Black Athletes and the Effects of Their Sexuality

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There are two worlds created for athletes: one for the men and one for the women. The two realms are created because of the socially constructed characteristics of gender. If a man participates in a woman’s sport or visa versa, controversy is created. In addition, the question of an athlete’s sexuality comes into play. Randy Boyd, a black gay columnist at Outsports.com stated, "You’re black, you’re an athlete, you’re a Man with a capital M, and this is what you do, follow the script that has been given to you.” Many individuals also assume that all female athletes are lesbian. In today’s society an athlete playing a non-traditional sport for his or her gender takes on a large amount of criticism from both players and spectators. Sports have been built on the skill of the athlete. Now athletes have to maintain skill, public admiration, and a low key profile about their sexuality. Today’s representation of black sexuality does not suggest different from Hooks and West but is portrayed negatively in sports through examples of the black athletes. Cornel West, author of Race Matters, describes sexuality as a topic that isn’t talked about within both white and black America. Within our society, sexuality is considered a taboo and is looked down upon with disgust. “Needless to say, many white Americans still view black sexuality with disgust. And some continue to view their own sexuality with disgust.” (West, 515) Professional sports considered a business, and within a professional atmosphere, sexuality is something that remains concealed. Looking at African Americans in sports, the athlete’s sexuality is also looked at with disgust. Rutgers University’s women’s basketball team was viewed with disgust because of the way they looked during their NCAA championship game earlier this year. Don Imus, a radio talk show host, called the team “nappy-headed hoes” after their loss in the game. He also referred to their rough appearance due to their tattoos. Many people...
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