Being an active person was an extremely important part of my identity and playing college sports was a goal of mine since I was a kid. It was really great to have that gift of an opportunity and it’s an experience that I hope at least one of my kids will be able to enjoy. But now that I’m on the sideline, I’m looking for the coaches that are not only interested in building competitive teams that learn together; I’m looking for coaches that are working on their anti-racist journey, to ensure that their team is a safe and welcoming space for my child and every other athlete of color.
Activism is a part of sports, but who gets to protest? We applaud the women's soccer team for standing up against the pay gap but we jeer at athletes who've followed Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality. But we cannot ignore, that for decades activism, especially when we center black identity, has always been a part of athletics. Historically and contemporarily, we find many examples of black athletes taking a stand against the injustices against black people. And there are many examples where society was unwilling or even hostile against the voices of black athletes.
How do we better serve black athletes in a time when we're looking closely at structural racism? From the politics of Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics to the dismissal of the racist body shaming of Serena Williams in a cartoon, black athletes experience an intense scrutiny from the media and fans and are often left unprotected. And we look at instances where athletes are told to "shut up and dribble", many have argued that professional sports and collegiate sports are just another form of modern day slavery.
We ask that you take these words into consideration, as you listen to the podcast episode below...
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I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.