E-racing the Color Line in Sports

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2008

Conference / Event Title

Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, Section on Minority Groups


For many Americans, the world of sports occupies a unique place in American society. To much of the public, the arena of sports is viewed as model for meritocracy and integration. It is a space, at least in certain sports, in which racial minorities are well represented among the ranks of professional athletes, whether it is Latinos in Major League Baseball or the Blacks in the National Basketball Association. It is the place where players of all races work together on teams to achieve the goal of winning a game, a title, or a championship. It is a race that many children of color truly believe that they can win if they try hard enough. Sports fans can hardly turn on the television or radio without hearing the tale of another person of color who has crossed the color line in athletics. Whether it is Tiger Woods in golf, Venus Williams in tennis, or Juan Pablo Montoya in NASCAR, minority athletes represent, in the eyes of many Americans, the achievement of the American dream and a vision of “true” meritocracy.