There was a time when American athletes went to the Olympics to represent their country proudly. Many still do, but the virus of narcissism has clearly infected some of our athletes. Perhaps it is to be expected, considering the fawning Olympic media coverage, the emergence of an enabling social media, and the glorification of self that has become de rigueur in sports. Some sportswriters, under the pretext of injecting more personality into sports, appear to encourage such selfish behavior, whether it is styling after a home run, calling attention to oneself after dunking the basketball or doing a sack dance after tackling a quarterback (even when your team is losing by 30 points).Much for students of social psychology or the so-called culture studies to investigate, particularly the pernicious cult of authenticity. At tony Hamilton College, however, it's business as usual.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone when "injecting more personality" morphs into boorish conduct, egregious sportsmanship and the Ryan Lochte early morning show. And make no mistake — during the Olympics, the rest of the world takes note. Unfortunately, the churls overshadow American athletes demonstrating sports' best qualities: Abbey D'Agostino helping a fallen opponent or Allyson Felix's heads-up reminder to her team to finish their relay race after a baton drop, thereby helping them win a challenge and qualify for a gold medal.
Hamilton College is offering courses this year exploring concepts such as “white privilege” and the role of masculinity, power structures, and global capitalism in competitive athletics.I wonder if the actings-out of the three athletes honored by Mr Franklin become exemplars of privilege, or if Ms Felix's proper use of the rules as a shield becomes "internalized oppression." Check out the wordnoise, in a description of another course that satisfies a Diversity prerequisite.
According to the college’s current course catalog, at least one of the courses fulfills a requirement for an Africana Studies concentration, though none are required for students pursuing other disciplines due to Hamilton’s “open curriculum” approach.
Dr. Nigel Westmaas offers another course, “Global Race and Sport,” that students can take in order to meet that goal.I'm not sure what expression the "interrogate" stands for. The term as used by the culture-studies weenies has nothing to do with keeping prisoners awake for days on end, and answering questions at midnight. On the other hand, "act like you've won before" might be a tool of the power structure.
The 200-level course “is designed to examine race and diversity issues in the world of sports from the early 20th century to the present” through “critical inquiry on the impact of race and racism in major world sports and the Olympic movement.”
The description further states that students will “[interrogate] issues of masculinity, gender, the structures of power, as well as new forms of global capitalism in sports.”
Come December, I doubt that any Hamilton students, upon completing the course, will be better equipped to explain why Athletes Behaving Badly leads to bad behavior among people less privileged.