Short-ish post about this. Jess Allen, a host of the CTV program The Social made some truly egregious comments about Don Cherry’s fans while on-air:
“Maybe it’s because of where I grew up, and going to a couple different universities. In my mind, in my experience, who does. They all tended to be white boys, who weren’t very nice, they weren’t very thoughtful they were often bullies, their parents were able to afford to spend $5000 a year on minor hockey. You could do other things than spend time in an arena, you could go on a trip and learn about the world. See other things. The world is a big place, maybe get outside of that bubble.”
There’s a lot to unpack here, and I am not inclined to do a “deep dive” into Allen’s psyche, but the most glaring parallel between Allen’s and Cherry’s on-air rants is their attitudes toward race.
As per my previous post, I don’t think we can nail Cherry down for blatant racism. He is a patriotic Canadian and values the sacrifices made by veterans and disparages those who do not show respect, as he sees it. He is coming primarily from a place of love (of Country) and only secondly, if at all, from a position of race. Granted, Cherry’s full rant has more than a whiff of xenophobia about it. But for him, his us-and-them is Canada vs Not-Canada, not white versus “the other”.
Jess Allen’s rant cannot be parsed this way. Her words are clearly words of racism and hate. The fact that most hockey players are white should be no more troubling than the fact that most basketball players are black.
Generalizations and stereotypes are the root cause of racism, aren’t they? Why should it be acceptable to say hateful things about a group based on subjective experience? We need to grow beyond this as a society. Just because, at this moment in history, being white is concomitant with privilege, this is unlikely to be true in the decades and centuries to come. If we are to become a truly enlightened society we must embrace this truth: hate is not an option.