I am not of an ethnic minority, my ancestry is predominantly French and German. As a result of being of European decent, I have an interest in Post-colonialism. Indigenous and Colonial topics are at
best a difficult undertaking to discuss from a balanced perspective. As a sociologist, I find it interesting to study the “whitestream” otherwise known as mainstream sport system in Canada. I specifically find the Olympic sport of Canoe fascinating where you have a “Double Helix” sport system broken into two streams based on “race”; a) mainstream/whitestream and b) Indigenous stream. I feel - through the lens of sport, it allows for a palatable narrative that can be accurately told from my sociological imagination.
Have you ever come across racialized discourse or the hierarchical sorting of race?
Have you seen others engage in prejudice or discrimination based on, for example, skin colour or ethnic background?
When I was a canoe coach, I experienced prejudice from local retail stores such as the local Outdoor paddle store. As a white person, in my experience of mainstream sport, raising donations and discounts for youth sport in my community was a viable option. For example, the local bicycle store giving the local bicycle youth club a 10% discount on parts and accessories. Yet, when I attempted to obtain the same privileges from the mainstream stores for the Indigenous stream of canoe, it was much different.
In this particular case, I had $1000.00 to purchase paddles for the launch of the local indigenous canoe club. I was speaking with the store manager, a white person in decent about purchasing 60 paddles and asked if he would provide a discount for this Indigenous initiative. He simply said no, He said “Don’t the Indians get enough already?” to which I replied, how so? He would go on to talk about the fact that the store was on the Cowichan First Nation Band land and that they were not subject to paying taxes as a result. Equating the federal agreement between First Nation communities and the government was enough of a discount.
Another example happened when I was trying to purchase 60 jackets with the paddle club name on it. Approaching one supplier, from whom I had already purchased $5,000.00 worth of paddle club clothing, I asked for a discount on the jackets. I was told, Why would I give “them” a discount?.
It appeared to me, based on these two experiences, that the Indigenous youth could not even get a break at the grassroots level. Such practices many mainstream sports take for granted.