(E)Racing Jennifer Harris: Sexuality and Race, Law and Discourse in Harris v. Portland
Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Vol. 32, p. 345, 2008
24 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2009 Last revised: 28 Dec 2011
Date Written: 2008
In 2007 Penn State basketball coach Rene Portland retired shortly after a confidential settlement ended a discrimination lawsuit brought by former player Jennifer Harris against Portland and PSU. Because of Portland's infamous policy of not allowing lesbians on her team, her departure was celebrated as a victory against homophobia in sports. Yet while Harris's claims of sexual orientation discrimination were validated in the media, her allegations of racial discrimination were ignored or dismissed as implausible. In this Article, we examine the omission of race from the discourse surrounding this case and suggest that both legal and cultural factors contribute to society's tendency to ignore the intersecting discrimination in sport and the multiplicity of identity.
Keywords: discrimination, college athletics, race, gender, sexual orientation
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