An investigation into white privilege in Canadian high school sport


White coaches continue to represent the largest demographic group in youth sport coaching in Canada. Often, these coaches unintentionally marginalize and microaggress athletes through discursive practices that counter social justice efforts. To reimagine youth sport coaching through a social justice lens, further research is needed to better understand how white privilege is manifested through coaching. The purpose of the present study was to examine white privilege in Canadian high school sport by investigating white coaches' perspectives on social justice issues. High school coaches from across Canada completed an online survey. A total of 463 high school coaches (65% men) who self-identified as white were retained for the present study. The online survey consisted of subscales from existing validated scales, which explored white privilege awareness, social justice attitudes, individual anti-racism advocacy, attitudes toward the LGBTQ2S+ community, attitudes towards persons with disabilities, and attitudes towards climate change. Structural equation modelling and a moderation analysis were performed to measure how awareness of white privilege influenced coaches' attitudes toward social justice issues. Findings showed that a greater awareness of white privilege (compared to lower awareness) predicted favourable attitudes toward social justice, higher importance attributed to climate change issues, greater awareness of prejudicial attitudes against the LGBTQ2S+ community, and a higher propensity to engage in anti-racist behaviours. Additionally, for men (compared to women), awareness of white privilege was a stronger predictor of attitudes toward climate change and awareness of prejudicial attitudes against the LGBTQ2S+ community. Implications for coaching and coach education will be discussed.