In his article The Revolt of the Black Athlete, Douglas Hartmann has compared the origins and implications of the two significant waves of athletic activism. The two waves are the original one of the 1960s and the more contemporary movement. In this case, Hartman utilizes different scenarios and perspectives to compare the two waves, where they share common aspects on some occasions while differing on other occasions in terms of cultural, political and social forces that shaped the two movements.
There are various perspectives in which Hartmann compares the two waves. For instance, the waves are compared regarding social issues like police brutality and racial gaps in income earning and education. The comparison between the two waves is also based on culture and the political energy that shaped the two movements. Like the activists of the 1960s, today’s activists are well-informed, reflective and deliberate in responding to and addressing the social issues affecting individuals on the streets and in communities in the United States. Some of the social aspects addressed by the 1960s activists and the present-day activists are police brutalities, racial gaps in education, and healthcare settings, gaps in income earning, profiling, and hateful gender. Like the activists in the 1960s, the present-day activists raise their concerns to the community, public leaders, and other non-sport organizers and activists. As the activists of the 1960s did, contemporary activists speak against racism and discrimination directed at people of colour. For instance, “tennis player James Blake’s experience with the police brutality comes to mind” (Hartmann 8). Although there are similarities between the original wave of the 1960s and the present-day wave, numerous aspects portray the differences between the two movements. In this case, the present-day wave seems to demonstrate significant improvement since the case of racism and discrimination have reduced compared to the cases in the 1960s when police brutalities kept increasing.
One of the primary significant differences between the two waves is that in the 1960s, there was not much involvement and support for the white teammates, owners, managers and coaches. However, the involvement and support of these groups are higher today, where coaches, managers and owners stand with their players despite their race or originality. Indeed, the white players have emerged to support their teammates to achieve free speech and the right to political expression (Hartmann 10). Today, the sporting elites and leaders have become more supportive of Black athletes than in the past.
The contemporary movement is also different from the original movement of the 1960s since politicians, public opinion leaders and the reports have been using athlete and sports activism to organize their campaigns and mobilizations. In this case, athlete sports have been instrumental in shaping the political powers of various leaders compared to the past, when any politician ever used the original movement, public opinion leaders or reporters to mobilize people during their organizations or movements (Hartmann 13). An example is when President Trump used the threats of athletic protest to reshape his base. This means that the contemporary wave is used in shaping the political aspect, which was not used in the past.
In conclusion, Hartmann has described the perspective of the original wave of the 1960s and the contemporary movement. The two movements share common perspectives on some points. However, they differ at other points. Both movements raised concerns to the public leaders and other non-sport activists regarding their voices against discrimination and racism. This shows that the original wave of the 1960s was against racism and discrimination, like the present-day movement, which is also against racism and discrimination. The two waves have some differences in that the contemporary movement has coaches, white players, managers and owners supporting their teammates to have their voices heard.
Hartmann, D. (2019). The Olympic “Revolt” of 1968 and its Lessons for Contemporary African American athletic activism. European Journal of American Studies, 14(14-1).