Darkness and a little light: 'Race' and sport in Australia

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Islander Studies
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Journal Article
Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2009, 2009 (2), pp. 1 - 14
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Despite 'the wonderful and chaotic universe of clashing colors, temperaments and emotions, of brave deeds against odds seemingly insuperable', sport is mixed with 'mean and shameful acts of pure skullduggery', villainy, cowardice, depravity, rapaciousness and malice. Thus wrote celebrated American novelist Paul Gallico on the eve of the Second World War (Gallico 1938 [1988]:9-10). An acute enough observation about society in general, his farewell to sports writing also captures the 'clashing colors' in Australian sport. In this 'land of the fair go', we look at the malice of racism in the arenas where, as custom might have it, one would least want or expect to find it. The history of the connection between sport, race and society - the long past, the recent past and the social present - is commonly dark and ugly but some light and decency are just becoming visible.
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