Sportopedia Glossary



Race is a way of grouping people based on their physical features, family history, genes, or how they relate to others. Racial identity is the identity someone forms as a member of a specific racial group they belong to (Sue & Sue, 2017). In the United States Census, racial categories include White (European, Middle Eastern, or North African origins), Black or African American (of African descent or identifying as Black), American Indian or Alaska Native (North and South American with tribal affiliation), Asian (Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent), and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (from Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands) (United States Census Bureau, 2017).
Cultural sport psychology (CSP) is a field of research that focuses on marginalized communities, fairness in sports, and racial inequality and unfairness in sports (McGannon & Johnson, 2009). One specific area of CSP research is cultural appropriation, which happens when symbols, names, and rituals from American Indian culture are used by sports teams through mascots, logos, chants, slogans, and other images (Staurowsky, 2007). This can make the use of these cultural elements acceptable to White people as long as they are represented in a way that they find acceptable. In sport psychology, race is often mixed up with ethnicity, but they are actually different characteristics. An athlete’s race becomes part of their overall identity, and a sport psychology consultant uses this information to understand the athlete better and provide culturally sensitive guidance (Carter, 2019).

McGannon, K., & Johnson, C. R. (2009). Strategies for reflec- tive cultural sport psychology research. In R. Schinke, & S. Hanrahan (Eds.), Cultural Sport Psychology (pp. 57 75). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Leeja, C. (2019). In D. Hackfort, R. J. Schinke, & B. Strauss (Eds.), Dictionary of sport psychology: Sport, exercise, and performing arts. Academic Press.

Staurowsky, E. J. (2007). “You know, we are all Indian” exploring white power and privilege in reactions to the NCAA Native American Mascot Policy. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 31(1), 61 76. Available from 10.1177/0193723506296825.

Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

United States Census Bureau. (2017). Race. Retrieved from