Why is it so hard for some white people to call a thing a thing when it comes to racism? What is the point in addressing a racist incident if you’re too uncomfortable to even identify it as a racist incident?
As previously reported, Black volleyball players from Duke University were taunted with racial slurs by a fan on Friday during a game at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. It was bad enough that the white BYU fan was allowed to continue shouting the N-word and berating players throughout the game without being ejected. It was bad enough that BYU officials waited until after the incident went viral to put out their little weak, standardized statement addressing the incident saying they “will not tolerate behavior of this kind” when they literally tolerated it for the duration of the game.
All of that was bad enough, but BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe decided to add a little more insult to injury by dancing around the word “racism” like it was a pit full of hot coals while addressing the incident before Sunday night’s game.
“At last night’s game, there were some egregious and hurtful slurs that were directed at members of the Duke University women’s volleyball team,” Holmoe said. “I’m the athletic director and I’m accountable for what happens at all our events. And with that in mind, the process to get better and heal has already begun as you can see and you’ll see a little bit more often.”
Bro, what are you even talking about? How are you claiming a healing process has started and saying definitively that “you can see” that process when you’re still being ambiguous AF in identifying who is healing and what they’re healing from? But whatever, carry on…
“This morning I visited with the young athlete on Duke’s team and her coach,” Holmoe continued referring to Duke starter Rachael Richardson, who was the main target of the Klan-ish fan’s racial attacks. “If you would have met her, you would have loved her. But you don’t know her and so you don’t feel that way.”
First of all, who are you even talking to? The RACIST man who committed acts of RACISM during the game was banned from all BYU events, so he’s certainly not in the audience you’re speaking in front of. Secondly—and I’m just going to tap the mic and raise my voice for this part—IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER THE BLACK VICTIM OF RACISM IS LIKABLE OR NOT!! I’m sure Richardson is a lovely woman, But Black people shouldn’t have to be perfectly composed and likable by white standards for our humanity to be recognized. Also, no, this racist fan would not “have loved her” regardless because she’s Black and—*taps mic again*—HE’S RACIST!!
Obviously, Holmoe’s seemingly intentionally non-specific address didn’t go over well with Black folks on Twitter who know useless lip service when they hear it.
The point is, if you’re going to address racism then address it by its name. Otherwise, you’re just playing around in Black people’s faces, which, as far as many of us are concerned, is racist in and of itself.