Beyond the Cheers: Race as Spectacle in College Sport

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Focusing on half-time performances, commercialized stagings, media coverage, public panics, and political protests, Beyond the Cheers offers an ethnography, history, and social critique of racial spectacles in college sport. King and Springwood argue that collegiate revenue producing sports are created as a spectacle, driven by a range of contradictory meanings and exploitative practices. While Native Americans are viewed largely as empty or distorted images and African Americans are seen as both shining stars and ‘troubled delinquents,’ White Americans remain constant as spectators, coaches, administrators, journalists, and athletes, producing and consuming college sport, performing and policing, but seemingly unmarked as racial subjects. In consuming these spectacles, American sports fans learn to embrace inflated, contradictory, and distorted renderings of racial difference and the history of race relations in America.
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About the author

C. Richard King is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Drake University. He is the author of Colonial Discourses, Collective Memories, and the Exhibition of Native American Cultures and Histories in the Contemporary United States.

Charles Fruehling Springwood is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the author of Cooperstown to Dyersville: A Geography of Baseball Nostalgia.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
214
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ISBN
9780791490402
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Physical Education
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Sports & Recreation / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Washington Redskins franchise remains one of the most valuable in professional sports, in part because of its easily recognizable, popular, and profitable brand.


And yet "redskins" is a derogatory name for American Indians.


The number of grassroots campaigns to change the name has risen in recent years despite the current team owner's assertion that the team will never do so. Franchise owners counter criticism by arguing that the team name is positive and a term of respect and honor that many American Indians embrace. The NFL, for its part, actively defends the name and supports it in court.


Prominent journalists, politicians, and former players have publicly spoken out against the use of "Redskins" as the name of the team. Sportscaster Bob Costas denounced the name as a racial slur during a halftime show in 2013. U.S. Representative Betty McCollum marched outside the stadium with other protesters--among them former Minnesota Vikings player Joey Browner--urging that the name be changed.


Redskins: Insult and Brand examines how the ongoing struggle over the team name raises important questions about how white Americans perceive American Indians, about the cultural power of consumer brands, and about continuing obstacles to inclusion and equality. C. Richard King examines the history of the team's name, the evolution of the term "redskin," and the various ways in which people both support and oppose its use today. King's hard-hitting approach to the team's logo and mascot exposes the disturbing history of a moniker's association with the NFL--a multibillion-dollar entity that accepts public funds--as well as popular attitudes toward Native Americans today.
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