Sport and common‐sense racial science

St Louis, Brett. 2004. Sport and common‐sense racial science. Leisure Studies, 23(1), pp. 31-46. ISSN 0261-4367 [Article]

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This paper confronts the salience of arguments that identify the racial basis of athletic ability. It is argued that these notions of racial athleticism are developed through the interaction between ideas and ways of thinking about human beings and racial groups, reflecting Gramsci's concept of ‘common sense’ that explores the complex correspondence between the presentation of fact and opinion, science and myth. The paper suggests that the mobilization of objective scientific method and subjective plural multiculturalist values within racial athleticism help reinforce its claims to logical validity and moral legitimacy. In response, it is argued that the presentation of the biological basis of race and integrity of cultural difference and particularity within a scientific, intuitive, and principled framework constitutes racial athleticism as a powerful common‐sense idea that cannot be easily dismantled by the simple counter‐presentation of alternative facts. Rather, it is suggested that a progressive response requires building an ethical critique that does not use the mantra of social constructionism to evade corporeality and understandings of embodied difference. It is asserted that the iniquitous applications and palatable racism that lurk beneath the reasonable façade of racial athleticism can only be uncovered through interrogating its common‐sense configuration and analytical weaknesses.

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21 Apr 2023 10:12

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21 Apr 2023 10:12

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