Diversity Through Sport

Because spectator sports play a dominant role in American culture, many have tried to use them to change our society.  Such social engineering happens in America’s inner cities, which would come as no surprise to most people.  But it also happens in such unlikely places as the Arrowhead Region of northeastern Minnesota and, specifically, in the Mesabi Iron Range that lies within it.

Minnesota has an extensive junior-college system, and several schools are located within the Arrowhead Region, including Hibbing Community College in Hibbing; Lake Superior in Duluth; Itasca in Grand Rapids; Mesabi in Virginia; Vermillion in Ely; and Rainy River in International Falls.  These schools have athletic programs (with the exception of Lake Superior Community College), which include football.

Hibbing’s football program is over 80 years old.  Yet these days, there appears to be a shortage of football players in the frozen tundra. Last season, a good many of the Hibbing Cardinals were African-American, recruited from high schools in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Why did they leave their homes in the sunny South for the icy cold of Minnesota?  These students will say that they just want to play football and will go wherever and to whomever will take them, even if they have never seen snow before or morning temperatures of 32 below.  And Southern schools can afford to be choosy when...

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