That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore: Racial Microaggressions, Color-Blind Ideology and the Mitigation of Racism in English Men’s First-Class Cricket

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Daniel BurdseyUniversity of Brighton

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This article investigates the presence and effects of racial microaggressions in English first-class cricket. Drawing on interview data with British Asian players, it not only highlights players’ experiences of racism, but also identifies their tendency to downplay the repercussions of some of the forms that this prejudice takes. The analysis demonstrates that color-blind ideology is so entrenched in contemporary Western sport that its reproduction is not exclusively the preserve of white groups; it can also at times compel minority ethnic participants to endorse dominant claims that the effects of racism are overstated as well. As a consequence they are often pressured into denying or downplaying those forms of verbal discrimination which are articulated between team-mates and in a seemingly playful manner, dismissing incidents as merely “banter” or “jokes”.

Burdsey is with the University of Brighton, Chelsea School of Sport, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK.

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