Racial Taunts or Just Trash Talking? South Asian Hockey Players and the Reluctance to Name Racism

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Courtney SZTO, Simon Fraser University, Canada
In Canada, we tend to “Canadiansplain” racist incidents away. To “Canadiansplain” involves a concession that racism exists in Canada but never to the extent that it does in the United States. These dismissals of racism imply that our multicultural policies will ultimately prevail; therefore, any concerns about racism are deemed frivolous, unfounded, and/or unpatriotic. Unfortunately, our collective reluctance to acknowledge the extent of racism in Canada seems to have left racialized hockey players confused about what does and does not count as racism. Through semi-structured interviews conducted with South Asian hockey players, parents, and coaches in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, a disturbing pattern emerged whereby hockey players referred to on-ice racial slurs as regular hockey “chirping” or trash talking. Racism, to these participants, was reserved for those in their inner circles who treated them differently, but racial taunting from opponents was considered fair play in the name of competition. Crucially, if racism is a label only placed upon those assumed to be part of one’s in-group we must consider how this definition greatly alters the perceived “presence” of racism in hockey.