In Black and White: Race and Sports in America
Confronts the pressing problems surrounding race and diversity in the front offices of the American sports industry
From the years of the Negro Leagues in baseball up to today, when college basketball programs entice and then fail to educate young Black men, sports in America have long served as a barometer of the country's racial climate. Just as Black employees are often barred from the upper echelons of corporate America, they are underrepresented in the front offices of the sports industry as well. In this compact volume, Kenneth L. Shropshire confronts prominent racial myths head-on, offering both a history of-and solutions for-the most pressing problems currently plaguing sports.
Despite the fact that Black athletes represent a huge majority of the American sports industry, the majority of ownership stake in professional basketball, baseball, and football teams is still held by white owners. And yet, when confronted with programs intended to diversify their front offices, many teams resort to the familiar refrain of merit-based excuses: there simply aren't enough qualified Black candidates or they don't know how to network. These hollow excuses not only stigmatize and exclude Black employees, but directly contradict the important value Black candidates can bring to these roles. In the insular world of sports, where former players often move up to become coaches, managers, executives, and owners, Black candidates are eminently qualified. After decades of active involvement with their sport, they often bring to the table experiences more relevant to the Black players on their teams. As a central aspect of American life, the sports industry has a responsibility to be a leader in the fight for racial equality-a responsibility that has not yet been met.
In Black and White takes the industry to task, revealing claims of colorblindness and reverse racism as self-serving deflection and scrutinizing professional and collegiate sports, sports agents, and owners alike. No mere critique, however, the volume looks optimistically forward, outlining strategies that will drive the sports industry toward greater racial equality, and help it lead the way for racial justice efforts throughout America.
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