Sunday, March 21, 2010

White female athletes, black male athletes and Title IX

University of Georgia professor Dr. Billy Hawkins has a new book out about the black athletes and intercollegiate sports. It appears, from this press release, that a majority of the book. The New Plantation, focuses on the young men in revenue-producing sports, primarily football and basketball. He compares the intercollegiate system and the role of black male athletes in it to the plantation system in the US pre-Civil War.
Hawkins does touch on black female athletes and Title IX in his book, making a very important observation about how Title IX has not produced more opportunities for black women in the way it has for white women. This is not a new observation, but the way he frames it is:
"Since Title IX has provided very limited opportunity for black females, but additional opportunities for white women to compete and black male athletes make up the greater percentage of the revenue-generating sports that contribute to athletic departments' revenue, and thus their ability to support these additional sports, a recurring historical relationship between the white female and the black male has been resurrected."
I take some issue with the way Hawkins phrases this given that I do not view the new opportunities for women as "additional sports": add-ons or extras. Also, note that many of these revenue-generating sports are not generating enough to even support themselves, let alone other sports. But the relationship remains an interesting one. Opportunities added to achieve or work towards equity are often done because of the large roster size of football, one of the sports Hawkins focuses. And, as Hawkins and others have pointed out, the majority of these added opportunities go to white women.