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African-Americans in Sports Hoop Dreams or Racial Opportunity This paper asks two main questions Is sport relatively free of prejudice and discrimination found in other aspects of society Is it a way toward upward mobility for underrepresented groups The common belief these days is that the sporting world is integrated very well and that athletes and people that work with them have put their prejudice aside When African-Americans of a lower social class see the success of black athletes they think of it as a way of self-improvement and upward mobility in society However a closer look at the sports world shows that these beliefs may be false Historically there are many examples of prejudice and discrimination in sport There were very few non-whites in the major sport organizations before 1950 Blacks played sports but they played on their own teams and in their own baseball and basketball leagues When they did excel in sports it was either ignored minimized or attributed to their animal cunning According to experts seeing blacks as subhuman made it easier for whites to explain how and why blacks could defeat whites in contests of physical skill After all the argument went blacks were more animal than whites and thus should be expected to be more physical Figler and Whittaker 1994298 Since the early 70s there has been a sense that discrimination no longer occurs in sport This is based on the large number of blacks that participate on professional sport teams Of course this is not true There were two occurrences in 1987 of discrimination in sport Jimmy the Greek Snyder made his famous statement that blacks were bred to play sports Then Al Campanis a 70-year-old executive for the LA Dodgers was asked about blacks being managers of a team He said I truly believe that they may not have the necessities to be but they could be a field manager or perhaps a
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