08 May 2007

He can't be racist, he's religious!

For all the hockey fans out there, there is a big political farce going on right now about the captain of Canada's world championship hockey team, Shane Doan. Two years ago, Doan (of the Phoenix Coyotes) was playing a game in Montreal and a referee from Quebec alleges that Doan made anti-french remarks to him during the game, something to the tune of "F--king frenchman." Despite an investigation by the NHL which found the allegations to be unfounded, several politicians are complaining that Doan should not have been selected to the team due to the slur.

First off, it is simply a farce that our leaders would waste so much time drumming up debate over a non-issue. This is your tax dollars at work, folks.

Thankfully, Hockey Canada, most journalists, hockey players, and many, many Canadian citizens have all come down against the politicians in this case.

Now, the interesting thing to me is how Doans supporters have defended him. It's all about character: Doan would never say such a thing. Against standard hockey player type, Doan is well known for not swearing.

But for many of the supporters, character is equivalent to religious:
Olympic speed skating gold medallist Catriona LeMay Doan, who's married to the hockey player's cousin, said it's almost inconceivable a deeply religious Doan would utter such words.
"It's a joke -- it's something that supposedly happened two years ago and he was cleared ... he doesn't have a racist bone in his body.... When it first came across the news back then, it was a big farce -- everybody here laughed about it because Shane's a fairly religious guy." - Halkirk's (Doan's hometown) Mayor Ross Elsasser.
Hockey Canada chief Bob Nicholson said a cultural slur was certainly uttered during the 2005 game - but said it was never uttered by Doan.

He would not say which Coyote actually called a linesman a "F**king Frenchman," but suggested the player involved might not even have been from Canada.

As for Doan, the head of Hockey Canada says he has known the star forward since he was a teenager and described him as a gentle-hearted, devout Christian who doesn't even swear.

"You should get to know Shane Doan," Nicholson said.

"You can talk to all of his teammates that have played with him. He says 'fudge,' a lot if he gets upset. He's a Christian and a person that I am proud to know."
What's this stuff about religion preventing him from being a racist? Maybe in his case he interprets Christianity in a way that doesn't degrade different looking people, but that's never been a strong point of Christianity. The Hamitic Myth, anyone? In fairness, a quick and not very thorough estimate shows that only about 1 out of every 5 positive support comments refers to Doan's religion preventing him from being racist, while the rest refer to it preventing him from swearing. Ok, I buy that. He's Ned Flanders.

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At May 10, 2007 12:06 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

For the sake of argument, let's PRETEND that the guy actually said "F-ing Frenchmen" though it sounds like it would be out of character for him to have done so.

Why is it racist to call someone by their native country? If he had said nigger, gook, spic, chink, whop, whatever, THAT would have been racist. Does typing those words make ME racist? What if the guy had said F-ing American? Or F-ing Yankee Cowboy?

OOooooh, I bet the "victim" was just crying to hear that F-word and his native country taken in vane. Well- is he or is he not from France? If so? Big deal. If not? Big deal.

Are politicians just looking for a reason to get their panties in a twist about this????

At May 10, 2007 1:03 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Yeah, more or less it's just politicians trying to win the important Quebec vote.

The referee in question was very offended that the comment was uttered. I'm not sure if that makes it racist or not. Sure the comment is mean, but, as you say,"frenchman" is just a normal term for a french-speaking person, so is it that bad?

As far as personal verbal attacks on referees go, this is all pretty lame to the infamous "Go eat another donut, you fat pig!" uttered at Don Koharski by coach Jim Schoenfeld.

At May 10, 2007 2:40 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

Are or are not hockey players by nature fairly aggressive? If in the course of a match a ref here's one person say "F-in Frenchman", wouldn't that be a good day?

I wonder which "f" word he was really objecting to.

Seriously- my eyes are rolled so far back in my head I can see my pony-tail.

Give me a royal french break!!!!


Thanks for the great post! Seriously, I love absurdities that tie me in knots.

At May 10, 2007 4:09 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

That's why Doan's supporters are so vocal. Your average hockey player uses the f-word at least as much as any other word in the english language (not sure about Quebec or European players though).

As for the ref, it probably was the combination of "f-ing" and "frenchman" more than either one of the two.

"F-ing moron" - not particularly offensive if you're a ref
"so and so is a Frenchman" - not offended by suspicious that you are bringing up the ref's cultural background
"F-ing Frenchman" - quite a bit worse, I think.

At May 10, 2007 9:11 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

*shaking head* wow. I'm just not getting it.

I mean, I understand that the ref was horrified by the phrase, but not WHY the ref was horrified. It's all one big "Who gives a flying ....Frenchman?!"


At May 11, 2007 11:12 a.m., Blogger TheBrummell said...

Why is it racist to call someone by their native country?

He wasn't called by his native country - the referee was Canadian, not French.

That doesn't explain or excuse the idiotic media storm around this, though. How is it that this referee had not been called a fucking frenchman before?

At May 11, 2007 11:26 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

But "fucking Quebecer" doesn't have the same ring to it. Precision has to yield to alliteration sometimes.

At May 11, 2007 11:28 a.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

ahhhh, I din't realize that calling someone a Frenchmen was considered a major insult.

The only stereotype I'm aware of here in the U.S. for French people is the willingness to surrender. That was held in high contempt here for several years. Several restaurant chains even renamed the "french fries" to "Freedom Fries".

The only thing I've heard aside from that is that the French hate our guts. But that was a line in a movie.


At May 11, 2007 12:51 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

As far as I know, the "french are good at surrendering" thing only applies to France french. I've never heard of Quebec surrendering easily.

And don't worry about the French hating your guts. Most of the rest of the world hates your guts too ;-)

At May 11, 2007 5:45 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

Considering the US foreign policy of universal appeasement, why should they hate us? Don't we drop bombs and food supplies? Blow up buildings and build schools?

Must be the mixed signals, ya think?


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