Track and Field and Racial Stereotypes

Tom Jordan’s article “Track and Field”, provides an in depth history about the sport, and basic information about the events themselves.  The author briefly describes the history and current dynamics of all categories of the events.  I also learned a few things about the sport I did not previously know.  The article remains unbiased, and sticks to explaining the sport itself.  This is important because so many articles do indeed have some sort of biased in one way or another.  This way, the reader can develop knowledge of Track and Field and it’s events without the intervention of stereotypes.  Overall, this is a solid article for those wanting to simply know how the sport works, and its history.


“Jamaica: training ground for track and field’s best” by Jeff Blair describes the success of the Jamaican athletes in the Track and Field world.  The article is split up between categories with titles “A History of Success”, “Setting the Bar Higher”, and “The Next Big Thing”.  There are videos throughout the article showing multiple wins and standout performances by the Jamaican athletes.  Blair uses phrases to describe the athlete’s races being a “in a stroll in the park”, and that they “won’t disappoint you”.  While all the facts in Blair’s article are true, it is shaped to be dominative over other standout athletes from different countries, as there is no mention of the actual competition the Jamaicans faces.  This could perhaps add to the stereotype that athletes of color do indeed dominate the sport.  Blair’s article is a prime example of this stereotype.  The author does write the article from Jamaica, so it makes sense that the story is shaped how it is.


The article “A House of Cards? Sprinting crisis as gay, Powell, and more Jamaicans fail controls: Sprinting tumbles down as Gay, then Powell, then Simpson, carter named as failing drug controls” taps into the performance-enhancing phenomenon that has gripped all of athletics in recent times.  The way the article is presented connotes the idea that because top athletes are failing drug tests, that the sport of sprinting is therefore falling.  All the athletes named are also athletes of color, which adds to two stereotypes (in my opinion): That athletes of color are cheaters, and that if these runners are out of competition, then the sport will not be as exciting.  This article is significant in that these are the two main stereotypes that were evident.       

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2 Responses to Track and Field and Racial Stereotypes

  1. bbarnico says:

    Hey im in your group for the final group project. We are thinking of centering our project around some aspect of race. We will be making a Google doc to gather ideas from all our projects.

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