Sports Race Class Gender Thesis

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Sports Race Class Gender

The story of Katie Hnida is one of personal commitment and isolated sexism. Yet, her story speaks of a gender construct in society and especially in some closed circles, such as sports teams that reflects cultural norms that have yet to be challenged fully.

Colleges and universities, for the most part, are making major efforts to diversify their student bodies, faculties, and administrations by race, ethnicity, and sex. This laudable goal is clearly at odds with the existence of racist and sexist names and practices of their athletic teams."

Hnida, as a freshman at Colorado State University made a walk on debut to the football team as a place kicker. She had been chosen to walk on by the coach, and did not receive a sincere welcome from the team. The coach who had initially accepted her as a valuable team member then proceeded to move on with his life and another coach took his place. Hninda then endured months of verbal and physical taunting from her teammates, as a result of her gender, which she claims ultimately culminated into a rape by one member of the team. Despite the fact that Hnida was a stellar student and a player with recognized skill on her high school team at Chatfield in Littleton, CO, her gender held her back as a full team member and some teammates, resenting her presence took full advantage of a permissive new coach to demonstrate their personal disregard for her position on the team.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Thesis on Sports Race Class Gender Assignment

The cultural acceptance of personal taunting in sports teams demonstrates an area where weaknesses are played upon in an attempt to demonstrate team culture and the lack of team acceptance of weakness. The system, as is has stood for many years demonstrates that taunting of players by other members of the team, parents, observers and other teams is so rampant that a functional restriction of such taunting over the issue of gender will prove an extremely difficult construct to resolve. Ultimately the kinds of things players (even on all male teams) is often laden with sexism, where individual team members feel obligated to call other players "girls" or "fags" because these are recognized symbols of weakness, that the culture wishes to stamp out, sometimes brutally.

Homophobic taunting and bullying does not always result in such serious physical violence. 67 but it is a common part of the central dynamic of male peer groups. The role homophobia plays within male peer groups is akin to Elmer's glue being used to bond two pieces of wood. Once the white glue is dried, it becomes clear, nearly invisible, and it acts simultaneously (and paradoxically) as a bond that holds the two pieces of wood together and as an invisible barrier, or shield, that keeps the two pieces of wood from actually touching each other.

Hnida, in an interview which followed the publication of he autobiography, about the 10 years of her life that she dedicated to football makes clear that her reasons for not stepping forward were complex and that on the same team as those "bad seeds" that taunted and harassed her, where good men that supported her and were team players. "HNIDA: You know, I tend to believe in the goodness of people, and it's really important to point out that there were a lot of good guys on that team. There was just a certain number who really made my life a living hell." Hnida makes clear that this particular situation at (CU) was the only place where she had to endure such standards and that in her position in Arizona, with a warm team that accepted her and a coach who began the endeavor by simply treating her as if there was nothing special about her, other than her skill as a place kicker and her impressive record, set a standard that allowed her to excel and allowed other team members to simply set gender aside and work as a team. She also speaks highly of her experience in high school, where she did not have any trouble in four years as a member of the team. Hnida stresses that the situation was isolated yet also goes on to state that her current position at Arizona is a special place, where she feels it would be highly unlikely for anything like what she endured at CU to take place.

Hnida in short state that her experiences at CU, at the hands a few bad seeds was terrible but did not set a standard that she believed existed everywhere. Yet, at the same time she refers to her current program as an exceptional place. In these statements she expresses that the situation of gender discrimination might be global but she has happened to find two place (high school and Arizona) where this is not the case. In other words she gives credence to the idea of universality of the sexist mindset but also challenges the culture to model itself more like places where such things are not taking place. Though the broader society has taken many strides toward eradicating discrimination the sport's culture is one where the seeds of sexism are rampant, even before a token girl enters the field and seeks cultural acceptance. The challenges of the NCAA to incorporate women to hold the highest positions on the collegiate level, such as athletic director of universities is an example of how the NCAA has been challenged and historically failed, yet it is clear that things are changing and with them the cultures of the teams they oversee. Other issues arise when allegations are made and lawsuits filed regarding inequities between genders in sports representation, despite legislation that challenges such inequities and cries by many that the funding is simply not there to support equal representation when equal community and social support for gendered teams does not exists. Yet, strides are clearly being made, within the development of programs, yet like professional sports equal representation is not supported by equal enthusiasm.

Some argue that the ideals and stigmas associated with assumptions regarding race gender and ability in athletics run so deep that they are reflected in early acculturation issues, where children as young as toddlers express biases and that those biases persist in our culture even to college age and beyond.

Due to the fact that Hnida did not disclose or accuse her teammates or her coach of negligence in the matter, when it was occurring, she sights out of her complete desire to play and fear that disclosure would simply have resulted in her own cut from the team, to eliminate the problem, it is unlikely that the whole of the story i.e. The stories of her male team members or the level of awareness of her coach to the problem, will ever truly be known. Yet, later occurrences in her life as well as accusations by female CU students who attended a 2001 recruiting party and were raped as a result, made her feel as if she had to step forward and disclose the events in order to move on and put it behind her.

An honor-roll student, a homecoming queen and an honorable mention all-county kicker at Littleton (Colo.) Chatfield High, Hnida (NYE-da) had dreamed of booting for Colorado. "Football is what makes me breathe," she says. Then-coach Rick Neuheisel invited her to walk on, she accepted and then he took off, leaving her in new coach Gary Barnett's hands. "None of the players wanted her on the team," Barnett remembers. "Basically we were doing her a favor." On her first day of practice Hnida found out how welcome she was. She says five teammates surrounded her and verbally abused her, making sexually graphic comments. During the season players exposed themselves to her "at least five times," she says. "They'd go, 'Hey, Katie, check this out!'" One player came up from behind, she says, and rubbed his erect penis against her. Sometimes when the entire team was huddled up, Hnida says, players stuck their hands on her crotch or groped her breasts under her shoulder pads.

Since, Hnida's disclosure at least one of her teammates has come forward to support her allegations, stating that; "She endured more abuse than one person should have to bear," former teammate Justin Bates says. Even as she practiced, players called her vulgar names and one fired footballs at her head."

Reilly's article further states that Hnida's father had reported some of his concerns but was dismissed by Barnett (her new coach) as being an overprotective father. Later, Barnett claimed that he does not remember the victim's father raising concerns and that if he did have such a conversation that sexual harassment was never hinted at, or he would have intervened.

Worried for his daughter after she had finally told him about some of her hell (but not the rape), Maj. Dave Hnida, an Army surgeon currently stationed in Iraq, went to athletic director Dick Tharp and Barnett about "the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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