Athlete Activism and Social (In)Justice: Sport and Racial Politics
“I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality this country says it stands for.” (Colin Kaepernick, 2016)
Join the Department of Kinesiology for a special panel discussion on the recent resurgence in athlete activism.
The re-awakening of racial politics precipitated by the spread and influence of the Black Lives Matter movement has seemingly motivated a number of high profile athletes to mobilize their cultural presence and influence beyond the sports sphere, specifically by openly challenging widespread assumptions pertaining to the nature of contemporary America as a post-racial society.
Kinesiology's event is co-sponsored by the School of Public Health and will bring a diverse panel together to discuss engaging topics about what role athletes should play in highlighting and addressing pressing social inequalities and injustices, and why such forms of athlete activism have been viewed in some quarters as being unpatriotic.
Panelists will also discuss what role the media plays in shaping athlete's role and effectiveness as highly visible political activists and what responsibility the sports industry has in addressing issues of social inequity and injustice.
-Kevin Blackistone, (Moderator): Professor of the Practice Journalism University of Maryland, is a longtime national sports columnist now at The Washington Post, a panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” a contributor to National Public Radio and co-author of “A Gift for Ron,” a memoir by former NFL star Everson Walls published in November 2009 that details his kidney donation to one-time teammate Ron Springs.
-Diane Roberts: WUSA9 sports anchor/reporter. She has adeptly interviewed key sports news makers on every level from professional to community recreation league athletes and from owners to coaches and manages.
-Dave Zirin: The Nation's sports correspondent, is the author, most recently, of Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down. Named one of UTNE Reader's “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Zirin is a frequent guest on MSNBC, ESPN and Democracy Now!
-Ben Carrington: Professor of Journalism and Communication USC and interested in how ideologies of race shape — and are themselves shaped by — cultural forms, practices and identities and how popular culture is often a key site of both cultural resistance and domination. His work examines the mass media and sport as way to understand key sociological dimensions of everyday life such as personal and communal identity and national identifications as well as focusing on how racialized, gendered and classed social structures constrain and enable social life.
-Grant Farred: Professor of Africana Studies and English at Cornell University and a leading voice in contemporary cultural studies and an internationally known thinker and writer on race. He has published in a range of areas, including theory, postcolonial studies, race, the formation of intellectuals, sport's theory, Cultural Studies and literary studies.
-Damion Thomas: Museum Curator of Sports, at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or trans rights or climate change, there’s so much to be stood up for right now … And I think we will see athletes standing up for it, and I don’t know how it will be yet, in what form, but I’m sure that we will.”( Gus Kenworthy freestyle skier and upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics participant) (January 10, 2018)