Kk, so I was listening to the Jeff Blair show (via podcast, I'm not around a radio during those hours usually) which, for the uninitiated (or the un-Torontoed) which is the new mid morning show on the FAN590 (Toronto all sports station) hosted by Jeff Blair (aka Hawkman) who has in the past been the fill-in host for Primetime Sports while Batman McCown is away in his Bobcave. Since it started, I haven't rly enjoyed the show at all, and in general I find Blair kind of grating... but! That's why he's Hawkman!
And ignoring his politics, he's also Hawkman cuz despite his gruff exterior, he's a super awesome hero! :D
And today, he rly rly impressed me :] To the point I'm blogging publicly about it!
Like, I've always knew he was one of the more understanding of the regular guests on the FAN in terms of anti-oppression stuff, and even if he often makes annoying sexist jokes about women, when the chips are down, he showed me a lot by being one of the few male voices of reason in the Ines Sainz issue a while back (Doug Arrow Smith being the other one, imagine, Green Arrow and Hawkman both being awesome on the same side! xD) and he is rly good about anti-racism stuff, and he tends to moderate and educate the Dark Bobcat about that... BUT
today was rly awesome :)
He was interviewing the author of a book alleging discrimination of French Canadians in the National Hockey League.. and honestly, I had never thought of it, so my first thought was "um really?" cuz I had always paid more attn to the negative attitudes in the NHL against native Canadians, black players, and Europeans... I knew that French Canadians were the brunt of a lot of Don Cherry's wrath as well, but... I just immediately thought of the French Canadian stars: Vincent Lacavalier, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Maurice Richard, etc etc...
but then I was also open to the idea that I was thinking of it in the same way a lot of ppl think that there's no racism or sexism or other -isms in any industry in our society cuz they can always point to one or two famous ppl.. cuz the old, traditional prejudice is about orchestrated and collaborative conscious efforts to keep members of various groups from success... but that isn't how it works now... but what it is is that while the exceptional talents can't be ignored, if we're just comparing supposed B+ or C class talent, well why not take the white guy?
And that's the point... that the author showed research that less French Canadians were taken in the draft, are in the big picture paid less, have shorter careers, etc... and yeah there are the exceptional talents nobody in their right mind would ignore, but in general, and this is true of Europe and the US college system as well apparently (which doesn't surprise me), teams don't send their scout unless there are exceptional talents to look at. Otherwise it's good ol white anglo Canadian boys.
And Blair was NOT dismissive of this at all. He said that if groups say there is discrimination we should at least listen, give them a chance, and not just dismiss it out of hand, and that he doesn't think ppl throw something like discrimination around frivolously.. And WOW, srsly a white guy with a radio show platform actually SAYS THIS!? Not that "those minority groups, y'know how they are, they cry discrimination AT THE DROP OF A HAT!" or "HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE ANYBODY OF RACISM DO YOU KNOW HOW HORRIBLE THAT IS!?"
instead he understands how horrible and important discrimination is :)
and then he spoke about institutional discrimination and institutional racism... and.. omfg he SAID THE WORD. INSTITUTIONAL. I've never heard a radio host actually be willing to say stuff like this, and not just cater to the easy narrative "those whiny special interest groups! Dontchaknow discrimination died in the 80s!?"
And he related something former Expos manager, Felipe Alou told him once, and I've heard him say this before, but I still rly like it, which is that we'll know when discrimination in baseball of Latino and African American managers has rly ended when they can be just as recyclable as white managers. When you can fail at managing, be fired, and get another job, and get fired again, and etc... like it's easy to point to the rly successful black manager and say "see see, racism is dead, he got a job!" but that's not where it's at...
like the old saw of "so you think we should pick a PoC over a better qualified white candidate!?" thing.. but it's never that... cuz the complaint is that when all candidates are about on the same level, the good ol boy white guys keep getting picked... i guess it must be lucky to be genetically the better qualified candidate >_>
Neways, so then he took calls and I CRINGED.. but the calls were pretty good :) And the ones that weren't, Jeff seemed able to turn around... he actually managed to explain to somebody what institutional racism is (he explained it as if you have 25 white guys in charge, they'll prolly hire another guy like them, and it's not cuz there's some rule saying they can't hire PoCs.. it's not overt conscious)... and maybe unfortunately, white guys are more likely to listen to a white guy with a platform like Jeff, explaining to them what so many of us have been trying to explain online and etc... but... I'm still happy :)
And impressed! It's rare on talk radio to hear stuff like this and not just non anti-immigrant anti-PoC etc attitudes but somebody saying words like "institutional racism" and "people of colour" and stuff :)
So YAY HAWKMAN!!!!!!!!!! :D
So yeah... just wanted to give super duper props and mysterious e-hugs to our winged masked columnist :D
Now I just wish they would stop having Blair just take on angry hockey fans or the usual "omfg I hate the Leafs" talk, and have him do more interviews of this nature on sensitive but IMPORTANT subjects in sports like this :)
SO YAY :)
Go Blair Go! :D