Cricket and Race
Nominated for Cricket Society Book of the Year Award 2002.
Winner of the 2001 Lord Aberdare Prize for Sports History.
Any attempt to understand the nature of social relations and cultural identities in modern Britain must consider the significance of sport. Sports have had a crucial role in sustaining national consciousness. Because cricket has so often been regarded as a symbol of Englishness, especially amongst those with economic and political influence, the role of race in the sport provides penetrating insights into English national identity, from the belief in racial superiority underlying imperial expansion through to more recent debates about sporting links with South Africa, and racial animosities at test matches.
This book examines cricket and race in England over the past century and a half. The author considers how far and in what respects cricket has reflected the racist assumptions of whites, and its role as an arena for ethnic conflict as well as understanding and harmony in England. In the first half of the twentieth century, commentary on the playing abilities of West Indian cricketers was often superficially laudatory but condescending in tone, and argued that racial characteristics would limit their achievements as players. More recently, campaigns to combat racism in the sport and the contributions of African-Caribbeans and Asians to recreational cricket show how central cricket is to appraisals of the cultural factors that have shaped ethnic relations. This absorbing book provides an incisive overview of the interconnections among cricket, race and culture.