Glory Road Movie the Story Term Paper

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Even though Glory Road took place in the American South, its themes
are prevalent throughout sports and through many different time periods.
Current literature touches on many of the themes of the movie. A recent
study of college students by Harrison and Lawrence looks at the perception
regarding what seems to be the now dominating role of blacks in American
sports today (Harrison & Lawrence, 2004). While this seems to contradict
the theme of Glory Road, as Glory Road is about a lack of opportunities for
black athletes, the article depicts racial overtones within sports that
helps to show that racial issues have been and still are predominant in
sports. Harrison and Lawrence consider the success of black's in sports
and the public perception. Glory Road also looks at the perception of
black athletes, which in the context of America in 1966, considers blacks
to be good athletes, but not as smart as whites. This is consistent with
the themes of whiteness, white privilege, stereotyping of athletes, and
racism. Even though Haskin's took his team to the title, 30 years later,
according to Harrison and Lawrence "notions of Black athletic superiority
and intellectual inferiority permeate the minds of... American citizens"
(2004). This means that not so much has changed within American sports
culture, and that racisms, negative stereotypes, and whiteness are still
prevalent. Even today, people fail to understand the issues of race in
sports and are selective, racist, and stereotypical in their perceptions of
blacks and whites in sports. By understanding the setting of Glory Road
and today's social perception of race in sports, one can see the evolution
of American sports but that while participation has evolved to incorporate
blacks, the issues which affected blacks in the movie still affect them
today. While Harrison and Lawrence acknowledge that "race should be
disregarded in judging individual performance," they also recognize that
"this is very seldom the case in today's society" (2004). Much like the
days in the 1960s, race is still an issue when it comes to sports in
American society. Stereotypes enforcing racial differences among athletes
are prevalent in today's society which helps to encourage the sense of
whiteness in sports existing in the Glory Road.
While Glory Road touches largely on racial stereotypes, there are
numerous other stereotypes which exist in sports. In Glory Road, Don
Haskins is laughed at both by his players and administration for coaching
girls basketball. This stereotype of athletes, in particular women
athletes, exists in the movie, in 1960s America, as well as in today's
public perception when considering feminism and masculinity within sports.
A study by Alley, for instance, looks at the issue and comes to the
conclusion that certain sports are viewed as for women and certain sports
are publicly perceived to be for men (2005). While this article touches on
different issues than Glory Road, is helps to show that the level of
stereotypes facing athletes. Even without racial issues and white
privilege and white dominance in sports, there exists stereotypes regarding
certain sports being for women and certain sports being for men.
These issues of stereotypes of men and women also are enforced by the
media, which is demonstrated by the media coverage of Wimbledon (Vincent
2004). Media coverage tends to focus on male achievements, and in
particular male journalists use racial stereotypes against women tennis
players (Vincent 2004). This combination of utilizing gender, racial, and
cultural stereotypes existing in the more recent media is suggestive of the
media practices of stereotyping. Much like women tennis players are
downplayed, so was Texas Western in 1966. Just like whites dominate, so do
men. This means that there are stereotypes in sports both in the media
among the general public that exist both in the past and the present. The
underlying issues present in Glory Road did not just disappear, but exist
Whiteness is also an issue within even modern day sports as evidenced
by Erickson's 2005 report regarding rock climbers (2005). According to
Erickson, the 2000 North Face expedition in which four climbers were taken
hostage by an Islamic Organization is evidence that whiteness within sports
creates a sense of insecurity (2005). While this seemingly has nothing to
do with the themes of Glory Road, this is not the case as it is perhaps the
insecurities of whites who dominate sports, in particular college
basketball, who try to use their white privilege to prevent blacks from
taking over the sports. It is without a doubt that Rupp was aware of the
untapped talent of young African-Americans who saw no future in college
basketball, yet he did not utilize it. It was his whiteness and sense of
white privilege, racist tendencies, and social stereotypes which encouraged
Rupp to encourage white dominance in the sport. It is largely because
insecurities, a fear of losing the sport, that Rupp and others tried to
protect the status quo and prevent blacks from taking over. It is very
likely that insecurities kept the white dominance of blacks in sports and
encouraged stereotypes and racisms.
More surprising, though, is the fact that it is not always the case
that winning changes everything. In Glory Road, Texas Western and Don
Haskins were successes because they won. If they were a losing team, they
would have likely been looked down upon and seen as a failure despite
breaking racial boundaries. But they won and because a leader because they
showed that blacks could win, and were the first team starting all blacks
to do so. However, this is not always the case as even more recently, as
discussed in recent literature regarding leading African-American women
tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, racism still exists (Douglas,
2005). Even among top black athletes today, and even more so among that
are women, the issues of stereotypes and racial prejudices are ingrained in
the sports world.
The theme of whiteness, in which whites are predominant in the sports
world within Glory Road is also captured in more recent literature. Even
in the 1990s and 2000s there is a white dominance, and although it is
becoming more widely recognized, its presence means that there is in fact a
white dominance in sports (McDonald, 2005). Much like in Glory Road when
Don Haskins and his team had to challenge the whiteness, athletes have had
to continue to challenge white dominance of the sporting world. The
complicated issues of race in sports is reflected within long-distance
running in which the media, event organizers, and participants have looked
for ways to deal with whiteness in a sport in which white's had traditional
supremacy but were losing it (Walton & Butryn, 2006). The marginalization
of African-born U.S. runners shows that issues of whiteness within long-
distance running have not been resolved. This means that the 1966 Texas
Western basketball team, in ushering a new era of blacks into a sport, did
not change everything or change people's minds, but that racism still
existed. This seems to indicate that there is a constant evolution, and
that race in sports is much more complex than what meets the eye. Long-
distance running shows the stereotypes, whiteness, and attempts to maintain
white privilege in sport which have existed over the years.
Boxing, though, is a sport that is not traditionally white but
consists of many racist elements which appear to be inherent contradictions
(Woodward, 2004). This in itself indicates that racism is an issue if it
is being evaluated for a sport. Furthermore, boxers are stereotyped as
were athletes in Glory Road. They are forced to assume certain identities,
often consistent with a masculine identity (Woodward, 2004). This suggests
that people within sports are often given certain roles and encouraged to
maintain a role that fits the socially accepted norm for that sport. For
Don Haskins, it was to play only a certain amount of blacks. But Haskin's
defied that socially accepted role, and faced criticism. Much like boxers
fit a role, so did basketball players, which shows that racism and racial
stereotypes are very much alive in sports.
It is also clear that sport can come to represent much more than just
a game, as was the case in Glory Road in which the basketball team came to
represent the hopes of many blacks throughout the country. This is seen
through the cheering blacks rooting for Texas Western as if it was their
team. A lot of hopes were riding on the 1966 Texas Western team. The same
can be said for football in colonial India. "Football as a mass-spectator
sport came to represent an
unconventional type of cultural nationalism in colonial India against the
of strong anti-colonial nationalist feeling,," which shows that throughout
history there are other examples of sports representing much more than just
a game (Taylor & Francis, 2005). In the past, present,…[continue]


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Cite This Paper:

"Glory Road Movie The Story" (2007, May 31) Retrieved October 20, 2016, from

"Glory Road Movie The Story" 31 May 2007. Web.20 October. 2016. <>

"Glory Road Movie The Story", 31 May 2007, Accessed.20 October. 2016,

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