chapter  5
19 Pages

“Mexicans don’t surf”

An intersectional analysis of Mexican American’s experiences with sport
ByCassie Comley

This study investigates the ways in which people of colour, specifically Mexican American surfers navigate predominantly white sporting spaces. This paper seeks to answer the call to a growing need to explore more accounts of Mexican American experiences with sport in an attempt to understand the varying ways people of color engage in sporting activities as well as break out of racialised, classed and gendered cultural assumptions, among others. The purpose of the study on which this chapter is based is to contextualise Mexican American surfers’ experiences with sport to explore if and how they experience identity-based exclusionary practices and discrimination. The study also investigates if and how Mexican Americans use sport to: contest race, class, sex, sexuality and gender based ideologies; create a sense of community and identity; and construct empowering, transgressive spaces and identities. This study, still in the data collection phase at the time of writing, aims to complete sixty in-depth interviews. This chapter reveals some of the preliminary findings drawn from fifteen participant in-depth interviews. By incorporating a Critical Race Theory framework, which is intersectional in nature, this study wishes to capture the voices and experiences of Latina/os in sport, to explore the theory that sporting spaces are not neutral or value-free, but rather are racialised and gendered spaces where power relations are created and contested.