The following concepts: race, ethnicity and racism

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‘Race’ as defined in the Cambridge dictionary is “a group, especially of people, with particular similar physical characteristics, who are considered as belonging to the same type, or the fact of belonging to such a group”. Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) – “the father of modern racism” as stated by Giddens (2006), suggested the existence of three races: White (Caucasian), Yellow (Mongoloid), Black (Negroid).

Gobineau believed white race was superior to the others and ‘race mixing’ leads to chaos. Later, the Nazism, Ku Klux Klan and the Apartheid borrowed much of Gobineau’s ideology. Giddens(2006) also adds “Race is a social construction. It ‘can be understood as a set of social relationships which allow individuals and groups to be located, and various attributes or competencies assigned, on the basis of biologically grounded features.

Racial distinctions are more than ways of describing human differences – they are also important factors in the reproduction of patterns of power and inequality within society”, That is to say culture or societies have their own conventional rules, grounded locations and within any mixed society there would racial differences. Ian MacDonald (2002) tells of how many authors, put ‘race’ in inverted commas to alert the reader that they are referring to the ‘idea of race’, rather than claiming that the term has any objective biological validity. Race’ is made meaningful within society via the ways in which we imagine it to exist, and subsequently organize our lives and identities around it Cambridge (2003) defines ethnicity as “of a national or racial group of people “whilst Giddens (2006) definition “refers to the cultural practices and outlooks of a given community of people that set them apart from others. Members of ethnic groups see themselves as culturally distinct from other groups in a society, and are seen by those other groups to be so in return”.

Ethnic groups are also usually united by religious, cultural and linguistic traits. The concept of ethnicity acknowledges that individuals may have a primary culture that is distinctive to a particular ethnic group. Problems that arises today is filling out forms that require you to tick off your ethnicity, people of ‘mixed’ ethnicities are urged to pick one ethnicity over another, so if you are a person of ‘biracial’ descent, do you select black or white as if there is only one choice, as if to express more love for one parent over the other.

People within minority ethnic groups tend to unite with concerns or purposes or sympathies amongst other fellows of the same ethnics as Giddens (2006) writes “In sociology, members of a minority group are disadvantaged as compared with the majority population and have some sense of group solidarity, of being together. The experience of being the subject of prejudice and discrimination usually heightens feelings of common loyalty and interests”. Racism is “is prejudice based on socially significant physical distinctions.

A racist is someone who believes that some individuals are superior or inferior to others as a result of these racial differences” Giddens (2006). Muller. F et al (2007) states that many authors writing on racism in soccer have started to adopt new paradigms that define racism in wider, cultural terms. Carrington et al (2002) identified three types of racism: overt racist abuse, based on ‘race’ hatred; racial stereotyping based on cultural racism; and racial exclusion based on a racism derived from a ‘white’ Englishness.

Concerning racism, Carmichael and Hamilton (1996) made the following observation “Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms; individual Whites acting against individual Blacks, and acts by the total of White community against the Black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism”, Carmichael further adds how effective the covertness can be within institutional racism.

It is important to study the three concepts: race, ethnicity and racism within the sociology of sport because “one of the reasons why there are rarely any informed public discussions about racism and sport is due, in part, to the lack of sustained sociological research into the issues. Until very recently, most of the examples of racism in sport were based on anecdotal evidence, with little comprehensive and theoretical analyses of the problem “Carrington (2002) and because sport is the most effective way of tackling its problems. Carrington and McDonald (2002) states that there is much work to do, oncerning the place of Asian and black female athletes, and even mentioned the sad deaths of Rolan Adams, Rohit Duggal and Stephen Lawrence during the 1990s, a probable link to the racism concept. On March 15, 2001, Venus and Serena Williams were booed constantly and faced racial slurs such as “I will skin him alive”, Spencer. N (2004). Earlier this year in February Lewis Hamiliton was ‘saddened by racist abuse’, Times (2008), Amir Khan being branded a “ignorant deviant” by Preacher Bakri and Monty Panesar being associated with terrorism.

Today, we even have many anti-racism campaigns such as ‘Show racism the red card’, ‘kick it out’ and ‘HR46’, the latter called ‘Hit racism for six’, an anti-racist cricket campaign. My preceding sentences contain minuscule facts within the colossus conceptions of race, racism and ethnicity, but by studying, we can hope to improve society, extend empirical knowledge and alleviate the troubles that started with ‘race’, racism and ethnicity as being the catalysts.

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