Racism is deeply rooted in the long-lasting socio-cultural legacy of settler colonialism. Colorism and its implications emerged from the narrative of the Europeans and the other after the encounters between the settlers and the indigenous people of Canada. Racism and racialized inequalities negatively impact the active participation of minority groups in sports and physical activities; the effects of institutionalized racism can go as far as preventing a person from succeeding.
Racially and ethnically motivated barriers are imposed through unfair treatment, rules, favoritism, and other means. Abuse ranges from stereotyping and verbal remarks to more structural issues, like the absence of dress code accommodation. Satzewich claims that racial struggles are manifested from overt to covert activities and are observed among men and women.
Competitive sports often create a hostile environment for colored people, as over-competition in sports often leads to the use of racial slurs, support of biological stereotypes, or racially motivated violence. Racial, religious, cultural, and ethnic identities are not always taken into consideration in sport-communities, which significantly hinges people of color from active physical engagement.
I have experienced racism, both open and subtle, throughout my athletic career on a soccer varsity team. Firstly, I am a person of color, which quite often led to racist humor among my teammates and spectators. My internalized desire to fit in made me neglect my identity, and I used to let those jokes go past me without any repercussions.
My achievements were often belittled and reduced to fit the stereotypical narratives that circulate around people of color and their participation in physical activity. It did not matter if I set the record for the fastest goal or succeeded in an offensive attack. My abilities were regarded as something that was inherent to my race, not skills that I had worked hard to develop.
During a match between school teams, one of the players of the opposite team demanded the referee that I am sent off the field, claiming that I had an unfair advantage over other players because of my physique. When the player’s complaint was rejected by the referee, he started insisting that I was showing aggressive behavior that was “only natural to people like me,” insinuating me to be dangerous. Thankfully, the referee recognized the racial prejudice and shut down the allegations immediately.