By Patrick Ismond (auth.)
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Extra info for Black and Asian Athletes in British Sport and Society: A Sporting Chance?
While Barthes understood myth as being infused with ideological messages of control, the political activist Gramsci envisaged the means by which this control was achieved. In this regard, Gramsci’s concept of ‘hegemony’ (1971) is also an important tool to understand whiteness in sports. His ideas for interpreting a wide range of elements of popular culture have influenced research into minority ethnic groups and sport; with modern sporting developments emphasising their continuing value. Gramsci understood hegemony as a complex, cultural and 14 Black and Asian Athletes in British Sport and Society ideological means by which dominant groups in society secured broad consent for their ideas and actions from subordinated groups, even as the latter’s interests were being compromised.
Previously, television has largely refused to acknowledge the racist nature of these chants and, in so doing, can be said to have trivialised their impact on the recipients (see also Chapter 2). For instance, during the European football championships in 1988, a section of the British crowd subjected the Dutch defender Ruud Gullit to an audible litany of racist name calling, and monkey noises. ‘Gullit getting some good-natured barracking when he gets possession’, stated the commentator. Recently however, the levels and intensity of racist abuse directed at black players in Europe has resulted in condemnation in the British media, and from the players themselves.
Not only do they risk alienation from their team-mates and the disapproval of their clubs’ hierarchy and supporters, but transgression challenges the terms on which race and nationhood are defined. As Carrington (2000, p. 34) states: Blacks, and black athletes in particular, will be rewarded if they subscribe to the view that racism is non-existent within British society, or at least that it is a minor aberration, or better still if they avoid the issue altogether. But the athlete who highlights racism, or even dares to suggest that racism might be a factor within contemporary British life is immediately labelled as being paranoid, over-sensitive, bitter, ungrateful and troublesome.
Black and Asian Athletes in British Sport and Society: A Sporting Chance? by Patrick Ismond (auth.)