Year of Publication

2021

Date of Thesis

05-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Abstract

The intersection of race and sex based discrimination is still an issue for any Black female student-athletes (BFSA) (Comeaux et al., 2017; Feagin, 2014). Because of this intersection of identities, BFSAs are subject to even more scrutiny than their White counterparts. BFSAs’ experiences with discrimination are deeply rooted in collegiate athletics, particularly in predominantly White institutions (PWI). Black women face unique forms of discrimination because they do not identify as White or male. Intersectionality, a term coined by Crenshaw (1991), is used to "denote the various ways in which race and gender interact to shape the multiple dimensions of Black women’s… experiences" (p.1244). The purpose of this Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith et al., 2009) was to understand Division III BFSA’s personal experiences with microaggressions and the perceived impact microaggressions have on their athletic performance and well-being. Eight African-American female Division III athletes responded to asynchronous interview questions, electronically via email, with follow-up interview questions distributed one week later. Findings highlight that participants were unable to separate their racial identity from their athletic identity. Participants shared they did not let discrimination stop them from playing their sport because they were inspiring other Black girls and women. Instead, their experiences with microaggressions forced them to appreciate their racial and athletic identity. These findings add to existing research making it crucial to highlight the gender and racial microaggressions BFSAs face in comparison to their White counterparts (Comeaux et al., 2017; Feagin, 2014). In addition, BFSA’s racial identity played a huge factor in their athletic identity.

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