RACE AND GENDER IN SPORT: PAST AND PRESENT

 29 October 2020 Time: 04:00 pm

In the summer months of 2020, NBA players decided not to perform and disrupt the NBA schedule to protest racism and police brutality against African-Americans. The players called their action a “boycott” (a form of action by consumers) but others were quick to point out that the act was in fact a “strike” (a form of action by workers). In this short seminar, I will talk about the critical junctures in US sport history where labor struggles by professionals against leagues have often had critical implications of anti-racism. Professional leagues and the NCAA operate as cartels where a coalition of white-controlled institutions profit from immobilized black skills, resembling the cartelization of Southern planters, as African-American essayist Gerald Early reminds us. Throughout postwar history, struggles of a number of African-American athletes against the leagues have coined compelling links between anti-racism and calls for an improved power of professional players over shaping the terms of their employment by team-owners. In turn, leagues like the NFL rely on cartelistic measures to rid their sport from anti-racist protest as the case of Colin Kaepernick showed.

Can Evren and Sarah Murray

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Can Evren is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and works on sport, culture, politics, globalization, and nationalism.

Sarah has spent her career making the world a more just and equitable place, using sport and play as her unlikely tool of choice. In reality, sport is often the last frontier of unapologetic misogyny and racism. In her work, she has proven that if you can achieve inclusion and advancement in these environments, you can transform communities and societies more broadly. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in over 65 countries on strategies that leverage the power of play for social justice.

Sarah is currently the Executive Director at Women’s Wilderness, a nonprofit organization based in Boulder, Colorado aiming to transform outdoor culture so it’s a place where girls,’ women and non-gender conforming people can build their confidence, courage and connectedness in the same way that men with dominant identities have always done. She was previously the Executive Director of Women Win Foundation USA, a global NGO dedicated to equipping adolescent girls to achieve their rights using sport and play based strategies. In this role, she spent 10 years supporting the work of grassroots practitioners and activists from Bolivia to Bangladesh and impacting the lives of over 3 million girls.

Sarah spent a decade with the Women’s Sports Foundation, working on issues of health, access and equity from a U.S. perspective. She is a Master trainer with the THNK School of Innovation and provides cross-sector consultancy to influential organizations globally to employ systems thinking, human-centered design, gender analysis and play-based methodologies to address the most pressing social issues of our time. In these capacities, she led projects across sectors with Nike, FIFA, Gap, Vital Voices, the U.S. Department of State and DFID.

A mountain woman at heart, Sarah spends her free time riding, sliding and running on trails and enjoying the outdoors with her wife, Signe and their baby girl, Tallulah.