"Blackness Of Athletes" Essay

3480 words - 14 pages

What does it mean to be a black athlete? 60 years ago, one would say that being a black athlete in a professional game dominated by whites was a blessing. "The athlete has proven himself worthy of crossing the color line."(KELVIN SIMS) In other words the ideology that they are a threat to white society is disappeared. This is not the same in today's society. A key issue in the neo-nationalization of the black Society is the creation of the sense of cultural identity in American society. Two athletes Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson have revolutionalized the game of basketball although are often condemned for there off-the-court Black behavior. This is important because the individual plays an important role in the nationalization of a nation, but only the elite are given a sense of individualism. As a result a different form of nationalism forms which is in cahoots with the Hip-Hop nation in the form of "keepin' it real".Today African American athletes dominate almost all professional team sports. In basketball some of the record holders were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. In football Walter Payton, Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Erik Dickerson, and Jim Marshall set records. Baseball's Ricky Henderson held the stolen-base record at 939 in 1991. From Joe Louis in the 1930s until Evander Holyfield in the 1990's, black Americans have almost monopolized heavyweight boxing. Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson were at the top of the game of tennis. Since Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals in 1936, African Americans have excelled in track and field sports. Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee won medals at the 1988 Olympics. Carl Lewis, Butch Reynolds, Roger Kingdom, Edwin Moses, Bob Beamon, and Willie Banks also set track records.How is it possible that a particular race can be so accepted in the arena of popular entertainment and sports, yet the American populous still does not have a homogeneous attitude toward the black athletes that make professional sports in America so popular?Beyond the audience that directly watches professional sports; the rest of America is still influenced by athletes who pose as role models and cultural icons in America. The negative aspect of black culture in the eyes of the public, or blackness, is regarded as a threat to the integrity of the professional sports leagues and to America as a whole. Blackness, as defined by popular culture is an African American's attitude such that he or she is extremely overt in the eyes of the public by emphasizing his or her race as opposed to skill. By wearing corn-rows or an afro haircut or preaching against white society, a black athlete can come to be seen in a negative light by the public, which in general, has its children propped in front of a television watching black super-athletes dunk the ball and walk off the court to put on a platinum pendant studded with 63 diamonds. This hypocrisy stands regardless of color of the viewer,...

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