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This whole Subban-Richards affair raised a lot of discussion in the media about hockey and the culture of hockey acceptance of things outside of the norm. Lol, in typical Canadian fashion, that's how the discussions were framed, since (white) Canadians are not secure enough or comfortable talking about race, even though race is an under-current of the issue. Not saying that Richards is racist, because I don't know that, but as a Black Canadian myself, the whole discussion raised a lot of questions for me about discrimination in hockey.

 

I never played organized hockey (I don't count the 2,3 games I played in high school back in the mid-1990's), so I don't know. All I know is that when I was growing up I was really into hockey and people would tell me "you shouldn't play hockey", "why are you playing hockey", etc...and that was from my black relatives/family. I've never had a white person tell me those things, but remember that this is Canada, so they may be shy to tell you what they really think. What I do know is that most hockey players who speak a certain way similar to Kirk Muller or Jerome Iginla, get labeled as "good guys" by their teammates, coaches, GM's and media types. I put Iginla's name in there because some of these "good guys" have been black. But is there discrimination in hockey? Yes.

 

I think discrimination does exist in hockey, but I wouldn't go as far as to go "Al Sharpton" or "Jesse Jackson" on their ass, because I don't think it's that widespread. I believe it exist, but at what level, I can't say. I view racism, discrimination and prejudices, like the clouds in the sky:

Some days there's more clouds than others.

Some places there's more clouds than others.

But even on a bright day, with a clear blue sky,

If you look close enough at the horizon, you'll see clouds.

 

If you think about it, that's true both in reality and in metaphor. Especially here in Canada where (white) Canadians feel uncomfortable openly discussing issues dealing about race. At least in America, even with the KKK, the Republicans of today and the Democrats of yesterday and other forms of historic institutional racism, (white) Americans can still have intelligent discussions on racial issues on CNN or in other political and/or public forums without fear of being labeled a racist. In Canada, people, especially white Canadians, feel strange talking about that. They "don't want to go there." Are they afraid of speaking their mind? At least in the US you know where people stand. If they don't like you, you'll know. But here in Canada, people are so secretive about their racism that I just keep to my cloud analogy. I'm assuming that analogy is true for hockey as well.

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Racism is practically eliminated when people are allowed to mix socially. As a child, I grew up in an environment where i was surrounded by blacks, asians, latinos, arabs, etc. It was totally normal for us. Ethnicity just doesn't matter much.

 

People that grow up in environments where the social fabric is very homogeneous tend to experience racism. If you're a white guy and you've only seen whites for 20 years of your life, you might be a little weirded by your first black person. Or vice versa!

 

Naturally there are far more factors to consider.. how you were raised.. what you were taught.. your own personality.. but social mixing definitely plays a big part in it.

 

Yet another argument in favor of social urban mixing resulting from mixed-use, mixed-income smart growth development.

 

Gated homogeneous communities like Disney's "Celebration" in Florida are a bad, nasty thing ;)

Edited by Cataclaw
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Strictly speaking, the downtown area is "open" to tourists, sure, but the housing developments are more secluded. Beyond the physical restriction, it's more about the homogeneous lifestyle Celebration tries to promote: rich, white, married, etc. Municipal bylaws eliminate all freedom, you can't change a single brick in the appearance of your home. Background checks ensure that applicants meet "standards"... you get the idea. Celebration is not, nor has it ever been, a socially balanced community.

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