March Madness and the NCAA Plantation: Why Black People Must Demand Reform

11 Mar

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I wrote about a new book regarding the NCAA’s alleged exploitation of black athletes, written by University of Georgia Professor Billy Hawkins. In his recently-released book, “The New Plantation,” Hawkins goes out of his way to help us understand that the method by which the NCAA does business is not much different from the mindset of plantation owners of the old south.

The analogies used by Professor Hawkins are thought-provoking and appear to be alarmist at first glance. After all, citizens are commonly comparing nearly every modern-day injustice to slavery in order to make a dramatic point. But in this case, the analogies are appropriate, in large part because slavery is not a dichotomy. Instead, it is actually a continuum, with complete freedom on one end and total servitude on the other. One could even argue that slaves themselves were not completely devoid of freedom, since they could have always chosen to run away, buy their freedom, maim themselves or even commit suicide as a way to escape their condition. The point of this very grim example is not to say that slavery was not entirely horrific; rather, it is to say that something does not have to be entirely horrific to be compared to slavery.


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One Response to “March Madness and the NCAA Plantation: Why Black People Must Demand Reform”

  1. WizardG March 12, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    This is how the colleges can get richer on the backs of the youth. They do realize that many of the young players are from poor and working class families. They do realize that the College Executives etc., are generally making ten to 20 times more than the teen’s parents.
    One of the sad things about this society is that people allow old fashioned ideals to continue too long in an ever changing world. The rich are always in a position to abuse the working and poor, and rarely will they correct their greedy wealth building ventures.

    The people are so conditioned to continue raising their children and themselves the way their parents raised them that they lose perspective and vision to a point that doing things the same old way brings more old fashioned slowed and lackadaisical standards.

    If people keep doing things the same ways decades after decades as the scientific and technical world advances quickly they allow a slowed and stagnated advancement of their children and themselves. These colleges and the NCAA know that they are wrong but old fashioned ideals and old standards, rules and promises make it easy for them to continue.

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