College Students Found to Have Unconscious Racial Bias Toward Black Athletes

A study led by Patrick Ferrucci, an assistant professor in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado, suggests that unconscious racial bias, propagated in part by sports media, still influences how the public views the quarterback position in the game of football.

Dr. Ferrucci stated that “we are all aware of the stereotypes that are out there in the discourse — it’s almost unavoidable. We were looking to see if people actually apply them, and the answer is yes.”

The researchers asked a group of college students to rate photographs and descriptions of Black and White professional quarterbacks relating to physical strength, natural ability, leadership, and intelligence. While both Black and White participants in the study tended to follow the racial stereotypes that Black athletes are stronger and have more natural ability and White athletes were better leaders and more intelligent, the researchers found that the implicit racial bias was even stronger among Black test subjects than was the case for Whites who participated in the study.

“If we’re still stereotyping this way in sports, then it’s probable that we’re stereotyping in real life, too, and that could have far more negative consequences,” Dr. Ferrucci said.

The study, “The Spiral of Stereotyping: Social Identity Theory and NFL Quarterbacks,” was published in the Howard Journal of Communications. It may be accessed here.


Related Articles


  1. If this was taken from a small sample consisting of college students, with implicit racial bias strongly coming from black students, then there maybe a high probability that blacks in general hold racial bias in a host of other stereotypes against their own. Thus, upholding white supremacist domination.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs