White College Students’ Explanations of White (and Black) Athletic Performance: A Qualitative Investigation of White College Students

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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While the sport sociology community has had a long-running conversation about the relationship between athletes’ success and race, there are few empirical investigations of individuals’ attitudes regarding the connection of race and athletic performance. This study on White college students’ explanations of White (and African American) athleticism attempts to push this discussion of race and sport. Using a qualitative, open-ended question we elicited explanations from White college students about athletic performance. Findings revealed that White students explained White athleticism through discussions of African American athleticism. In addition, White student participants avoided biological explanations regarding White athletes’ success.

Harrison and Bukstein are with the University of Central Florida, DeVos Sport Business Management Program in the College of Business Administration, Orlando, Florida. Lawrence is with Azusa Pacific University, Innovative Educational Technology & Physical Education Department, Azusa, CA.

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