As a coach, there are several ways to address racism in sport. Four ways coaches can address racism is:
- Raise awareness.
- To raise widespread awareness, coaches must educate themselves and be willing to share their knowledge and perspectives with all stakeholders
- Offer support.
- Offer emotional and social support by letting participants know they aren't alone and that you support their decisions.
- Truly supporting your participants means advocating for them too and acting on their behalf.
- Challenge the status quo.
- Each sport has certain official criteria and policies as well as informal or unwritten rules. These rules may put some racialized participants at a disadvantage in competition.
- Talk with other coaches and administrators about how to make changes.
- Question the system.
- Challenge the system by questioning a sport organization, including respectfully responding to the appropriate officials who may be acting on individual, racialized biases, or unwritten rules. Help them understand that the ideals upon which criteria are based were created when there were few racialized participants, coaches or judges in the sport.
- Emphasize that changes will create more inclusive sporting environments.
Beyond these strategies, it is important for coaches to do work themselves on addressing their own biases and be open to learning. For example, coaches can:
- Challenge unconscious bias. Learn ways to better intervene when you overhear racism.
- Self-reflection. Reflect on your own biases and how they may influence your selection process of participants and coaches.
- Be a curious leader. Be proactive and aim to understand your participants, both inside and outside of sport. Don't make assumptions about people's biases. Ask questions about why they hold beliefs and invite them to question the basis for those beliefs and explore possible alternative views.
- Be transparent. Provide participants with tangible criteria for why they weren't selected. This can leave them with direction for growth while assuring them that unconscious biases and treatment discrimination weren't the reason.
Finally, emphasize the importance of anti-racism policies for sport organizations. When suggesting policy changes, highlight the following 6 reasons as to why it is important to include anti-racism policies within your current policies or in addition.
- Proactive measures are the best way to safeguard participants and coaches from experiencing racism.
- Eliminating excuses
- Having clear anti-racism policies in place discourages individuals from claiming they were unaware of the negative outcomes their racist behaviours and practices can cause.
- Clear policies protect organizations from individuals or bad actors who stain sport.
- People who experience racial discrimination will know what protocols to follow and can find help to follow the recourse available to them.
- Becoming more supportive
- Appropriate policies help coaches to adequately support their participants and other coaches.
- Providing intervention tools
- Policy and related tools enable action.