These Racist Tweets About Subban Prove Canada’s Not so Tolerant
There are no references to the welcome his predecessor received from viewers in the pre Internet era. But today, the level of “discomfort” hockey fans have with a hockey player’s pigmentation is quite clear. The phenomenon coined “colourism” by Alice Walker in 1982 is not a synonym of racism. Rather, colourism is defined as prejudicial or preferential treatment of people based solely on their colour. Subban is endowed with the darkest of chocolate hues. None of this should matter in a game of Olympic hockey where the only colour on our minds is gold. And Subban’s skin colour should definitely be of no consequence in a multicultural country like Canada, where systemic racial discrimination is said to be a figment of the imagination.
Decidedly, many Canadians can see race after all. or they pretend not to see race depending on the colour of Team Canada’s jersey, in a Paula Deen esque show of racial proclivity. Subban and people of colour in positions of power and influence in general? As the official Olympics’ national media sponsor focuses on everything from Russian to goulash to the Indian luger, the edifying discussions have steered clear of our own introspection. Subban is coloured by a preconception of the way black athletes usually act,
and my own, haughty, overly moralistic and fully unwelcome opinion about how they should act. Once his confidence and basic enthusiasm for the game is filtered through the lens of my unspoken, racially driven bias, it comes out looking like arrogance and selfishness to me. But rather than search myself and sort out the complicated relationship with race that’s driving this perception, I call for him to smarten up, which is silly and hypocritical. It’s my problem. I am the problem.”