I don’t usually use this account as a political platform, but I felt the need to raise awareness of the @cbc headline involving one of my followers, who was the victim of a racist incident and asked me to speak up. I won’t summarize what happened, but I’m saddened to see that the initial punishment given by Hockey PEI is far less than incidents involving other groups, and it’s the same punishment handed down to @keegmitch, who stood up for his teammate when the officials wouldn’t take action. Keegan faces further unwarranted punishment and threats of legal action.
This reminds me of an incident when I was in high school. I was lined up for a faceoff, and my opponent skated up to me and said, “Look at this n*p. Let’s get this J*p.” While the ref didn’t hear it, I reported it to him, and he immediately pulled the player aside and reprimanded him. The ref also notified the opposing coach, who to his credit, admonished his player on the bench in front of his team and apologized to me after the game. While this wasn’t the last incident I encountered involving racism on the ice, it left a long lasting impression on me, and I have always respected the ref and coach for taking the matter seriously.
To this end, I was sitting on these “Hockey Freaks” cards from the 90s to post during an appropriate time. While I know these are surely in jest, the racial stereotypes and language attributed to the Vancouver Kamikazes (ex. “almond eyes” “sushi nose,” and “nasty look”) are undoubtedly offensive and play into the propaganda of WWII and hate speech during the #StopAsianHate movement. I don’t want to castigate the creators of these cards; rather, I feel it’s better to acknowledge how far we’ve come as a society, where these once accepted depictions in a children’s card game would definitely be frowned upon today. Racism should never be tolerated, and such hateful language only divides our humanity and creates more hate. These cards remind us of a culture we don’t want to return to.
We still have a long way to go as a society, but I’m optimistic we will get there, and Hockey PEI can help us make that step with a reversal of its decisions.