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Promoting racial harmony and breaking stereotypes

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Racial differences in the NFL are also evident between player positions as well. According to an Undefeated article, In 1999 the percent of white players who played the center position was 75% compared to 20% African American. Also in 1999, the percent of white players who played the quarterback position was 81% compared to 18% who was African American. If we fast forward to 2014 the number of players who are white that are playing the quarterback or center position has increased. It could be said that these two positions are two of the most important positions that hold a lot of responsibility of taking care of the football. The high representation of white quarterbacks is not surprising due to the racial stereotypes of quarterbacks. In a study by the University of Colorado, that studied the racial stereotypes of NFL quarterbacks, found, “ that black participants stereotyped both races more strongly...suggesting that black players may not believe they are cut out to be a professional quarterback”. The study goes on to say that, “the terms physical strength and natural ability were more associated with the black quarterbacks while leadership and intelligence was more associated with white quarterbacks". These biases reflect how we watch football players and ultimately impacts adolescents at a young age.

According to William Jeynes, a professor of education at California State University, Long Beach, the gathering at the first Thanksgiving in the United States was an attempt to create racial harmony through games and sporting contests that included runningshooting and wrestlingHuping Ling, a professor of history at Truman State University, has asserted that the participation of Chinese students in sports helped break local stereotypes in the St. Louis area during the 1920s. This history of racial tension in the competition between whites and minority groups shows an attempt to prove the humanity, equality, and even occasionally their superiority on the playing field. By doing so, groups of minorities hoped that sports would serve as a source for racial pride that would eventually lead to upward social mobility. However, as early as 1984, criticism has been levied against these ideas. Sports sociologist Harry Edwards openly criticized African Americans as being “co-conspirators” in their own children's exploitation by the white dominated sports establishment. Despite the perception of a white dominated sports establishment, research has shown that there is greater emphasis on sports as a potential career path in the African American community compared to the White community. Edwards continued by arguing that placing so much emphasis on sports achievement as a way for minority groups, specifically referring to African Americans, to achieve some level of prominence is de-emphasizing the importance of intellectual pursuits. Despite the conflicting perceptions of sports as a harmonizing instrument, many researchers still believe that not much has changed to alleviate the racially tense landscape many believe to be inherent in current day society.



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