Offside Racism: Playing the White Man

Offside Racism: Playing the White Man

Offside Racism: Playing the White Man

Offside Racism: Playing the White Man

Synopsis

It is a fact that disproportionately few black soccer players have ever been employed as managers or coaches despite their prominent presence on the field. How big a role does racism play in contributing to this damning statistic? "Play the white man" is the metaphor King uses to explain how race, racism and inequality operate. He looks at the pressures placed on black players to adopt a culture dominated by white men in sport--in other words, "to act white"' in order to be accepted. He exposes the behavior of powerful white stakeholders, follows a black manager's struggle for individuality, and witnesses the pressures black candidates face in the field, the classroom and the bar. Providing provocative insights and raising controversial questions, this is the first book to examine racism in soccer management.

Excerpt

‘Offside racism’ ‘playing the white man’ is a new approach used in this book to describe the pressures placed on black and Asian people to ‘act white’ in order to be accepted in the twenty-first century. It focuses on the institutions of sport and the study of the cultures of soccer, to explain the barriers black players face as they seek positions as coaches and managers. It compares these experiences to those encountered on a much smaller level by Asian players entering the playing profession. The book analyses the privileges held by white men and the way they colonize the settings of soccer coaching and management that lead to different forms of racism and exclusion. It connects these forms of racism to broader social issues that have had important implications for the stereotypes made about black people inside and outside the sports context. To look more closely at the relationships between sport and society to study how exclusion operates in the institutions of soccer I use the concepts ‘racialized performance’ and ‘racialized narrative’ to show how racism can be seen in two forms. Firstly through an onside form of racism, which is made visible through the words and actions of white men, which they are often conscious of. I compared this to the offside racism, which is often implicit and which white men are not conscious of. My aim is to demonstrate that the way people inside soccer see and understand issues of race and racism leads to totally different outcomes for black, Asian and white people. ‘Offside racism’ ‘playing the white man’ is a method to explore how racism within soccer is broader than the idea of ‘unwitting’ prejudice as described in the Macpherson report (1999), which can more clearly analyse how institutional racism operates in football and other industries.

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