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.


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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