Race, social identity and their influence on perceptions of same-race and different-race athletes
This study investigated race, source credibility, racial identity, sports identity, and sports involvement. Additionally, this study analyzed subjects' perceptions of racism, the role race and racial identity have on source credibility, and the role that sports identity and involvement have in perceptions of racism and source credibility. The theoretical constructs used for this project centered social identity theory, source credibility, and racial differences (between Blacks and Whites). Social identity theory was constructed to understand how people form a social identity, what elements are important in social identity, and how the salience of an individual's social identity can lead to discrimination against other people. Source credibility is defined as a person's believability. The most significant factor in a person's credibility is his/her perceived character, which in its most basic form means is this a good person or a bad person. In terms of racial differences, research has shown that Black and White people interpret issues differently at almost every level. This study used four controversial athletes (two White, two Black) in two different survey sets to analyze subject differences in perceptions of the credibility based on race, racial identity, and sports involvement. Results indicated significant racial differences in source credibility ratings of the athletes in this project. A positive relationship was also found between the racial identity of subjects and hostility towards the opposite race. Also, a positive relationship was found for sports involvement and subjects' reported knowledge of the athletes used in this study. Finally, sports identity was found to significantly impact subject perceptions of racism.