Physical Education And Sport

13 SECRET EXERCISES OF PHYSIQUE CHAMPIONS by Dennis B. Weis

By Dennis B. Weis

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Of the fifty male Asian pupils, sixteen are ‘Victims’, nineteen are ‘Straights’, six are ‘Boffins’ and nine are ‘Street-kids’. The Victims—‘Everyone picks on us, I think they hate us’ The Victims can be simply defined as persecuted migrants from Bangladesh. They are strict Muslims, and many of them have left a rural environment to settle in Britain. They are committed to their traditional religious and cultural way of life, and this influences their involvement in sport. They are invariably part of large, sometimes very large, working-class families, struggling against the multiple difficulties of poor housing and unemployment.

You don’t know what you’re talking about’. Or sometimes I just lose my temper and say ‘OK, if you want to fight, let’s fight now’. Sometimes they back off, but sometimes they start fighting; I’ve had lots of fights. I used to get called a lot— a couple of years ago—but not so much now. (Dinesh) Despite this coping strategy, the influence of personal racism is an important factor in an analysis of Asians’ sports participation. Asians can’t be bothered. Either that or they’re scared. If they get called racist names and that, they’ll lose confidence.

Far from breaking down cultural barriers and encouraging tolerance, sport serves to maintain and fortify ethnic boundaries (Allison, 1982, p. 166), and is a source of discord and conflict (Sargeant, 1972, p. 225). In spite of this, the Victims’ attitude to physical education is very positive: ‘I love it. It keeps me fit and I enjoy it’ (Rashid). This is all the more surprising in view of the religious and cultural considerations that undoubtedly influence their perceptions of physical education and sport, and their participation in it.

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