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Does racism exist in the media towards black sportspeople? If so how are stereotypes being used?

The mass media have come to be an integral, all encompassing aspect of life. Whether it is watching television, reading a newspaper or surfing the net, the media have become an inherent part of the fabric of contemporary society. Many have argued then, (Biggs and Cobley, 1998) that it is the media who are responsible for shaping our views and opinions of the world in which we live. Moreover, some writers have even come to suggest that the impact and influence that the media now have can create social problems or moral panics (Cohen, 2002). It is indeed the media who are largely responsible for creating representations of particular groups within society and very often this can create skewed perceptions of reality.

Apparently in the 21st century we now live in a racist free, multicultural society… a utopian paradise where the colour of a person's skin is no longer an issue? However, although we have moved away from worst days of racial discrimination witnessed in the previous two centuries, this archaic and colonial system of classification, more commonly known as racism, is still present on some level or another and continues to linger today as the world's secret shame. (Coakley, 2001)

Indeed, sport is often perceived as one of the few platforms which is free for all and everyone is welcome. Upon closer inspection however, it must be understood that 21st century sport is not bereft of some level of racism.

Despite some rather rare protests, racism still continues to exist in an 'intermittent fashion' in contemporary sport. Reinforced and perpetuated by the mass media through television, the internet and the press, the problem is only becoming worse since dominant stereotypes of the black athlete remain alive in the collective consciousness of society.

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