African American Athletes

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African American Athletes

American student athletes have always faced stereotypes in and out of the classroom, being seen as self-segregating or "dumb jocks" that really wouldn't be at school if it weren't for their athletic ability. Although these stereotypes are applied to both white and black athletes, African American students, especially men, feel it more than their white counterparts. African Americans are already, for the most part, seen as intellectually inferior, so when they are seen in an academic environment they are automatically judged. If they didn't get into school just for being black, they got into school for being a black athlete. Excuses are made as to why African American student athletes and pro athletes dominate in the world of sports in general. From the time the black athlete stepped into the sports arena and began to compete with whites, white people have been looking for an explanation. In his article Sailes looks into the myths and stereotypes surrounding African American athletes, most of which have been created by whites. In loosely replicated the experiment that Sailes conducted with his students and in doing so I found that the stereotypes he discusses do exist and many people strongly believe in some of the myths.

I interviewed both male and female athletes and non-athletes alike and surprisingly most of their answers to my questions were the same. I asked them all the same five questions; 1. Do you think African Americans dominate in sports? 2. Which Sports? 3. Are there certain positions they are better at? 4. Why? 5. Is their demeanor on the field or court different than that of a white athlete? and 6. Have you heard any myths about why black athletes are better? Interviewee #1, A white female on the basketball team at Gettysburg College felt that black athletes were better at all sports and in all positions, but particularly in basketball and football. She has learned from experience that black athletes are more...
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