new book by a UT Arlington sociologist offers new insight into how sports alter
and reflect the way we view the world when it comes to modern race
Krystal Beamon, assistant professor of sociology, examines several race groups in a variety of sports at all levels in new book.
“The Enduring Color Line in U.S. Athletics,” assistant sociology professor
Krystal Beamon assembles findings from previous research, data from the NCAA
and interviews with professional athletes to explore sports as a social
construction. The book is part of the academic series, Framing the 21st Century Social Issues and is published by Routledge. Chris M. Messer, assistant professor of
sociology at Colorado State University-Pueblo, is the co-author.
the topics addressed is the difference between the way Hispanics are regarded in
professional baseball compared with how Hispanic immigrants are regarded in
seems to be a concern about the growing overrepresentation of Hispanics in
Major League Baseball and its farm system,” said Beamon, who joined the UT
Arlington Department of Sociology & Anthropology in 2009. “While baseball’s ‘farming’ of
Hispanic players from places like Puerto Rico and Venezuela has been great for
the marketplace and has provided a new fan base, there is a fear that Hispanics
may be ‘taking over’ the sport that reflects a larger societal concern over
current immigration policies.”
a former All-American sprinter for Oklahoma State University, said she was
inspired to write the book after more than a decade of researching
African-American males in elite athletics. Messer helped highlight the
interconnection of race, access to sport, socialization and stereotyping.
makes this book unique is that we examine the distribution of several racial
groups in a variety of sports at all levels and offer sociological explanations
for their under- or over-representation,” Messer said. “Furthermore, we offer a
glimpse into some of the experiences associated with these outcomes.”
authors also looked at the under-representation of Native Americans in sports,
its connection to institutional discrimination and the emotionally charged
debate over sports teams with American Indian names, mascots and logos.
issue of how Native Americans are regarded in sports gained renewed attention
at the start of the 2013 NFL season when an American Indian tribe in upstate
New York launching a campaign condemning the use of the word “Redskins” as a
team name and mascot.
at least 40 years or more, Native Americans have said, ‘This is offensive,’ ”
Beamon said. “Still, the most popular sports mascots in this country are beasts
or birds of prey and Native Americans delineations. They are names and images
that draw on the age-old stereotype of the savage, warrior Native American and they
continue to play on that stereotype.”
said her work is intended to highlight the significance sports has in society,
but also to draw the connection to race.
large majority of athletes in the NBA and NFL are African American, but the
owners, coaches, sports doctors, trainers, and most of the decision-making
positions are still widely held by white males,” she said. “This mirrors
society in some ways and produces similar results.”
work is representative of research excellence at The University of Texas at
Arlington, a comprehensive institution of more than 33,300 students and 2,200
faculty members in the epicenter of North Texas. It is the second largest
institution in The University of Texas System. Total research
expenditures reached almost $78 million last year. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.