Massey Dialogue on Inclusion, Race, and Power in Sport
22 September 2021, 18h30 EDT (UTC-4)
The Massey Dialogue Broadcast
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The “level playing field” has become a universal metaphor for fairness, inclusion, and meritocracy.
And historically, sport has certainly enabled racial minorities to breach the ramparts of power: Jesse Owens at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games, dismantling the fiction of racial superiority before the very eyes of the fascist leaders; Jackie Robinson striding over baseball’s colour line, at a time when racial segregation remained the law of the land in many parts of the United States; South Africa’s multiracial rugby team, helping to knit post-Apartheid society together.
But more recently, we have seen sport institutions reinforce their barricades: the NFL’s resistance to the Black Lives Matters movement; the International Olympic Committee barring anti-racism protests on the podium; the negligible presence of racialised Canadians in the corridors of sport power.
I invited L’Ashante Henry, Devin Heroux, and Alex Ikejiani to join me in a Massey Dialogue discussion of questions inclusion, race, and power in the Canadian sport system.
Are Canada’s sport institutions using their wealth and influence to advance or restrain sport as a vehicle for social inclusion? In the twenty-first century, is sport a teammate or an opponent in the struggle against racism? Is sport itself building or destroying the level playing field for Canadian society?
Massey College assembles Canada’s foremost students and academics, and enables them to interact with professionals in their fields. In doing so, the college fosters deep and interdisciplinary academic research, projects its thought leadership into the world of practice, and recruits the experience of practitioners to nourish its research.
Although I have been a Senior Member of Massey College for many years, this was the first time I have led a Massey Dialogue. I hope it will not be the last!