Friday, April 27, 2012

Blacks on Ice

I really could care less about hockey but I do care about racism and sadly this doesn't surprise me at all.

From the WaPo...
When Joel Ward scored the overtime winner for the Capitals to end the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins’ season, a wave of racist tweets surfaced (warning: it's very vile stuff). They ranged from casually offensive to viciously hateful. None were shocking. But they illustrated the latent sentiment that exists in many pockets of the fan base that hockey is a sport to be played and enjoyed by whites.

Being a black hockey fan can be a singular experience. You can feel the racial divide at games. So when Ward lit the lamp last night, yes, personally, it felt good to see a black man score such an important goal for the franchise.

It's about time that the NHL tackled its race issues head-on. If the league wants to move forward as a brand, they need to recognize that they can do something about racism.
Coincidentally, I also heard this story on NPR yesterday.  The two kind of go hand-in-hand.

From NPR...
Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs. 
"Teams that wore black jerseys were penalized more, significantly more, than teams wearing other colored jerseys," said researcher Gregory Webster of the University of Florida, Gainesville...

...A third possibility, Webster said, is that players were not doing anything different, but that the referees had unconscious biases against black and other dark colors. 
"There is this very strong cultural association that comes through in how we think about colors in terms of white being associated with good and black with bad," Webster said. "Many of us are raised from childhood with some of these associations. And over time, we develop a kind of cognitive bias. That's been shown time and time again in social psychology."

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