The Sport Mystique in Black Culture

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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William J. RudmanMiami University, Ohio

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This research examines the relationship between race, social structure, and sport orientations. Specifically, the questions addressed are whether blacks and whites differ in their orientations toward sport, and whether factors that influence sport orientations are race-dependent. Hypotheses concerning blacks’ and whites’ sports orientations are derived from prior research looking at the use of sport as a means of upward mobility and the impact of labor market structure on employment differences between blacks and whites. The results of this research raise some intriguing questions concerning the manner in which race and social structure affect an individual’s orientation toward sport. Overall, the results provide support for beliefs about differences in blacks’ and whites’ orientations toward sport. Blacks were more likely than whites to become vicariously involved in sport outcomes, and to incorporate sport into their daily lives. Perhaps the most important result is the finding that factors related to an individual’s position within the social structure have a similar impact on influencing both blacks’ and whites’ orientations toward sport. This would suggest that sport orientations for both blacks and whites are a result of an interaction between race and social structure that limits blacks’ opportunities in other professional occupations.

Direct all correspondence to William J. Rudman, Dept. of Health and Physical Education, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056.
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