Racism in martial arts

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Racism in martial arts has been a common allegation.

Media portrayal[edit]

Some of this can be attributed to media portrayal of minority groups while giving the majority a primary role.[1] Television shows such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have been called racist[2] but, in the case of the Rangers show, a minority actor on the show attributes it to coincidence.[3] Quite often the media would portray Asians as being proficient in martial arts.[4] Ethnic groups and ethnic martial arts would be merged into one although they might be quite distinct.

Alleged instances[edit]

Bruce Lee stated that racism was widely practiced in martial arts in Hong Kong.[5] Ron Duncan (an Afro-Panamanian), a founder of ninjitsu in America, discussed in detail the problems of racism in martial arts as he saw them.[6] Duncan explained how he believes he was denied recognition by Black Belt magazine in favor of Stephen K. Hayes (who was white). The Black Karate Federation was formed by Steve Sanders and others seeking to have equal treatment of black fighters in karate tournaments.[7] This included allegations of biased officiating in martial arts tournaments.[8]

Current times[edit]

Fighters such as Maurice Smith and Kevin Randleman were amongst the first black champions in MMA, but neither have received the media attention that fighters of other races have.[9] Joe Rogan of the UFC, has suggested that Jon Jones, a UFC light heavyweight champion, isn't as popular as he could be due in large part to racism.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilson, Clint C.; Gutiérrez, Félix; Chao, Lena M. (2003). "Chapter 4. Stereotypes Extend into Television and the Video Age". Racism, Sexism, and the Media: The Rise of Class Communication in Multicultural America (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7619-2516-3. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  2. ^ "The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - The 50 Most Racist TV Shows of All Time". Complex.com. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  3. ^ Puga, Romina (7 August 2014). "The black Power Ranger explains why their colors were coincidental, not racist". Splinter News. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  4. ^ Kowner, Rotem; Demel, Walter, eds. (2012). Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions. Brill's Series on Modern East Asia in a Global Historical Perspective. Brill. p. 253. ISBN 978-90-04-23741-4. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  5. ^ Wong, Ted (2009). Bruce Lee Martial Arts Training Revealed. Retrieved 2015-05-03.[dead link]
  6. ^ Illmatical, Clarke (6 February 2012). "Professor Ronald Duncan discusses racism in martial arts and Black men in martial arts". Sportintense.com. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  7. ^ Vandehey, Tim (April 1989). "The Black Karate Federation". Black Belt. Vol. 27 no. 4. p. 31. ISSN 0277-3066.
  8. ^ Green, Thomas A.; Svinth, Joseph R. (2010). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. ABC-CLIO. p. 627. ISBN 978-1-59884-243-2. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  9. ^ Rios, Tomas (13 February 2010). "Mixed martial arts has its own race issues to address". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  10. ^ Martin, David St. (9 September 2014). "Morning Report: Joe Rogan attributes Jon Jones' lack of popularity to racism, believes Jones would be embraced if he were white". Mmmfighting.com. Retrieved 2015-03-14.