Dr Nikolas Dickerson: Sport in the time of Black Lives Matter - Moving towards Black ways of knowing

  • Black athlete in starting blocks of race track

Over the last five years, anti-Blackness has become more visible within the public imagination in the United States. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and George Floyd led to a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in both the US and abroad. These deaths may have happened in the United States, but the global response has shown that racism and anti-Blackness are not unique to the US

In the United Kingdom, we know that Black people are more likely to die in police custody, more likely to have been stopped and fined during lockdown and are more likely to die from COVID-19. Sport has played a central role in bringing these inequities to the fore through the embracement of BLM, and it is also a site which has helped frame the importance of this movement through explicit and covert racism within the institution of sport. The widespread protests in cricket, F-1, football, and by many other athletes in other sports demonstrated that these inequities or more precisely human rights issues are too important to ignore. More so, athletes such as Azeem Rafiq, Eni Aluko, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Diane Asher-Smith, Lewis Hamilton, Nigel Walker, Raheem Sterling, and many others have reminded us that sport is not free of institutional racism. Similarly in the United States, the activist movements of the women of the WNBA, Naomi Osaka, and Colin Kaepernick among many others demonstrate that sport is both a site for the reproduction and resistance to issues of institutional racism. 

This talk thus seeks to use my own experience as a Black American living in the UK during this period, sport, internet memes, popular culture, and my own research on Black masculinity, sport, and national identity to discuss why race matters in our current moment.  

Specifically, I will draw on this wide variety of resources and the autobiographical to interrogate the links between anti-Blackness in sport and broader society, in both the US and UK. I conclude by discussing a current research project that engages Black music, sport, and Black methodologies to draw attention to the ways the Black diaspora create alternative ways of living despite the longevity of living under subjugation. But, also to make connections to the ways this type of work has connections to discussions of decolonizing the curriculum.

  • Date: 21 March 2022
  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Venue: University of Lincoln, Nicola de la Haye Building, NDH0020
  • Book your place here
Lecturer, School of Sport & Exercise Science, Loughborough University

Dr Nik Dickerson

Lecturer, School of Sport & Exercise Science, Loughborough University

Dr. Nik Dickerson graduated with a BA in Sport Sociology from Ithaca College in 2005. He then went on to receive an MA in the Cultural Studies of Sport from the University of Maryland (2007), and a PhD in the Cultural Studies of Sport from the University of Iowa (2012). His PhD examined how race, gender, and national identity informed mediated representations of recreational drug use in sport, advertisement, and film. After graduating he served as a lecturer in American Studies at the University of Iowa for three years, and then spent seven years as a Senior Lecturer in Sport Sociology at the University of Lincoln (UK).

Nik’s research focuses on representations of Black masculinity and national identity within sport and popular culture. Specifically, his work interrogates how various forms of media (e.g., internet memes, adverts, film) construct and communicate dominate understandings of Black masculinity and national identity, while also exploring how members of the Black diaspora self-define and construct understandings of Black masculinity from a Black ontological perspective as a response to this dominant framing. He has specific expertise in representations of recreational drug use in sport, athlete activism, and the political underpinnings of constructions of national identity within sport through the lenses of race and gender.

Pronouns: He/Him

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