Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Time to rock the sexism and racism boat

I will admit right away that I am by no means a fashionable person.  Everyday, I sport a plaid jacket that brings to mind the outfit Kurt Cobain was probably buried in. I wear wrinkled shirts bearing the likenesses of iconic figures ranging from the Incredible Hulk to Neil Diamond. So like I said, I’m not the most fashionable guy. Still, I find it quite puzzling that in a society of trendiness and modern fashion, outdated concepts such as racism and sexism still exist at large.

Recently, I’ve stumbled upon several news headlines that have not only caught my eye but have convinced me that these detrimental and prejudicial concepts still haunt us in a day and age when social progress is supposed to be at its peak.

In late January, I glanced upon a headline in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  that read, “Whites Only Basketball League Announced.”  I thought this surely had to be a joke.  Not since the days of Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues in the 1940s has athletics been segregated by race.

Alas, it was no joke.  The All-American Basketball Alliance, which kicks off its first season in June in Augusta, Ga., states that, “only players with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.”

Not even a few days later, I happened upon a news story from the Telegraph Journal with the headline, “Attack on boyfriend included frying pan and a kitchen knife,” with the subheading reading, “Court: Rothesay woman avoids jail time and still lives with the victim.”

Once again, I hoped what I was reading was a sick joke.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t.  A woman from New Brunswick, Canada, was given a mere one year probation with no jail time for an incident where she beat her boyfriend with a frying pan and stabbed him multiple times with a kitchen knife. The article also states that, “there is evidence of drug and alcohol use that contributed to the violence.”  When asked about the case afterwards, the judge admitted that he is “doubtful” the sentence would be viewed  lightly if the gender roles were reversed in the incident.  But the judge left the situation alone, as he “didn’t want to rock the boat.”

Am I the only one that finds it ironic that, in a society so advanced, examples of socially senile tendencies such as racism and sexism take place right in front of our eyes? Whenever I go out wearing a plaid jacket, there’s always countless people who see it and say, “Wow, plaid? That’s so 90s.” It doesn’t really bother me at all, but what does bother me is no one questions blatant cases of sexism and racism this way. When one sees that an all-white basketball league is being started, does no one stop and say, “Segregation in sports? That’s so 1940s.” And when one sees that a male and female are being treated markedly different simply based on their gender in a court of law, does no one stop and say, “Legal gender inequality? That’s so turn of the 20th century.”

These are the sorts of things that landmark social figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Susan B. Anthony saw decades ago as outdated social policies.  When you don’t let people into your basketball league based solely on race, that’s called racism, even though the league’s commissioner Don Lewis claims that “there’s nothing hatred (sic) about what we’re doing.”

When you treat a woman in court differently than you would treat a man simply because she’s a woman, that’s called gender inequality and sexism.  When someone beats and stabs someone in an alcohol-fueled rage, we lock that person up because they’ve proved beyond a reasonable doubt that for the time being, they are a dangerous person, regardless of which sexual organs they happen to possess.  While this particular case obviously favors a female, it only serves to cater to the attitudes and environments that objectify women on a completely separate social plane than men.  When society gives the nod to unequal treatment based on gender or race in the legal world and in the recreational world, it only makes it that much easier to allow gender and racial inequality in the professional, political and social spheres as well.

As the judge inadvertently points out in his hindsight referral to the New Brunswick case, the main reason these sorts of socially archaic policies still thrive is because no one is willing to “rock the boat.”  When it comes to questions of plaid jackets and shaggy unkempt jeans, people are quick to question the fashion sensibility of the wearer, yet where is the questioning of the racism and the sexism that still plagues our supposedly advanced and progressive society?

It’s time to rock the boat. Let’s make negative social prejudices unfashionable once and for all.

Dave Coffey is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at dscoffey@student.umass.edu.

Comments
3 Responses to “Time to rock the sexism and racism boat”
  1. ed says:

    Let’s start right here at UMass with Lisa Kidwell and her illegal women-only self defense training program.

    What part of Title IX does Lisa Kidwell not understand?

  2. Faye says:

    Great job Dave C. There is plenty of blatant racism and sexism. I, too, rock the boat and it seems to be ignored. Hopefully people begin to understand its not acceptable. I’ll read your column again!

  3. Dan says:

    REAL MEN stand up for equality. Right?

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