Empowering Athletes of Color

Empowering Athletes of Color

University Prep’s athletic teams are discriminating against students of color. Even on team sports, where working together is the goal, athletes of color are saying that this is not the case. They say they are experiencing racial biases from coaches and teammates, including critical attitudes directed at them and reduced playing time. Additionally, athletes of color are feeling like they are grouped together, in smaller pods, due to cliques and divides between white and non-white athletes on the teams.

It seems that the UPrep administration is gradually recognizing these unconscious biases and microaggressions that exist within our teams, but are yet to act on them. Extensive diversity, equity and inclusion work that the administration is conducting with teaching staff and in classrooms is yet to translate to sports. Athletics may appear to be a world void of racial bias due to the increasing diversity we see in professional sports, but in reality, has a long way to go.

UPrep should work to give those who feel underrepresented a platform to speak out against the discrimination and biases they face. Athletes of color need to be able to call out their teams without the fear of creating awkwardness between coaches and athletes. UPrep should do this by implementing anonymous surveys and affinity groups focused solely on athletics.

Yet, on the other hand, there is the question of tokenism. Tokenism means to hire people from minority groups to create an illusion of diversity, equity and inclusion to prevent criticism. Unfortunately, the fine line between tokenism and representation is often crossed. UPrep should not implement changes simply to earn diversity points but should instead reexamine hiring by building a diverse hiring pool from the start. They can achieve this by creating a DEI mission statement specific to athletics and expanding search areas and accessibility to different hiring platforms.

UPrep also needs to implement discus- sions about diversity during practices and extend racial bias training to students. Athletes, especially athletes of color, should be kept in the loop. For example, they could assist with creating and imple- menting the athletics specific DEI mission statement.

At the end of the day, athletes should succeed based on their skill, talent, hard work and willingness to improve and UPrep should work towards promoting this sort of an environment.

Approved by 7/7 members of the editorial board.