Monday, May 31, 2010

Sports and Anger Disparity

This is a guest post from Emily of Inoculated City

image Inoculated City is a blog about how -isms are everywhere - even in the bay area. From questioning seemingly accepted discrimination to being a tattooed vegan, this is Berkeley, not West Bay.

This issue has been troubling me for awhile, and I think it’s about time for a realistic discussion. There is a very troubling disparity between the aggression level brought upon in many individuals by sports, versus the clear lack of aggression in the same individuals when it comes to humanitarian, moral issues. We’ve all seen this. Oftentimes, if a person’s favourite hockey team’s star player misses a shot, anger will come flowing out of their every pore. Essentially, the reaction will often depict a full-blown tantrum, similar to that of a three year old, in the body of an adult. Screaming at the TV, throwing the remote across the room, banging fists on tables. On a less physical end, this will also be displayed through angry tweets, facebook statuses, etc. cursing the very existence of the player who made the error.

Now, I am not, in this particular post, taking offense to the fact that this is someone’s reaction in and of itself. We all lose our temper over unimportant issues, and if someone feels passionately about sports, that is their right. What bothers me in this scenario is that, all too often, these same individuals won’t even exhale a sigh over blatant, in-their-face issues of people experiencing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other significant moral wrong. Not only is it troubling that anyone would be so apathetic in the face of oppression to begin with, but the fact that the same people could exert such anger, such combativeness, over a mere sports play is significantly disconcerting.

It’s almost baffling that this could be possible. When they hear about yet another trans woman of color being brutally murdered, they don’t blink an eye. Yet if their favourite football team has a bad game, it consumes their entire week. Yes, everyone is at least somewhat desensitized to the wrongs of the world when they are not in their backyard. How often do otherwise respectable Americans forget about Darfur’s existence, let alone plight? But the sickening part about this issue is that it IS happening in their own backyard. Sexism affects their female friends, their potential partners (I am of course assuming that the average person in this situation is a cisgender, heterosexual, white straight man) – it even affects their own mother. Why the silence? Why so idle? If you’re willing to waste 10 tweets in a row about a sports error, what is the opposition to using just one of those to voice concern or call attention to one of the many -isms that holds our culture back day after day?

The disparity between the anger the average sports fan feels over baseball vs. humanitarian rights is truly troubling.