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Covering A Scrum

from Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star,

Since we’re all sharing stories about racism, hockey, and the stifling whiteness of Canadian institutions, here’s mine.

In November of 2000, I was six weeks into a yearlong internship at the Star, pinch-hitting for a sick colleague on the hockey beat. So I showed up at Lakeshore Arena to report a story about the Edmonton Oilers, who were playing the Leafs the next night, and whose roster included five Black players.

Late in the media session, a scrum formed around Scarborough’s Anson Carter. I asked him about the role race played in his professional life, and he gave calm, thoughtful answers. When I asked whether people tried to portray him as something he isn’t because he was a Black athlete in a largely white sport, he responded that people tried but said, “I’m not a politician. I’m hockey player.”

The following morning, that same exchange appeared in a competing publication under the byline and logo of a white columnist also present at the Carter scrum.

continued

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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“...the stifling whiteness of Canadian institutions”

Ok, this is where I draw the line.

When people start spilling over into a reflexive, pandering
“White is bad” rhetoric.

Does anyone or would anyone, for example this writer, use language like
“the stifling blackness of Nigerian institutions” or “the stifling Asianness of Chinese institutions”?

Obviously not. Give me a break.

Canada has tried a lot (seemingly more than the US) and still has a ways to go in fully respecting and fairly treating First Nations cultures and communities.
But Canada was also settled and is populated by many many generations of people from France and Britain and throughout all of western and Eastern Europe, and yeah I guess a lot of those people happened to be white. And built a society that reflected those cultures within Canada. There has been a lot more immigration since from all around the world and now Canada is more diverse. That’s all fine.

What is this obligatorily groveling drive to demean people and cultures for happening to be in large part white or influenced by European cultures? Just as many many other parts of the world are historically comprised and influenced by other groups?
If there is any difference, it’s that Canada and those awful stifling white institutions has been vastly more open to immigration and multiculturalism than virtually any other country on the globe. Countries with much less diverse and open demographics and cultures that, somehow, are never subjected to the same sort of criticism.

Posted by lefty.30 on 12/04/19 at 08:23 PM ET

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I thought it was a pretty thoughtful article from an old guy. Old guys are usually prone to exaggeration.

Posted by pnwwing on 12/04/19 at 10:39 PM ET

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”While everyone should recognize racial comments and physical abuse as zero-tolerance offences…”

That’s from early in Elliotte Friedman latest column linked on this page.

People have got to mean this and stop using double standards
and excuses to justify racializing issues in a gratuitous and negative manner.
Period.

That’s what this columnist did. He racialzed an issue in a negative manner.
I don’t care if he’s white or black or whatever. He could have written something
about how some traditional institutions need to take more steps to be welcoming
and inclusive or to make it easier for someone who feels demeaned or excluded to
speak up and share that without taking risks to their career or well being they shouldn’t have to bear. I think we’d all agree with that.

Nope. We’ve got some panderer thinking he’s signaling his enlightenment
when what he’s doing is regressive and needlessly demeaning and divisive:
he’s labeling something a problem of whiteness itself - an immutable inherited skin color. In his case pandering, he’s impugning anyone born into that group.

That’s a bad move, full stop. No category of people based solely on how they were born deserves to have that characteristic treated as problematic.
Whatever skin color or characteristic it is.

I can hear the excuses: but but but…he’s talking about his own group; he’s talking about the (current) majority; but but power dynamics…aren’t all white people super-privileged and powerful and well off? None of that matters. Majorities change. It’s not ok to signal to others it’s ok to demean or blame a skin color for something even if you have that skin color yourself. And no not all white people are remotely privileged or powerful or well off, even in comparison to any or even every other group.

If people want to oppose singling out a race or other group for generalized criticism,
they need to be principled and consistent and actually practice what they preach.

I am so beyond tired of this trend of people posing as virtuous and enlightened anti-racists who then jump to singling out and problematizing an entire group or culture by race.

 

Posted by lefty.30 on 12/05/19 at 12:22 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Does anyone or would anyone, for example this writer, use language like
“the stifling blackness of Nigerian institutions” or “the stifling Asianness of Chinese institutions”?

Considering those are two largely homogenous countries with completely different histories, probably not. Would anyone say, “the stifling whiteness of American institutions”? Yes. I’d say any environment where we ignore or qualify other perspectives is a “stifling” one. I really don’t see the “white is bad” rhetoric you seem to be seeing.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 12/05/19 at 08:04 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

“...the stifling whiteness of Canadian institutions”

Ok, this is where I draw the line.

When people start spilling over into a reflexive, pandering
“White is bad” rhetoric.

Very well said, lefty30

Yes, changes needed and need to be made. The culture I grew up in in the 70s and 80s is disappearing quickly, and in many cases it’s a good thing, a needed thing. But words like the ones are above are simply over the line.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/05/19 at 08:18 AM ET

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When people start spilling over into a reflexive, pandering
“White is bad” rhetoric.

Stifling whiteness has absolutely nothing to do with the bull I just quoted.

And guess what? To a person of colour, OF COURSE HOCKEY IS STIFLINGLY WHITE. There are 600+ players in the league and you can probably count the number of people of colour on two hands. And when you DO talk about players of colour, every single one of them has a story of a coach or a player hurling racial slurs at them, or f*cking FANS THROWING BANANAS AT THEM.

So you can take your thin-skinned, shitty, wounded white bitchboy ego and cry to someone else about it.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 12/05/19 at 08:43 AM ET

Paul's avatar

That’s the last comment you will read from the above person.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/05/19 at 08:45 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

That’s the last comment you will read from the above person.

And there was much rejoicing! Hoping this helps reset some tone around here.

Posted by TreKronor on 12/05/19 at 08:57 AM ET

Paul's avatar

TK, I have no issue with the tone, people are entitled to their opinions.

It’s the attacking of other KK members that gets to me.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/05/19 at 08:59 AM ET

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Thank you Paul. I understand the position you’re in but at some point you have to say enough is enough.

Posted by MZ2215 on 12/05/19 at 09:00 AM ET

Paul's avatar

I look at it this way MZ…., multiple warnings and it continued, people who get banned and I am lucky, it doesn’t happen often, but everyone who has been banned did it to themselves.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/05/19 at 09:03 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

That’s the last comment you will read from the above person.

I think that’s a little harsh. Every member here has had ample opportunity to ignore CDMD. Abrasive or not, at least they drove discussion around here. This comment section too often feels like an echo chamber.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 12/05/19 at 11:20 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I think that’s a little harsh. Every member here has had ample opportunity to ignore CDMD.

I ignored him long ago but still saw his dumb, stupid, filthy, unnecessary attacks in my email inbox.  It got to the point I quit reading most of my KK’s emails because I didn’t want to see anything he may or may not have written.  Which meant I wasn’t getting updates on posts I had participating in.

One of the reasons the comment section feels like an echo chamber is some of us get tired of giving a different viewpoint that’s going to draw personal attacks from CDMD and a couple others.  It’s just plain exhausting and unnecessary.  While some can have a discussion about things they disagree with, there’s a few that just can’t do it without completely unnecessary insults and strawmen.

Posted by TreKronor on 12/05/19 at 11:28 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

That’s the last comment you will read from the above person.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area

Looks like Christmas has come early this year. Thanks, Paul. It already feels like there’s more “peace on earth and goodwill towards all” around here.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/05/19 at 11:30 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

While some can have a discussion about things they disagree with, there’s a few that just can’t do it without completely unnecessary insults and strawmen.

Posted by TreKronor on 12/05/19 at 11:28 AM ET

Amen, brother. Amen.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/05/19 at 11:34 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Opinions are welcome and actually encouraged but attacks on any KK member are not welcomed.

Multiple comments from me suggesting they stop went in one ear and out the other.

There was nothing else I could do.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/05/19 at 11:36 AM ET

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That’s the last comment you will read from the above person.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/05/19 at 08:45 AM ET

Funny part is I agreed with his point, but he had to tack that last line on there (which has pretty much been my entire experience with CDMD: I often agreed with him but he couldn’t say it without the over-the-top insults)

 

Posted by EthrDemon on 12/05/19 at 12:03 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Paul gave him numerous warnings. The fact he posted what he did this morning tells me he knew exactly what the consequence would be, but he wanted to go down as a martyr… of some kind…I guess?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/05/19 at 01:00 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Funny part is I agreed with his point, but he had to tack that last line on there (which has pretty much been my entire experience with CDMD: I often agreed with him but he couldn’t say it without the over-the-top insults)

Posted by EthrDemon on 12/05/19 at 12:03 PM E

There’s no doubt the guy had great hockey knowledge. But, as you say, ED, he couldn’t express it without feeling the need to insult someone. Life’s too short (especially at my age) to have to deal with that crap. Paul was 100% correct in what he did for all of us.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/05/19 at 03:10 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Since we’re all sharing stories about racism, hockey, and the stifling whiteness of Canadian institutions

the irony

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 12/05/19 at 03:53 PM ET

Avatar

The banning was appropriate. Paul has made it perfectly clear, multiple times, that he won’t tolerate attacks on KK members. CDMD clearly did that with the last line of his post.

Thanks Paul

Posted by evileye on 12/05/19 at 04:40 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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