It’s March and you know what that means…basketball. Millions of spectators will watch hours of continuous basketball starting this week. At a time when fan participation in live game settings is (nearly) non-existent, we rely heavily on the voices of commentators more than ever. We expect these men and women provide us with a value-free or at least equally enthusiastic accounting of the game from start to finish. Starting with the NBA last year, athlete activism started gaining acceptance and traction on the pathway to normalcy. NCAA basketball, and especially high school basketball are lagging behind in this trend and the announcers can be much less forgiving. Last week, Matt Rowan was calling the Norman High School and Midwest City girls basketball quarter final game in Oklahoma. At the beginning of the game, players on both sides of the court took a knee during the national anthem. After Colin Kaepernick started this movement back in 2016, kneeling during the singing of the national anthem has come to symbolize protest against state-sanctioned violence, especially among the Black community. Upon recognizing this symbol, Mr. Rowan unleased a racist tirade that aired across the live stream on the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network which he later blamed on diabetes. In this week’s Lecture Spark, we examine the enduring qualities of racism in America, and athlete activism through the lens of sociology.
Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Racial Slurs Broadcast During H.S. Basketball Game
LO1: Identify the primary social drivers of the normalization of racism in the United States.
LO2: Explain how racism can manifest in ways that are unrecognizable to the individual thinking, being, or talking in a racist manner.
LO3: Discuss the sociological significance of athlete activism and how the “Take a Knee” social movement started 5 years ago is still relevant (and necessary) today.
Announcers Caught on Hot Mic Using Racist, Sexist Language At High School Basketball Game | TODAY
Just before tipoff at the high school girls’ basketball tournament near Tulsa, Oklahoma, two announcers were caught on a hot mic reacting as team members kneeled during the national anthem. The announcers used racist and explicit language, including a racial slur.
Norman fans react to racist comments at girls basketball game
Norman fans react to racist comments at girls basketball game.
Man behind racist remarks at Oklahoma HS girls basketball game apologizes, initially blames diabetes
Man behind racist remarks at Oklahoma HS girls basketball game apologizes, initially blames diabetes.
What does it mean to be a racist person? What does it mean to do something racist? Why are people particularly uncomfortable with being labeled a racist? How is it possible for someone to be unconsciously racist in their thinking and in their actions? What agent of socialization (family, peer, media, or education) are most responsible for the spread of racism?
Why is what Mr. Rowan did consider deviant today? How might his actions have been viewed 50-years ago? What is an appropriate sanction for Mr. Rowan? How are sanctions applied today using technology (e.g., social media) by private citizens? What is our responsibility in holding each other accountable? What are the social consequences of cancel culture?
Why are athletes engaging in social movements like taking a knee during the national anthem? How does the stage they play on affect the reach of their message? What is the role of athletics governing bodies like the NBA and the NCAA in preventing racism in their sporting events? What does the future of athlete activism look like to you?
How do the primary drivers such as racism in the government, the economy, the education system, and the media contribute to the normalization of racism in the United States? How are these social institutions mutually dependent on the continued existence of racism? Why does change in one cause change in another?
What is the difference between racism today and racism 50 years ago? What has changed about racism in the United States since the start of the Take a Knee movement in 2016? How would you describe the current racial climate in America? Why will racism likely persist into the future? How do powerful groups benefit off the existence of racism?
- Basketball Announcer Directs Racial Slur At Norman High School Team Protesting Systemic Racism
- The announcer who blamed his racism on diabetes? That’s the Oklahoma I grew up inRise in anti-Asian American hate crimes may lead to mental health crisis
- Announcer who hurled racist insults at a high school basketball team has issued an apology
- Norman High School girls basketball team wins state title days after racist remarks made by announcer
- Oklahoma High School girls basketball team wins state title days after announcer uses racist slur
- Racist rant by Tahlequah-based announcer drawing immediate backlash for his company, NFHS
- OSSAA, state superintendent respond to racist remarks made during Norman-MWC HS girls basketball game
- US announcer uses racist slur as basketball players kneel for anthem
From a _______ perspective, people act racist depending on their social construction of reality that comes from their unique socialization experience.
d. Rational Choice
From a _______ perspective, racism and racial inequality persists in society because powerful groups benefit from the existence of policies and programs driven by racial capitalism.
d. Rational Choice
A sociologist using the _______ perspective would argue the dysfunction caused by racism can destabilize all social institutions.
d. Rational Choice
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/HRAUN