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If you're black (or any other visible minority for that matter) how has hockey.....

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07-14-2012, 05:24 PM
  #1
beenhereandthere
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If you're black (or any other visible minority for that matter) how has hockey.....

Treated you?
I love this game to almost death and I'm black/puerto rican. While overall, my experiences have been more positive than negative, well I've gone through quite a bit of subtle crap (like other guys of equal talent being invited to join teams, who are white, while I wasn't invited) and, even though it's been few and far between, blatant racial crap.
I live in the States. Seemingly, Canadian Blacks, who play, probably aren't as shut out or given the silent treatment, like American Blacks are, who play. American Blacks seem to get the "what are you doing playing", crap, from both races.
Just like anything else in society, though, the younger generation, those under 30, aren't as race conscious (witness Obama's election), like those my age bracket, 40 and up. I'm old enough to remember, when,, in the NHL, all you had was either McKegney, Neufeld and Fuhr and that was basically it, where today, you have enough in the show where you could have an all black (or minority) team.
I've been playing for about 30 years, so while I'm not the among the fastest or more dominant players, I've been playing long enough where most people, would consider me at least a slightly above average player, at the rec level.
I prefer NOT, to hear from those who aren't minority and don't really have minority/black friends, that want to lecture me and say, "there is no racism in hockey, it's all about you", when, you, unless you know someone who's non white well, have 0 idea what you're talking about. Even if you know someone who is, you still don't know everything a black player may go through, or feel.
While I think hockey, is far from Klan land, it seems to me white basketball players, have it easier than black hockey players do. Agree?
Mods, I know how these "race" threads can get, but at least give it a chance to see if people can talk like adults.

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07-14-2012, 06:01 PM
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Schenn
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A few years ago one of the teams in my midget league got in trouble for saying racial slurs on ice to a kid on another team. The kid was a dirty ***** but obviously didn't deserve that kind of hate.

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07-14-2012, 06:06 PM
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noobman
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Indian guy here... I've had to deal with the odd racial comment as a teenager and once played in a men's league where a team was giving it to all the minorities all night, but beyond a few unpleasant altercations in the past it hasn't been all that bad.

Racism isn't exactly specific to hockey, but it tends to foster itself in the game for one reason or another, be it from the abundance of players from small-town Canada (where racism seems more prevalent than a place like Toronto where I live) or the idea that it's still a game for wealthy people given the cost to play... it exists, and I think you're just being naive if you believe otherwise. There are people out there who will use it as a way to discriminate against you, be it out of fear, jealousy, envy, etc. The colour of your skin is a very easy target.

I've never played very competitive hockey, so I haven't had to deal with things like player selection and the like.

All in all hockey has treated me very well. Being a first-generation Canadian it's something I had to find and develop a passion for myself. I started skating late and playing hockey even later so it was always an uphill battle in terms of skill and ability for me, but I compensated with hard work and a commitment to learning plays and strategies while working on vision, and really started to find my groove around age 20. I loved to play the game and I'm working my butt off to get healthy so I can finally play again.


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07-14-2012, 06:11 PM
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IHaveNoCreativity
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I've had black/brown players on my team, they never had any problems, the worst I ever heard was a player call my teammate a ****ing Jew.

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07-14-2012, 06:14 PM
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AIREAYE
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I think I've been lucky, never had anything directed at me, not that I remember at least.

The Greater Toronto Area and places like Ottawa, Montreal or Vancouver are better for multicultural players I believe (haven't played in any of those places save for the GTA) but with more visible minorities in those places, people are obviously more tolerant.

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07-14-2012, 06:39 PM
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AZcoyotes
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I play high school hockey. High school kids are the biggest dicks on earth. We have one kid on our team who is black, openly gay, and Jewish, but I havn't heard anyone say anything negative to him about it on our team, or other teams.

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07-14-2012, 06:41 PM
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Trevor3
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While I'm white, the majority of the guys I grew up playing with were native. The native population in Newfoundland is limited to a few specific areas, so when we travelled around the island we would sometimes have a fair bit of stuff directed at our team. I've even been hit with them and I'm white as they get (Irish surname, blonde hair and blue eyes).

I only remember us getting warned for one slur, one guy on our team apparently called a kid from Port-aux-Basques a mexican. I can't fathom how he came up with Mexico during a hockey game.

The black population is pretty slim out here, I don't remember ever playing against a black player. Definitely could have, but can't recall it.

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07-14-2012, 06:52 PM
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Trevor3
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Actually, this brings me to an interesting point on the topic. When I was in my first year of university we all had to do English 1000 as a core requirement. Our professor was from New Jersey, anyway, he assigned a story for us read and then discuss in the next class. The story was about a black man, I can't remember the plot or anything but I remember the discussion pretty clearly. He had us go through and try to pick out everything that was racist/politically incorrect (as it turns out, the story was written specifically for this exercise by the school's english department). Anyway, the word "negro" was used several times in the story, but in a class of 35 not a single person added it to the list. It wasn't until the end that the prof pointed this, and several other phrases/words out that we missed.

What came out of the discussion was that when you come from a place that has very little diversity you aren't as sensitive to racism except for the obvious. When you never have to deal with minorities you don't pick up or get exposed to potentially racist or predjudiced situations, the problem is that you're more likely to find yourself offending someone inadvertantly and not realizing what you did.

Just to give an example of the lack of diversity, my hometown has a population of 6,580 - 80 of which are visible minorities, 10 of which are black, now that suprises me because I've only ever seen 2 black guys in this town. Newfoundland as a whole, has 900 blacks out of a population of just a shade over 500,000. In high school, my entire graduating class was white. That doesn't mean I'm racist or predjudiced (because I'm really not) or that most of the people are (because as far as I can tell, they're not either), but the lack of experience with people of different backgrounds does sort of breed ignorance. I really had no idea that "negro" was an incorrect term (we all picked up on the other N word), I just thought it went out of style with the 70s. And I can almost guarantee that if someone of a different background came here for a week, they would at some point be offended by someone that was 100% well meaning and had no idea they offended someone.

And there are probably people like that everywhere, but I can say without doubt that probably 90% of the people here are in that boat. And don't get me wrong, there are some complete ***** here, there, and everywhere and there is no excuse for racism, but a person from a place that is less diverse can be less in tune with racial/cultural sensitivities.

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07-14-2012, 06:56 PM
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AIREAYE
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It's ironic; minorities are visible, yet racism and bigotry are often not.

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07-14-2012, 07:22 PM
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GrafSk8r12
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I'm South Korean and live in the Midwest, and I never really experienced any problems until I started playing travel hockey in middle school. It carried over into JV/Varsity for high school, but didn't happen as frequently then. Being one of the more skilled players comes with a target on the back to begin with, but being a minority only makes it bigger. During college hockey, I don't recall any racist remarks.

I actually had a couple beer league players make comments towards me this past winter session, and once again about a month ago. The first was from a grad student who said, "I'm surprised you can even see," and the second was from a kid who just graduated high school who told me multiple times, "Go back to Asia!" It's a shame that such behavior still exists, and I think the biggest shock came not from the actual comments, but from the fact that I hadn't heard anything like that in years.

Hearing those things used to upset me greatly, but now I just laugh at them and ask, "You really think I haven't heard that one before?" It also makes me play even harder, which is always a good thing. The high school kid wouldn't even shake my hand after the game, and what's even worse is that he played with a black kid all the way through high school who would hear that kind of garbage all the time.

The best part, aside from beating those two beer league teams, was that teammates of the guys who made the comments came up to me after the game and apologized for them because they didn't want one person to make their whole team look bad. While racist comments are unfortunate, I can look at them as kind of a complement. If I wasn't producing points or making smart hockey plays, they wouldn't waste their time saying things to try and throw me off my game.

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07-14-2012, 08:04 PM
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Backlund
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As a Black Canadian I get the occasional "you should be playing basketball/football" comment but other than that there really is nothing.

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07-14-2012, 09:49 PM
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Axman
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I'm a white guy but have a teammate who is black and a good friend. I'm not trying to sound like a tough guy but if I was on the ice and I heard someone talk racist smack to him, I'd definitely go enforcer on them.

Never had a problem with our league but I heard a story about a Korean coach who works with the little guys at our rink who had something said to him in a handshake line by a little player on the other team. He went nuts and demanded an apology from the kid and coach which never came.

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07-14-2012, 09:54 PM
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Magnifique
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I actually have a pretty funny story about a racist comment made towards me. I'm Puerto Rican and Spaniard. Bascially, I look Euro, but I'm not. Most people don't realise I'm hispanic until I tell them, and they never really cared.

I played hockey from the age of 9 to 19 here in Arizona. I played with Jews, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. The Jew got the most trash (verbal) thrown at him by far! Second would be the less talented players, and third was the dorky guys (of all colors).

I played at a high level; AA, AAA, and Jr hockey. And at low levels (highschool here is a joke and house leagues). The only racist comment that was ever directed at me in a derogatory way was when I played up an age group for an A team at a tournament. The funny part is that it was a mexican with the little stache and all that said it to me. His exact words were: "Go back to your own country."

To this day I have no idea what he meant. I wasn't upset, I was honestly extremely confused. It makes me chuckle just thinking about it. Outside of that one time, I've never felt like people were being racist towards me. Certainly no one said anything racist towards me.

When I was 16 I went to tryouts for a Jr team and didn't make it. I was focused about what I did wrong. My father on the other had felt it was because of the color of his skin -- he is quite a bit darker than me. This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard him say, and I will never forget it. I felt it was such a copout -- an excuse for MY failure. I told him that he was full of **** and to get off his soapbox.

A year later that same Jr. coach walked up to my dad and asked him if he would push me to tryout again. The same coach my dad felt was shunning me because of his dark skin. Sometimes people look for things that aren't always there. Obviously if someone says something racist right to your face there is no speculating. But when it comes to being chosen for a team, or not being on a certain line, it's likely that race is the least of the reasons, if it is a reason at all.

Kind of off-topic. But I played a few tournaments in Canada, and I have to say that the people in TO were by far the nicest we met. Gave us free freaken syrup in Maple Leaf shaped glass jars for free because we were there for hockey. Loved it!

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Old
07-14-2012, 09:59 PM
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smitty10
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I'm white and I play on a hockey team called 'Brown Guys' and it's almost exclusively Asian and Indian. None of them have really had problems except a couple young guys on other teams.

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07-14-2012, 10:02 PM
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Not really sure. The only black guy in our league is on our team and nobody would ever make a racist comment to him. Super nice guy, but the absolute last guy in the league you would ever want to tangle with and everyone knows it.

That said, I find that, as with any sport, there's a small percentage of really low class guys on the ice on any given night and when the tempers flare, I could easily see racial comments coming out. I do think if it was heard by refs or even other players, it would get stopped immediately. At least out here nobody would put up with it.

Lotta Asians out here and a few Indians, and I've never heard a racial comment directed at any of them.

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07-14-2012, 10:04 PM
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Wilch
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It doesn't happen as much in Vancouver. Racism isn't tolerated here and you're in for a river of **** if any racial slurs or generally unacceptable comments slip out of your mouth.

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07-14-2012, 11:07 PM
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Danglous
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stickmata View Post
Not really sure. The only black guy in our league is on our team and nobody would ever make a racist comment to him. Super nice guy, but the absolute last guy in the league you would ever want to tangle with and everyone knows it.

That said, I find that, as with any sport, there's a small percentage of really low class guys on the ice on any given night and when the tempers flare, I could easily see racial comments coming out. I do think if it was heard by refs or even other players, it would get stopped immediately. At least out here nobody would put up with it.

Lotta Asians out here and a few Indians, and I've never heard a racial comment directed at any of them.
I know that guy! At least, there is one in my league. Hes an older black guy, nicest dude ever, but hes jack diesel.

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07-14-2012, 11:58 PM
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beenhereandthere
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Originally Posted by Backlund View Post
As a Black Canadian I get the occasional "you should be playing basketball/football" comment but other than that there really is nothing.
People still say this? ****sakes.
I heard in the old days, like the 70's and 80's, players used to think that "no big deal to say racial slurs, just trying to get one off his game". Some even apologized after the game, thinking, "it's just gamesmanship". Thankfully, they're dying out.


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Old
07-15-2012, 12:01 AM
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beenhereandthere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilch View Post
It doesn't happen as much in Vancouver. Racism isn't tolerated here and you're in for a river of **** if any racial slurs or generally unacceptable comments slip out of your mouth.
When I was there, a few people called me "P.K", but it was meant in a positive way.
I however, had a few people, that would just go cuckoo when I did something that may have been wrong (a few times) to them, but yet, a white guy did the same thing and they didn't go cuckoo, again, subtle racism, perhaps?

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07-15-2012, 02:44 PM
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Hank4Hart
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chinese canadian... i always get picked last

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07-15-2012, 03:29 PM
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I've never seen any problems around here, the only altercations come from someone taking it too personally or being obnoxiously sensitive, many people that violently take offense are the ones that will start a fight about something else anyway. There's a line ofcourse, but mostly is just playful banter. The term "racist" gets overused so much and labeled for harmless reasons. Guys need to treat the little prods like any other trash talk and skate on. Besides, around here, white people are the minority.

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07-15-2012, 03:36 PM
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the
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I never really got picked for being Indian, it was mostly rec level and high school hockey. I was always one of the top player on the ice/street so maybe that's why, if I sucked maybe it could have been another story but I never had that type of situation happen to me.

Playing in Montreal also helped a lot, the situation could have been different if I played somewhere else.

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07-15-2012, 03:40 PM
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I'm Filipino...so kinda Asian. I play on a team where half the guys are Chinese. We play with a lot of under 30 guys and we're in LA so racism and conservatism rarely apply out here. We get the usual, you guys should be the yellow team jokes but other than it's pretty mellow. We're all judged on how we play.

It's funny you post this now, cause after playing hockey for 2 years my minority status only came into question last week. The guy was a jerk on the ice, so I'm not surprised he said it but when I took off my goalie mask he was shocked that I wasn't white and called me a "Black Asian". That had to be one of the most ignorant comments I've ever heard in my life.

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07-15-2012, 03:53 PM
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Propane Nightmares
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In my time of reffing and playing, the only thing anywhere near racism I've heard personally is the typical very unoriginal xenophobic sheep comments directed towards players from Welsh teams by English players. I have also received numerous complaints from female team managers about sexual comments directed towards a female player playing for a boys team but I have never actually heard anything myself.

I did hear about one kid getting caught for racism and he got the book thrown at him, a 2 year ban or something like that. It is taken very seriously over here, just look at all the fuss over the John Terry incident.

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07-15-2012, 04:46 PM
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Primrose Everdeen
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I'm a quarter Asian (Chinese) but it's not really noticeable since I play goalie. Even when I skate out I haven't been the target of any comments. Worst comment I've heard on the ice is some idiot saying to a Mexican guy, "Why don't you come back to my place and clip my palm trees for me?"

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