Race, Sport, and the American Dream

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Carolina Academic Press, 2007 - Social Science - 261 pages
This book reports the main findings of a five-year research project investigating the scope and consequences of the deepening relationship between African American males and the institution of sport. While there is some scholarly literature on the topic, author Earl Smith tries to understand through this project how sport has changed the nature of African American Civil Society and has come to be a major influence on economic opportunities, schooling and the shaping of African American family life. Race, Sport and the American Dream is a contribution to the literature on the continued relevance of African American athletes in contemporary American society. What is of interest here is the broader socio-cultural milieu that surrounds the dialectic of African American athletes and mainstream American society. This book is intended to provide social scientists and others interested in the sociology of sport with an understanding of carefully selected issues related to the African American athlete. Smith examines the world of amateur sports (Olympic and intercollegiate sport) using Immanuel Wallersteins World-Systems Paradigm which provides a lens with which to examine the colonizing and exploitative nature of intercollegiate sports and the special arrangements that universities have with the world of sport. He also analyzes the world of professional sports ranging from NASCAR to the NBA. All of the topics in this book from youth violence, to sport as big business which Smith terms as the Athletic Industrial Complexto incivility and criminal behavior by athletes, to the lack of leadership opportunitiesas coaches, administrators, and owners for African American athletes who retire from play, to the question of the biological superiority of African American athletes verses white athletes are addressed within the context of the history of racial oppression that has dominated race relations in the United States since its inception as a nation-state in the 1620s. Any discussion of race and sport must be understood within this context of power and domination. Otherwise, the importance of the question itself will always be (a) misunderstood or (b) underestimated.

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A New Sociology of Sports
The Genetic Argument

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About the author (2007)

Earl Smith is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest University.

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