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"Aye, but It Were Wasted on Thee": Cricket, British Asians, Ethnic Identities, and the 'Magical Recovery of Community'

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  • Thomas Fletcher

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Abstract

People in sport tend to possess rather jaded perceptions of its colour-blindness and thus, they are reluctant to confront the fact that, quite often racism is endemic. Yorkshire cricket in particular, has faced frequent accusations from minority ethnic communities of inveterate and institutionalised racism and territorial defensiveness. Drawing upon semi-structured interviews conducted with amateur white and British Asian cricketers, this paper examines the construction of regional identities in Yorkshire at a time when traditional myths and invented traditions of Yorkshire and 'Yorkshireness' are being deconstructed. This is conceptualised through a reading of John Clarke's 'magical recovery of community'. Although cricket has been multiracial for decades, I argue that some people's position as insiders is more straightforward than others. I present evidence to suggest that, regardless of being committed to Yorkshire and their 'Yorkshireness', white Yorkshire people may never fully accept British Asians as 'one of us'. Ideologically and practically, white Yorkshire people are engaged in constructing British Asians as anathema to Yorkshire culture. The paper concludes by advocating that, for sports cultures to be truly egalitarian, the ideology of sport itself has to change. True equality will only ever be achieved within a de-racialised discourse that not only accepts difference, but embraces it.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Fletcher, 2011. ""Aye, but It Were Wasted on Thee": Cricket, British Asians, Ethnic Identities, and the 'Magical Recovery of Community'," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 16(4), pages 1-5.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2011-29-3
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