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Thursday, December 15, 2011

War on Iraq

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How African American Student Athletes Deal With Going To Predominately White


Colleges Or Universities?


It was March of 00 and I was at my annual cheerleading competition. I am


from an urban public school where my squad is one of the only diverse ones.


Custom Essays on War on Iraq




Looking around I noticed that my squad was one of the few that had any


minorities present. As we sat down to wait our turn for mat time (a practice


run through of the routine before the actual competition) I over heard some of


the Caucasian females snickering from behind about our squad. They were


saying things like black girls are not supposed to be cheerleaders,


cheerleaders are supposed to be white girls with tans. Our cheerleading squad


is one of the most hated and disrespected of all squads. A perfect example of


that disrespect and hatred is the fact that we were robbed at our second


competition. When we got to the competition we were a little apprehensive


because we had to share a small area of the locker room with the LaSalle


cheerleaders. They were our worst enemies, our rivals, our opponents, and the


only people that we went to the competition to try and beat. When one of our


fellow cheerleaders went to the locker room to return some loose money she had


found to her surprise and dismay that all of the other money she had was gone.


She checked and rechecked her wallet to see if she was just not looking well


but to her shock she had not overlooked. She no longer had her money. When


she came and told our coach our whole squad went into the locker room to see


if they too had been robbed. To everyone’s sadness they too had been. In


total our squad lost over 00 dollars of hard earned money. Fortunately we


did win second place in the competition but because of that incident we could


not even rejoice. Discrimination and stereotyping against not only black


cheerleaders, but all minorities, as well as people that hang with those


minorities can feel the wrath of it. This happens largely at predominately


white establishments or institutions. Discrimination not only takes place at


school but at other places as well, like my cheerleading competition.


African Americans are being stereotyped every second of every day. Regardless


of what stereotype is said it happens. A very common stereotype placed on


African Americans is “all black people are great athletes.” This stereotype


becomes more and more prevalent as further African Americans come to


predominately white colleges or universities. The main reason for stereotypes


is ignorance. An example could be a tall African American with a slim build


walking about the campus. A guarantee could be that the majority of people


would assume that he was an athlete but in all actuality he could be attending


the University of Rhode Island on an academic scholarship. I can remember


talking to my friend and telling him the exciting news of me joining the track


team. The first thing that he said was I know you can run fast, all black


people can run fast. I asked him why he made that assumption and his reply


was, they have to be able to run fast to flee from the cops. Although quite


comical that statement could have quickly made anyone else upset, it was a


perfect example of prejudice and racism.


Still there are other problems that African Americans will have to face when


they come to a predominately white college or university. One example could


be the stress or anxiety to conform to the new lifestyles or style of


teaching. Another could be the high drop out rate of first year African


American students that is hung over their heads. Yet another could be the


effect the school, professors or area has on the black student. (Spigner


1) Many different things regardless of how big or small have been known to


create anxiety or stress. Many people are not happy with change. Most will


try to avoid it at all costs, so the mere shift of moving to a predominately


white college or university could drive anyone insane. Lastly there is


racism. Racism is not what it used to be many differences have risen over the


years. Decades ago African Americans would never have been given the


opportunity to go to school. If they were given that right the school was not


a knowledgeable one. African Americans would not have been able to play


sports, be on television or vote. Racism is still a widely studied issue.


The issue in the last couple of years has been the ignorance people have to


the fact that they are being racist. Decades ago racism was defined as the


blatant disregard for someone else or their feelings. It is not that obvious


anymore, but that does not mean in any way that it has stopped.


Racism as a whole is no longer blatant. Atwell (11) article discusses how


racism is no longer as openly spoken as before but someone of African American


decent could be dealing with racism from their professor or athletic coach and


not even know it. With the student athlete programs the lines of academics


and sports is blurred. Academic support services may instead be aiding and


abetting a racial status quo by emphasizing more of a social desire for sports


entertainment (Atwell 11). That quote is stating that academics seem not to


be as important as how the school does entertainment wise.


It is argued here that targeting student athletes ostensible to provide


academic guidance may in actuality serve to reinforce sports interests over


educational pursuits. Such expropriation seems particularly significant (but


not exclusive) on white campuses, in part because such campus illustrate a


glaring over-representation of black players. (The Chronicle of Higher


Education June 17, 1, as cited in Spigner, 1).


There are many ways that schools of higher learning try to make the academics


of African American players seem up to par when in reality they are only


mediocre, maybe even less. Wiley and Hatchett (11) pointed out that


institutions of higher learning used misleading or inconclusive data to make


the dismal student graduation rates look better. Edwards (18a; 18b; 184,


187, 1, as cited in Spigner.) has long noticed the contradictions and


hypocrisy of providing a meaningful education against the more sought after


national publicity and notoriety from intercollegiate sports.


There are many questions as to whether or not these African American athletes


can perform as well in the classroom as they can on the field or on the court.


Research conducted by Ellickson (10) showed that participation in college


athletics saps the energy needed for a more positive classroom performance.


Engstrom and Sedlacek’s (11) study of existence of prejudice among the peers


of student athletes indicated that students generally possessed some negative


attitudes towards the student athletes, particularly regarding academic


performance. Smallman, Sowa, Young, and Bryce (11) feel as though the


research of the ethnic differences in student athlete responses to stressful


life events revealed that blacks reported significantly higher ratings of


evasiveness or stress.


There are many reasons why student athletes are not becoming successful


adults. One reason is because there are fewer teachers of African American


decent. The potential of African American student athletes to graduate is


seriously compromised by the fact that so few staff, faculty and other


students on campus look like them. They feel less welcomed than white students


on our campuses (Lapchick, 17).


On most college campuses the over representation of black student athletes is


as stark as the under representation of black teachers. In 18-10, only


4.5 percent of black faculty compared to 88.5 percent of white faculty were


employed full time in a U.S. college or university (Chronicle of Higher


Education Almanac, August 6, 1 as cited in Spigner, 1). A larger black


presence of faculty particularly on white campuses could theoretically promote


a better climate to help improve black student athlete development, though


black teachers have their own problems of profession survival. (Banks, 184;


Spigner, 10-11, as cited in Spigner, 1).


In the fall of 185 black faculty were decreasingly represented in ranks of


assistant, associate, and full time professor. The percentage of this was 5.


percent, .7 percent, and . percent of full time African American


instructors. The white professors ranked the same way, had increased


representation at 87.5 percent for an assistant, 0.5 percent for an


associate, and .7 percent respectively for full time college professors


(National Center for Education Statistics, 1 as cited in Spigner, 1).


Stress and anxiety can and have been known to overtake people of all ages and


ethnicity’s. They have been known to push people to the limit and test their


strength, because of these limits some people are unable to pull through. If


you are faced with stress or anxiety and cannot withstand the trauma you may


obtain disorder. For those that can face the trauma will make it through to


live and fight another day. African Americans in a new environment,


preferably a white college campus will probably have to deal with some of


those everyday traumas of the world. If they do not learn how to endure, they


too could succumb to a stress or anxiety disorder.


Abstract


How African American student athletes deal with being at a predominately


white college or university? There are many reasons why African Americans


would not succeed at an all white college or university. One reason would be


the racism that remains prevalent in white communities as well as schools.


Racism comes from the most unexpected people and places. The fact that racism


is not as noticeable as in the past makes it harder to see. Another problem


African Americans have at white colleges is the stress or anxiety to conform


to their new surroundings. The pressure of academic success is another that


could cause stress or anxiety. Lastly, the slack that African Americans


receive because they are students as well as athletes at these schools can


cause numerous amounts of stress. Many people feel as though students have it


easier because of the fact that they are athletes. These are the main topics


I will be speaking of in my paper.





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