First Nations Youth Hockey Team/Object of Racialized Behavior

I hate bullying, because I was bullied as a kid (I’m also sure I can say I was a bully, too, on a number of occasions); I wasn’t a “street fighter” type, but was more quiet and intellectual, as well as being very afraid of pain, so I tried to avoid trouble when it rose its main.

That’s why I’m sick with anger when I hear stories like the one I read recently from Indian Country Today (Vincent Schilling, nd, First Nations Youth Hockey Team Racially Taunted at Tournament, Called Savages).

The story tells the narrative of a Canadian youth hockey that attended a tournament in Quebec City in Canada, and were called racist names & slurs by other, white hockey players.  Coach Tommy H.J. Neeposh, coach of the team that was bullied said, “The war cries (were) the worst. (They were) telling our boys that you guys don’t belong, your team sucks, Native kids can’t play hockey, they can’t skate” (p.1).

Is it just my fried brain, or is fact that so many athletes wear their sport as a uniform (a mask), but really are bullies at heart?  Coupled with the epidemic of bullying at schools, this appears to me to be exponential racism, done by those conditioned to be bottom-feeders.

Sports brings out the worst and the best in people-thankfully, this isn’t the MO for all athletes-but it’s still the playing out of that old notion ‘one rotten apple can spoil the whole bushel.’  It happens.

In this incident, one white parent yelled, “gang de sauvages” (gang of savages) at the players.  Coach Tommy Neeposh called this one of the worst, “in your face” kinds of racism he’d ever seen; additionally, the other team’s coach used these same words about the team in front of his own players.

Neeposh did a very wise thing: he took a forty-three minute video of the game, to use as evidence for a complaint he’s filing with their team’s league.

What saddens me most, is that this kind of bullying and white racism probably hits youth at a very deep, vulnerable place & times; some writers have used a term called Soul-Kill-it’s a fitting term for what it’s like to be targeted with this kind of racism.

Underlying this fact, is that it’s an abusive, oppressive and stinging micro-aggression of the juggler-cutting variety.  How will these types of incidents injure these player’s psyches? How might it make them strong? How will they feel about it?  How could it harm or help their inner beings? In whatever ways they can find, with support and help, they may try to integrate these negative experiences in healthy ways; they can see it for what it is-racist behavior.

copyright:christopherbearbeam June 7, 2018

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