African American Women In Sports

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Gender is one of the few ways that women were categorized based on their strength for some athletic activities. African American women face different types of obstacles while trying to have an equal opportunity in sports. Some of these challenges may include not being able to participate in some sporting events, due to being racial profiled or being segregated from others. Being treated unequally due to the socially constructed notion on race and sexuality. Being not able to have the proper equipment as other based on their economic social class. The culture and social cost are not a reason for not being able to participate but rather a way that sports have been economically constructed. Regardless of being the called the weaker sex and race African American women have always triumph when It came to be the best in sports. One of the first women’s track teams in the united states began at the all black Tuskegee institute in 1929. Politics, economics , and social class . Have a negative impact on African American women opportunity in sport especially in school, many of these women turn toward religion to find comfort.

Politics have a negative effect on African American women in schools. The way this happens is when the female would get harassed, treated different, and discrimination. Leading to less playing time on team or even leaving the teams. Politics have an important role when it comes to sports, these roles can be both good and bad. Most people in sport or that watch sports are critics and have their own opinion on who they preferred to watch. When people watch see an African American woman playing sports, like basketball they get concerned because they think that they are not capable of doing that. They think that they are too weak and can’t handle that stress of being on the team compared to African American male, where the sport is dominated by them. In Ben Carrington’s article called, “Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora’.(Carrington, B. 2010) It talked about how politic affected Africa American women in sports. The text goes on and stated that since men had all the power in sports. They were the center of attention and that women are too fragile, that they have too much emotions if they were going to be good like the black male athletes. The article also explained to black women that where some athletic teams could not talk for themselves. So, with the little freedom they had could not even express themselves or use any of their rights. They were often spoken for by higher athletic director’s cause conflicts between player and coaches. This is indicating that the coaches that coached them where being controlled by a higher political authorizes. politics is a major factor of sports because sports is a business and makes revenue. some female sports would not draft black women to their teams because of their skin color. politics caused racial confrontation against black women in their struggle on getting in a sport despite that it’s an all women team.

The economy of sports has negative effect on black women who are or trying to participate in sports or any athletic activities. Even though African women athletes get paid gap that affect with everyday actives. This may lead to them not being able to afford the proper equipment like proper shoes if they play basketball, proper gloves if they play softball, and proper uniform if some school don’t offer them. In the journal “Physical Activity Among African American Women” (McDuffie, C. 2011) the author expresses that most African women come from low income family. That most of the white female come from middle class or higher. This social economic structure show that they don’t have the same advantage as most of the white girls who play sports in the sports. The article also talked about how most African women parent would have to work twice as harder as white parents of students. This leads the indication that most of the African women in sports team could not have reliable transportation to their practice, since a parent was at work, and they have no ride to their sport events. This also mean that they can’t afford the proper equipment because if the parent might not have extra money to pay for sports.

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When it comes to social class and religion, they both affects African American women tribulation in sport by not having equal opportunities when in lower class community’s vs higher well-developed social classes ones. Instead of schools acknowledging each other as equal, majority of campus would focus on the role of race and class which also lead to the alienation of African America female athletes on campus. According to the journal “racial bias: The Black Athlete, Reagan’s War on Drugs, and Big-Time Sports Reform the report argued, “most often the reason that most campus do this type of things is they are trying to prevents them(African American) from feeling comfortable or part of the campus community or campus athletic activities.(Runstedtler, T. 2016) The effects of this tends to restrict many of African American women’s circle of friends to any other team members. The article suggested a solution to increase the diversity of personnel and to provide specific programs to help black athletes adapt to their new environment.

Majority of student athletes come from separate academic support unit and different social class that have cause them to be segregated from the same opportunities. This was particularly an example for the majority-black teams in sports coming from a lower poverty social statue in 1990s. The journal found that up until around 1993, “women basketball players were housed in one dorm and grouped by different teams” (Runstedtler, T. 2016). This form of segregation allowed an easy supervision of their behavior to facility. This also brought a lot of attention to students and facility would often address and use one athlete’s behavior to vetch for everyone. Promoting discrimination and stereotyping of black female athletes.

The data showed that the results of this segregation help improved African women’s grades and communication skills while playing sports compared to the white women at the schools. One intervention that was found most interesting and potentially beneficial is the faithfully based opportunities which has shown to encourage more African women to get involved in sports and to pursuits it. There has been an importance of the black church to the African American communities. A place of worship and meetings for social life and, as a place for food. African American women find this social gathering to be the nurturing and a supportive environment that they need to persuade a future in physical activities. This could potentially lead to better overall health and being involved in social groups. Importantly, African Americans have viewed the black church an ideal venue to engage in physical activity while being confrontable without being discriminated.

All in all, we can say that there are many obstacles that African American women faces while trying to participate in sports. There are many different altercations that prevent this and or make this process seem difficult. Through the years African American women in sport have triumphed these challenges and came out on top. Despite what people say and do to them while being on an athletic team. Although politics, economy, and social class affect African women in sports the most it doesn’t let them from their best in sports. Religion has the biggest impacted on African American women when it all else seems impossible in the sport that they are pursuing.


  1. Simien, Evelyn M, et al. “A Portrait of Marginality in Sport and Education: Toward a Theory of Intersectionality and Raced-Gendered Experiences for Black Female College Athletes.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, vol. 40, no. 3, 2019, pp. 409–427., doi:10.1080/1554477X.2019.1614865
  2. “Examination of Gender Equity and Female Participation in Sport.” The Sport Journal, 29 Feb. 2016,
  3. Zorzi, Alessandro, et al. (2019). Black athletes’ hearts. European Heart Journal, 40(1), 59–61. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehy698
  4. Runstedtler, T. (2016). Racial bias: The Black athlete, Reagan’s war on drugs, and big-time sports reform. American Studies 55(3), 85-115. doi:10.1353/ams.2016.0106.
  5. Sellers, R., Kuperminc, G., & Damas, A. (1997). The College Life Experiences of African American Women Athletes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5), 699-720.
  6. Pickett, M., Dawkins, M., Braddock, J., & Shelton, J. (2012). Race and Gender Equity in Sports: Have White and African American Females Benefited Equally From Title IX? American Behavioral Scientist, 56(11), 1581-1603.
  7. McDuffie, C. (2011). Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora. Journal of Sport History 38(3), 500-501.
  8. Carrington, B. (2010). Theory, Culture & Society: Race, sport and politics: The sporting black diaspora London: SAGE Publications Ltd 10.4135/9781446269244

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African American Women In Sports. (2021, September 23). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from
“African American Women In Sports.” Edubirdie, 23 Sept. 2021,
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