’s Jim Krakouer as his opposition players always looked down to him. At the time, Michael McLean was beginning his career and, like other Aboriginal players, he was the victim of racist abused too. He said that the League had realized the reason of Krakouer was retaliating but League never took action to overcome the problem. When McLean was asked why he did not speak out until the mid-1990s, he clarified that no action would be taken even if he voiced out such incidence that time and therefore, he did not expect any action from League as well. (Lawrence McNamara, 2001) It shows that racist abuse will be used if it does work to win over opponent. The real life example is that England players were racially abused by Croatia fans in Zagreb on 10th September 2008 .The winner of that game would be the only team to qualify for Euro 2008. (http://dalje.com/en-sports/croatia-fined-over-racist-abuse-at-england-game/186019)
Some players get motivations when they are subjected to racist abused. They will perform better to rebut those racists when they are subjected to racist abused. For examples, Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds said that racist abused from spectators in the last match had fired him up in cricket game against India 4-1 on 14th October 2007. He scored 107 not out from 88 balls in that match. (http://uk.reuters.com/ article/idUKL147760120071014) The other example is Beasley. He and his French teammate were the targets of racist abused from fans of FK Zeta as they are blacks during a European Champions League qualifying match. However, he had done the only thing that he could do that is scored one goal in the match to silence the racists. (http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/ faced-with-racist-abuse-beasley-strikes-back) However, the famous Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o Fils had used a special performance to retort those who abuse him. He danced like a monkey to celebrate his goal in response to racist abuse he received in Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Zaragoza on 12nd February 2005. (http: //news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/ hi/football/africa/4261881.stm)
In order to solve the racism in sport, some methods have been carried out. One of the ways carried out is those who use racist abuse will be penalized so that they will realize the fault from punishment. For example, the fine was increased from 40,000 Swiss Francs (16,520 pounds) to 100,000 Swiss Francs on the Serbian football association by UEFA’s appeals body as Serbian fans were making monkey chants at England’s black players leading the referee to hold up the match. This implement does not work for those rich club, such as Sevilla FC, Liverpool FC. It is because there are many rich consortiums behind the club. Besides that, half of the fine will be suspended, pending any further incidents in the next two years. However, there were still a lot of racism incidences in sport, like a small group of fans painted themselves black and taunt Lewis Hamilton with racist abuse at the Formula One circuit in Barcelona, AC Milan’s Dutch midfielder Seedorf was the target of racist chants from Lazio fans in a 1-1 draw in Serie A and so on.
Criminal laws have also been set up to solve the racism problem in sport. A restricted model of criminal regulation has developed in the UK where football has been specifically targeted by the Parliament. Section 3 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991 was an attempt to deal with racist chanting. In US, under section 2000e-2(a) (1) of Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employee has an action has against an employer where there is a racially hostile work environment. This will be established if the ‘work environment is so pervaded by racial harassment as to alter the terms and conditions of his employment.’ In Australia, Section 9 of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 prohibits discrimination which includes ‘impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in the political, economic, social, cultural or any field of public life.’ The governments imposed such criminal laws so that the athletes are protected against racism problem. Those laws imposed to ensure that the athletes will not be treated racially abused and by the way, the supporters will not racially abuse.
The most effective ways is by educating people through campaign. In England and Wales the anti-racism campaign which was called as “Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football” had been introduced in 1993 as a joint initiative of the British government’s Commission for Racial Equality and the Professional Footballers’ Association, and the FA, Premier League, PFA and the Football Foundation showed their supportive in 1997. The campaign still continues until today. Moreover, some National Football Associations start to launch anti- racism campaigns to increase the awareness of racism problem and encourage the audiences to fight against racism. (http://www.givemefootball.com/pfa/pfa-news/lets-kick-racism-out-of-football—ten-years-on-an) A seminar which titled “Promotion of the fan-coaching by the youth sector” was established to focus on the awareness of the young people about racism and violence in sport under the campaign “All Different All Equal”. Research shows that quality education is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention (1997). Thus, to eliminate and eventually eradicate racism in sport, education is the most useful way to solve the problem.
The things that happen on a football field or in motor racing are a reflection of the reality of day to day life in Spain. (Isabel Martinez, 2008) It means that racism in sport in Spain has reflected the life of residents in the country. So racism that still exists in sport should be resolved as soon as poosible. Everyone in the population must be given an equal chance for selection. (Elke Wallace, 2002) Nobody deserves to be treated unequally since born to the Earth. So do athletes. They should compete equally and exert the Olympic Spirit. According to Pierre Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. It also shows that the important thing of an athlete in match is not to win, but is to take part.
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Fact Sheet 6: Racism and Football
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Fact Sheet 4: Black Footballers in Britain
APA Delegation to the WCAR in consultation with APA’s Committees on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) and Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA). March 15, 2004. Final Report of the APA Delegation to the “UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR)”
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