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Sport, ethnicity and racism: the experience of Asian heritage boys

McGuire, Brendon and Collins, David J. (1998) Sport, ethnicity and racism: the experience of Asian heritage boys. education and society, 3 (1). pp. 79-88. ISSN 1470-1243

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Abstract

It is now almost two decades since concerns were originally expressed regarding the participation of Asian heritage schoolchildren in physical education and sport. Since then, an increasing flow of research literature and, in many instances, successful school initiatives to implement positive multicultural/antiracist policies, have been undertaken to provide equality of opportunity for these pupils. However, problems of access and achievement in physical activity still affect this group and serious health concerns continue to occur, perhaps as a result of such low levels of participation. There remains little take-up of sport as a career among Asian heritage children. Against the backdrop of these various concerns, this paper contributes to knowledge of issues surrounding the participation of Asian heritage boys in physical education and sport. Through use of interviews and observation, the research focuses on the experiences of primary and secondary age boys within four inner-urban schools in the North West of England. Findings suggest, primarily, that the role of Asian heritage parents within the sport socialisation experiences of their children was highly influential. Multicultural/antiracist policies were working well within these schools and racism was not stated as the main reason for non-participation; the low status afforded to physical education and sport, within the home and community, was found to be a more influential factor. Where schools had become proactive in addressing this issue, improved participation had resulted. Findings suggest that education should focus more on Asian heritage attitudes in addition to maintaining and enhancing the antiracism process.

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