Commentary: Improving Diversity In Racing Requires A Change In Perception

Columnist Lee Mottershead had recently addressed his views on diversity in the racing industry at, as a reaction to the British Horseracing Authority’s Diversity in Racing group’s initial meeting. When James Underwood penned a response to that story in his European Racing & Digest, Mottershead returned with another column to express his sentiment that Underwood’s perception was “blatantly wrong, condescending, dismissive and offensive.”

The following is a brief excerpt of Underwood’s piece:

One doesn’t imagine that black people or other ethnic minorities are interested in going racing. They prefer football, like most people here who spend slabs of time watching it and other ball games in a life that can be written off as balls… As for the gays they would soon find that the racing crowd isn’t very sympathetic to their way of life and if they couldn’t get into the stables to meet the lads there they’d soon be bored.

Mottershead himself is an openly gay racing journalist, and wrote that none of his industry connections ever seemed to be “remotely concerned” about his way of life.

While he acknowledging that changes must be made within the sport itself in order to improve diversity, whether it be increasing the presence of women or tearing down the sense of “elitism” that often plagues the racing industry, Mottershead goes on to suggest that a change in perception is just as important.

“Perception is the same thing as reality until that perception is smashed,” he wrote.


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