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#BlackLivesMatter | Saroya Tinker

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“Growing up, I found a love for sports; in particular, the sport of hockey. Although hockey is seen as a typically White sport, I excelled from an early age and while at the arena, was never fully aware of the White space I was in each day. Sure, I thought about what it would be like to have another Black teammate but this was the least of my worries as I loved the sport so dearly. But, playing hockey most definitely came with its challenges. I have always questioned my place at the rink. Having come this far, playing hockey at the NCAA Division I level, I feel a sense of accomplishment not only through sport but within my character as well.

Now, I feel as though I can speak to how racism in sports affects those who participate and also help others grasp a better understanding as to why this needs to come to an end. Being mixed; my father Jamaican and my mother Canadian-Ukrainian. I have had my fair share of confusion at the rink having one White parent and one Black. My mother, being white, had a white parent from the opposing team ask her which one was her daughter. My mom, being so very proud of her children, proudly stated that number 71 was her daughter. The parent of the opposing team looked onto the ice, spotted me, and said “I see, cross-breads usually make good athletes.” This man seemed to think of me as some sort of animal. I am a human being and I have not been “crossbred”.

Additionally, because some of my former teammates lack the understanding of the African-American community and that of white supremacy, they often fail to recognize that the ideology underlying racist practices often include the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different due to their social behavior and their innate capacities, as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior. In this case, I am, and always will be, inferior to my White teammates.

As this is just one example of the racism I have endured over the course of my hockey career, I want to bring awareness to the hockey community as we should aim to make the arena an all inclusive and welcoming space for all.

#Blacklivesmatter”

– Saroya Tinker

WHL People
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