Souled Out? How Blacks Are Winning and Losing In Sports by Shaun Powell is a meditation that first asks, then answers, many issues concerning the intersection of race, sports, and society. Unlike some of the previous books I read surrounding this topic, this did not really give much historical background on the subject; rather, it was mainly concerned with present-day issues, although Powell does provide some historical references to offer perspective on the subject.
Some of these dilemmas include: the lack of purpose many black athletes and coaches today show in following the lead of such pioneers as Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson; the misuse of Muhammad Ali’s outspoken and fearless legacy; the me-first mindset of many African American professional athletes; the metaphorical glass ceiling confronted by many blacks in coaching and front office positions.
This book also examines the destructive nature that can often underlie sports, and in discussing how blacks are “losing” in sports, Powell reflects upon the extravagant lifestyles many professional African American athletes aspire to, and ultimately attain. Additionally, he covers a topic I have seen represented in many of my readings- the lack of true diversity in management positions. While he discusses the negative effects sports have had, he also wrote about the positives as well, a nice change from the often critical assessments I had read in previous works. Overall, this book proved an excellent addition to my research that reinforced many of the topics and arguments I had investigated in my other books and articles.