White Players to Represent South Africa Team in Rugby
by sabrinabelanger on September 9, 2015 - 4:57pm
In the article entitled “Lack of black players in South Africa team puts race under spotlight before World Cup”(TheGuardian, August 13th 2015), the author, David Smith argues that racial inequalities persist in the world of sports, specifically rugby. In effect, he exposes the debate taking place regarding the quite small proportion of black people in South Africa rugby team. He begins by pointing out the fact that the racial diversity illustrated in the World Cup ads is not representative of reality. The author continues by stating with irony that when South Africa won the World Cup in 2007, there were only 2 black players part of the team, while the country counts less than 10% whites in its population. Even if there is a lot of excellent black players in training, there seems to be a blockage in the system. The author also points out the lack of intervention from rugby authorities, and cites that according to the country’s sport minister, change has to start at the education level. He goes on by approving observations of some commentators, according to which the situation of racial injustice in rugby is a reflection of some other areas of public life in the country. Smith concludes by mentioning that issues of racial inequality will still persist as the South American team remains mostly white.
In my view, this article is quite weak. To begin with, the author provides his readers clear explanation about the current situation of South Africa’s rugby team. In effect, Smith described in detail the issue, making many links with the country’s history of racial discrimination. The author dives into the very delicate subject of racism when pointing out the inequalities some players go through only because of their skin colour. He demonstrates the absurdity of qualifying players as inferior because they are black, which makes sense. For this, the author displays strength according to me. It is an assumption that race revolves around skin pigmentation. In effect, ‘race’ is subjective and as certain people believe race is identifiable by appearances, others rely on other factors. We can connect this to a statement Curnoe makes in his article : ‘‘Races have been identified on ecological, geographical, climatic, physiological and even seasonal criteria’’. However, unconsciously, Smith, by making a constant contrast between white and black players, and by referring to terms such as ‘white mentality’ and ‘racial reconciliation’, enhances the fact that ‘race’ does exist, and can only be identified by one’s skin tone. This can push readers into believing that the debate between ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’ is what race is about, which in my opinion weakens the purpose of the article.
Smith, D. (2015, August 13) ‘‘Lack of black players in South Africa team puts race under spotlight before World Cup’’. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2015/aug/13/south-africa-racism-rugby-world-cup-heyneke-meyer
Curnoe, D. (2015). Human Races : Biological Reality or Cultural Delusion? A. Nouvet, 381-204-LA gr.00545: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism.