The New Plantation by Billy Hawkins examines the experiences and the relationship formed between black athletes and predominantly white colleges (PWIs). College athletics has a major entertainment following within the United States, and many of the top athletes competing are black. These athletes are often stereotyped, not given proper schooling, and left with nothing more than a few years of athletic achievement while in college. Hawkins goes on to explain how less than 1% of the student athletes are able to generate 90% of the revenue for the NCAA. Finally, there are example of how some activists have tried to make reforms, and what can be done in the future to change the college landscape.
The third chapter stands out in that they provide a framework for the current issue in college athletics. It provides reference to the duality that black athletes must face while at college. They are not only seen as another student-athlete, but also as a black individual. There are ...view middle of the document...
Many of the athletes are from a household and social setting that is very different than the one that they are around in college. The oscillating migrant worker leaves their home environment to work elsewhere in the hopes of returning home for a period of time and distributing the wealth earned while working. In the case of college athletics most of the athletes don’t have any wealth to give back to their community. This leaves the household bearing the cost of the nurturing but without any benefit (Hawkins, p 124). Black athletes leave home in the hopes of achieving athletic achievements that will land them in the pros, but they also expect to receive an education that will grant them with a decent job after college. While most athletes no not achieve their dreams of playing professionally they also often return home with no real education. The college is lacking on their end of the exchange of athletic talent for education.
A solution to the issues facing black athletes at colleges may take many years to come into fruition yet Hawkins provides thoughts some possibilities. First, colleges must do more to make the transition for black students as a whole an easier process. The contrast is far to great for black students coming from their hometowns. Colleges should provide more emphasis on multicultural courses, and try to break down the stereotypes that plague blacks entering college. Athletic departments should refrain from falling into the cycle of hiring within the “good ole boy” network. The lack of black coaches in college institutions is evident, and while it is slowly beginning to change; colleges still have a long way to go.
This book did a great job of explaining exactly what I have seen firsthand while attending college. Black athletes come into colleges with labels already attached to them. They are expected to be the next star player and nothing more. Its no wonder they feel separated from their classmates, and even their teammates in some aspects. I can only hope that in the coming years these problems can begin to be solved. I do think that within the next decade we will see a rise in the number of black head coaches being hired. That alone doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.