This research focuses on the experiences and participation of different ethnic groups in sports and sport pack. The researcher used fifty participants selected randomly from the park.
They consisted of male and female from different ethnic groups. The age group was 16 years and above. The research utilized both observation and interview for data collection. The researcher captured some of the activities in the park using photograph and designed appropriate questionnaires for the interview.
The study findings seem to support the previous studies conducted in the related field. Minorities’ participation in the parks is on the increase. We can conclude that the issues of racism, socioeconomic status, cultural barriers, and low level of income among different ethnic groups are on the decline. Consequently, they are embracing sports and park activities.
Sports and sport parks have been crucial in bridging the gap that exists due to differences in race and ethnicity in society. For instance, the racial relationships among whites and blacks have been full of hate and prejudice.
However, the differences have declined significantly over the past decades as people share sports and sport facilities. Sport has enhanced a sense of unity in societies. Experiences and research show that racism and prejudice still exist in society. However, majorities are gaining recognition of others moral values beyond the differences.
Improving ease of access and opportunities for majorities in society has formed the main objectives of most sport bodies around the globe. Sports have been responsible for promoting most countries’ pride. However, some studies reveal that there are sections of the population that still have minimum contact with sports and sports venues or parks.
Likewise, their levels of participation have remained low. Studies by Long and other researchers indicate “young people take part in a lot more sport than older people that women generally are less likely to participate in sport than men and that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to participate than their counterparts in the middle and upper socio-economic groups” (Long et al, 2009).
Currently, communities are engaging several methods to enhance participation in sports both for competitions and physical health. The UK sports machinery aim to remit and lead in the provision of world-class sporting activities and venues.
Bodies responsible for sports promotions have demonstrated their concern for majorities who miss benefits of sports. Most sporting events and activities aim at recruiting and exploiting individual talents and also encourage all sections of the society to experience all benefits we can derive from sports.
Attempts to include minorities in sports and presumed advantages of sport have led to the concept of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) strategy. The BME strategy may lead to challenges or accommodations when defining minority groups. Some researchers consider communities that form a part of ethnic populations.
There are also ‘White’ minorities in the population. However, most scholars focus mainly on the Blacks, Asians, and Latinos. What we take as appropriate definitions of terms may differ depending on the environment. Some studies may combine race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion to mean one idea or combine them. However, BME term is a collective term in the sporting environment.
Ethnic compositions vary significantly across different states. There are common barriers that limit involvement of ethnic minorities in sports and physical recreation activities. According to Rowe and Champion, the main barriers to involvement in sports include “material constraints, concerns about racial discrimination, and access to culturally-appropriate sport and physical recreation opportunities” (Rowe and Champion, 2000).
Socioeconomic status also affect in participation in sports among the BME communities due to high levels of economic difficulties due to long-term unemployment, poor health, low level of income, and poor living status. These factors act as barriers to inclusion, and participation in sports (Brown, 2000).
Most studies conducted through BME communities have shown negative effects of racism on participation in sports. Most scholars have looked at racial and ethnic barriers have considered the identities and ethnic differences, and relations through sport. These studies have concluded that racism mediate experiences of BME communities in sports.
There are also lack of cultural awareness and understanding of the BME communities’ needs in sporting activities and physical recreation. In addition, most BME communities lack input in the development and the provision of culturally-appropriate facilities and services have also been sources of barriers to minority involvement in sports (Andreasen, 1995).
Further studies have also confirmed low of involvements in sports among the BME communities. Gender disparity is also a factor that influences participation in sporting events among the BME communities. There are few women from the BME communities participating in different sports.
Low participations by the community in sporting events also affect other factors related to sports such as volunteering, spectators’ activities, and administration. Some communities still experience underrepresentation in most sports (Carroll, 1993). The minority communities also experience underrepresentation in terms of official representations in sports organizations.
These facts have the whites take control and dominate the institution of sports. Consequently, any sports’ cultures have created conditions that may prevent any minority race to take part in sports and other sporting events (Rai and Finch, 1997).
Past studies have also identified existence and damaging effects of racism in sports participation among the BME communities. The cultures developed have been to blame sports hooliganism based of fans and unrealistic expectations of the BME communities.
However, a critical look at this justification indicates that sports management authorities need to have realistic views of the racism situation in sports and how they can help eradicate racism negative impacts on BME communities. In sports, attempts to control racism in sports have achieved low progresses.
This is because there are different levels of commitment and dynamic practices. This leads to confusion with regards to what can work in controlling negative impacts of racism of sports. Still, in most cases, sports management bodies tend to deny existence of racism in sports. The compositions of sports have led some scholars to believe that there is a solution in addressing white dominance in sports aspects.
Ethnicities alone do not define participation in sports among the BME communities. Long and fellow researchers conclude “it is the way ethnicities intersect with gender, class, income, disability, age, religion and other factors that shape sporting opportunities” (Long et al, 2009).
In addition, the media also contribute to low levels of BME communities’ participation in sports through portrayals and racial stereotypes we observe in majorities who form parts of sporting organizations. Any form of stereotype restricts individuals’ attempts to fulfill their participation (Gallop and Dolan, 1981).
This review has identified limitations in participation in sporting activities among the BME communities that hinder their involvement and frustrate their efforts. It also shows the need for building BME communities capacity to enable them contribute positively in sporting activities.
Short-term strategies in developing sporting activities also limit participation of BME communities. This means we must widely consult with the BME communities in ensuring that every participant has appropriate services and facilities for sporting in venues.
This study shall strive to identify sporting participation in the sport park among the various ethnic communities. It will also identify the best practices that aim at providing inclusion in participation, in the parks. In order to avoid reinvention of the best practices, this study must stress the importance of disseminating the findings to relevant stakeholders.
This sporting park has its history in the past. The park occupies sections of historic homes and commercial storefronts along the busy streets of the city. The city continues to grow with the both existing and new communities, diverse industrial setting, and modern shopping complex.
The site location for this study is sports recreational park. The park consists of various sporting activities and a wide park for participants. These activities include gymnasium, playgrounds, recreation centers, senior centers, soft ball, kid centers, martial arts and provide online class in other sports. The park aims at creating an ideal community through people, parks and programs.
The park has no restriction because it is a public park opened to members of the community. The park has influenced this project because of the nature and facilities provided, ease of access, location around the community and composition of the participants.
The participants in the park consist of all community members. This is because the park has wide varieties of facilities for community members. Participants include children, young adults, parents, and senior citizens. The park also admits members from all different ethnic backgrounds.
The participants consist of fifty persons randomly chosen in the park. Random sampling was appropriate because the researcher wanted to ensure inclusion of different ethnic groups in the data collected. The research would present different findings and approaches to the stud in a different park because of the nature of this park, location, participants, and facilities.
The researcher used observation method to collect data regarding activities of the park. This was the best method to collect data as people freely interact in their natural settings. The observation included participant involved in different sports, activities and social activities.
The best time to carry out the study was between four and six in the afternoon. This is the time when majorities frequented the park. The researcher recorded all activities of interest in the park (see appendix).
The researcher also engaged participants in interviews to gather their opinion about participation in the park. The researcher asked questions related to participation of different ethnic communities in the park and how the park facilities, charges or membership, interaction with others affected their participation.
Scholars suggest the use of random sampling technique to allow for equal opportunity of selecting a representative sample from the participants. This random sampling allows the researcher to arrive at a valid generalization. The researcher must ensure that he or she collects effective data and establish different views of sport park participants and their experiences. This process must involve senior citizens, children, young adults, parents and management consisting of different sexes.
This interview happened on Wednesday of 02/05/2012 between 4 pm and 6 pm. The researcher explained to the participants the need of the research and its primary purpose as studies only.
The researcher must design the interview instruments he must use to conduct interviews among the participants. The researcher plans to collect primary data from the park participants from different ethnic groups. The survey questionnaires must reflect the study purpose and objectives.
The interview questionnaire provides a room for respondents to account their experiences in the park, sports they prefer, what factors hinder their participation and other valuable information for the study.
Likewise, the researcher must design questionnaire instruments that are easy to gather responses, analyze, less expensive and do not consume time of the participants. This instrument can be closed-ended questionnaires to allow respondents choose from short set of answers, such as true or false, or yes or no, among others.
Some of the interview questions the researcher asked include the following.
- What are the overall levels of participation in sports among different ethnic groups in the park and how do you rate it to the total number of participants?
- Can you mention which sports or recreational sports do different ethnic groups prefer and how the park caters for them?
- Would like to see the number of the participants from different ethnic groups increase?
- May you identify factors that inhibit participation of the ethnic minorities in the sports provided by the park?
- What are the negative experiences of different ethnic groups in the park during their participation in sporting activities?
Most scholars agree that a well applied sample must have the similar characteristics as the entire population of study. Qualitative research applies the systematic collection, ordering, description and interpretation of textual data arrived at through observation or documentation of interview findings (Creswell, 2008).
This is a qualitative research. Thus, the researcher should recognize all the trends of the qualitative data gathered due to the use of the closed interview instruments.
At the same time, the researcher must take care of any data that may appear in the forms of quantities. He must change such forms of data into their descriptive nature during analysis and interpretation of results. The researcher must do this because the qualitative technique relies on descriptions, analysis, narration and interpretation of data to provide insight to the issue under investigation.
The researcher must carry out an analysis of the data after collection. However, he must clean, sort and remove any unnecessary responses to enable data that only concern the research objectives go for analysis. The researcher may involve the use of certain quantitative statistics analysis such as average, standard deviations, frequency, and mode.
However, the researcher must convert these analyses into qualitative responses to reflect the analysis method of the research. This will enable the research reflects descriptive nature of experiences and different levels of participation in the park among different ethnic groups (Patton, 2002).
The basic and first step of data analysis must ensure that the researcher carry out data cleaning and organization. The researcher then codes the data and generates themes of the study based on the frequencies of the interview responses. The researcher will use a simple Excel program to generate themes out of the collected data using a quantitative approach of mean, frequencies and mode for the purpose of comparison among different ethnic groups and gender.
The researcher may present results in the form of tables, percentages, and frequencies with clear, descriptive interpretation of all charts. The researcher can also give personal or individual respondent account of the research, review previous works on the same subject and do comparisons with other research findings. The researcher may also raise pertinent questions depending on the research findings. The researcher must have standard of validating the outcome.
The researcher must also ensure the validity and reliability of the outcome and know whether he can conclude a suitable generalization from data collected. The researcher must establish whether or not the results measure the target content and predict the result. Likewise, the researcher must also identify chances of consistency and eliminate any possible errors.
The researcher has based he findings on a random sampling technique of gathering data among 50 participants of 16 years and over in the park. This study cut across all ethnic groups. The researcher conducted the study at the park on Wednesday of 02/05/2012 between 4 pm and 6 pm. He identified respondents on their way to the park and during their participation in various activities. The researcher used observations and survey questionnaires to collect data from respondents and later carried out analyses.
The overall levels of participation in sports among different ethnic groups in the park
The overall participation of different ethnic groups in the park varies significantly. The BME communities are the least participants in sporting activities available in the park. BME community participation was at 32 percent against dominant race at 68 percent. Men participation among all the ethnic groups is high at 55 percent while female at 45 percent. Most women only participate in such activities for health purposes.
Black men frequented the park more than other BME communities. In fact, the numbers of Black men participating in physical activities and sports have gone up. However, the study indicates that the sport park has various facilities of interest to Black men, such as basketball courts, gymnastics, walking, and other facilities for body building. Men of all ethnic groups frequented the park than women.
Black women also have interests in sports than other women of different ethnic groups. However, other women also participate in the sporting activities of the park but at low rates.
There is a wide gap that exists between men and women with regard to utilization of the park and participation in sports. Men dominate participation in sports and use of the park among the population as a whole.
Sports or recreational sports do different ethnic groups prefer
Most ethnic groups do not prefer walking as a sport in the park. In fact, walking is the least preferred sport among the young generation of all ethnic groups. However, the elderly populations take long walks in the park regularly compared to other generations. However, the park management is encouraging the community to engage in walking as a way of reducing cases of obesity, diabetes and heart diseases common among the aging populations.
Most ethnic groups prefer keeping fit through yoga or aerobics. This is a popular activity among women of all ethnic groups. Keeping fit is the main activity that drives women to the park. They doubled it with walking to boost their fitness status.
Swimming is not popular among adults of all ethnic groups, more so in among the Blacks. However, children seem to enjoy swimming in the park. It comes after walking. This study indicates that ethnic minorities do not prefer swimming as a form of sport. Participation in swimming is even lower among women from strict cultural backgrounds.
Men from all ethnic groups preferred participating in football. However, White men dominate these groups followed by their Black counterparts. A closer look at the level of Asian participation at the park shows that they do not prefer football. In general, there are instances where the researcher observed high levels of participation in different sports among various ethnic groups in the park. These areas include the following.
Black men preferred weight training in the park. They dominated all ethnic groups visiting the park. Majorities included the BME communities of Black Africans and other Latinos. These groups also tended to dominate running and jogging in the park. The researcher observed that majorities of those who dominated this sport were mainly men from different ethnic groups.
In the areas of martial arts or self-defense which the park offers and provide classes, most men from all ethnic groups frequented the park for training. Martial arts trainings cut across all ethnic groups on average levels.
Most Asian men preferred badminton. The Blacks from different ethnic groups dominated basketball. They dominate even the White majorities who dominated most sporting activities in the park.
Women from different ethnic backgrounds preferred jogging and running. However, whites and black women dominate participation in running and jogging around the park. There are also few women who engaged in weight lifting purposeful for reducing body fat, keeping fit and preventing possible cases of health risks.
Women also participated in martial arts for self-defense. This was common among Asian women. Black women also dominated basketball field just like their male counterparts. Other sports that are of interests to majorities included gymnastics, athletics, cricket and some indoor games. However, participation remained low in such sport across all ethnic groups.
The numbers of the participants from different ethnic groups increase
Most participants responded that they would like to see participation in sports and related activities increase among all ethnic groups in the park. There were also participants who want to try sporting activities they are not currently involved. This was common among main ethnic groups who visited the park often, particularly young participants.
Factors that inhibit participation of the ethnic minorities in the sports provided by the park
Most participants said that socioeconomic background and family responsibilities were hindrances to their frequent visits at the parks. This response was common among female participants. Other participants mentioned their works and jobs as main inhibiting factors with regard to sports participations. There were few cases of racism as a factor hindering participation in sport in the park.
Negative experiences of different ethnic groups in the park
Few participants also mentioned cases of negative experiences in the park as a result of different ethnic orientations. Men dominated women with regarding to experiencing negative instances of racism in the park.
Discussion and Conclusion
This study attempts to provide insight in how different ethnic groups utilize the park. It shows the most popular sports, level of participation, and ethnic groups that dominate given sports. Earlier studies have indicated that the BME communities have low participation in sports and related activities. However, this study shows that these ethnic groups have noticed the importance sports and public facilities that provide such recreational services. Consequently, they are gradually embracing sports as part of their everyday lives.
Ethnic minorities have experienced some forms of exclusion in sporting activities and management. For a long time, members of the BME communities have experienced exclusion from sport due to their socioeconomic, poor health, living conditions and low level of income. However, this trend is changing as most of them are now in employment and can afford recreational facilities and leisure time. Thus, factors of material constraints will no longer be sources of concern for participating in sports and visiting sport parks.
Ethnic groups’ involvement and experiences in the sport park show that negative consequences of racism in public parks have declined. Few participants indicated that they had experienced racism. This shows that sports and parks can act as methods of bridging the racial and ethnical differences in the community.
Thus, organizers of public sport events and builders of recreational facilities should consider the ethnic compositions of the community before engaging in such projects. In addition, inputs of the minorities are essential for creating an inclusive sport park.
Some ethnic minorities may not participate in sports and sporting activities due cultural differences and misrepresentations. This explains why consultation is crucial when creating awareness for sports and physical recreations. Thus, sport parks should provide cultural suitable facilities to ensure that participation is inclusive. This can assist in eliminating sport participation barriers.
Sport park management encourages the community to engage in simple sports such as walking, jogging and athletics for health purposes. This is necessary because walking and jogging are not popular sports among the majorities who visit the park. Walking and jogging can reduce incidences of stroke, heart diseases, and diabetes.
This study shows a complex use of sports among different ethnic groups and gender. We have noticed how different gender and ethnic groups take part in various sports. Certain sports are only popular with a given ethnic group. This leads to their underrepresentation. On the other hand, some sports have high levels of representation among different ethnic groups. This enhances the national outlook among various ethnic groups.
There are relatively high levels of different participants from different ethnic groups who acknowledged that if they get a chance they would take part in different sports they have never tried before. This means that the park may not be offering access, and provisions of adequate facilities for different ethnic groups in the community.
Further, we may argue that it is the lack of cultural expose that limits participation in such sports. We can also notice that majorities may engage in certain sports due to cultural orientations and personal choice. In these cases, provisions, access, or affordability are the issues.
The fact that few individuals said they had experienced negative forms interactions in the park does not mean the park is free of discrimination. Further, these experiences may vary from individuals to individuals. This should be of concern to policymakers and management of the park. The groups must look at appropriate ways of handling negative forms of discrimination in the park even if they are not related to racism.
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Gallop, D. and Dolan, J. (1981). Perspectives on the participation in sporting recreation amongst minority group youngsters. Physical Education Review, 4(1), 61-64.
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Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
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Fig 1: Physical activities
Fig 2: Instructions
Fig 3: Amusement facilities
Fig 4: Gymnastic
Fig 5: Play section
Fig 6: Senior citizens
Fig 7: Recreation center