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The Way We Never Were: Postracial Kinesiology and America

Maureen M. Smith and Katherine M. Jamieson

Traditional histories of kinesiology generally read as chronological narratives of progress that highlight advancements in performance and technology; pioneering work by faculty and coaches (all White and very often male); the role of physical education in solving America’s crises of masculinity and military preparedness, and now obesity; and finally, stories of harmonious integration where sport serves as a meritocracy and level playing field. These narratives of progress remain prominent in many of the histories of our subdisciplines. Seven “snapshots” of moments in the history of kinesiology are utilized to illustrate often marginalized histories that reflect the profession’s role in creating and reinforcing racial hierarchies. Concluding remarks outline an anti-racist framing of kinesiology that may be worth pondering and outlining, especially as a way to link our subdisciplinary inquiries toward a goal of enhancing quality of life through meaningful, life-long physical activity for all.