Sunday Star Times columnist Richard Boock wrote a column a while back focussing on racism in sport, in which he suggested we have a bit of a problem in Aotearoa with racial stereotyping of rugby players.
You know, brown boys and girls are fast, naturally talented but a bit thick.
More recently, Dunedin was blasted for the slogan “It’s all white here” being used to greet the West Indies men’s cricket team. As the West Indies Players Association put it:
This slogan which, in our view, may be reasonably perceived to be loaded with racial innuendoes has quite naturally raised eyebrows in many places, including New Zealand itself.
It comes at a time when the spectre of racial intolerance is insidiously and, at times, openly appearing in major sporting events.
Odd, though, that the slogan was used at all. It doesn’t take a genius to make the race connection – though Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin took exception to the slogan being “branded” racist.
Another spectre of sporting racism we see here is idea that Black and Polynesian players are more “physical” than white players – think the Jamaican netball team, for example – really we mean rough, thuggish, violent.
Just one player has their racial background mentioned in the DomPo story yesterday about the Sevens:
Fijian born Tomasi Cama was the worst culprit, sent off for punching on day one, then sinbinned for the same offence in the final.
His lack of discipline apparently cost New Zealand the final.
Lucky we know he’s Fijian born then. It’s obviously critical.