Last Monday, we published an article titled Why Snowboarding Needs To Talk About Race. Despite many positive comments, there was a substantial backlash to the article on social media, disputing that racism did not exist in the mountains and did not need to be discussed. Former Whitelines writer, Sam McMahon, has written below on the danger of this message, and why snowboarding can no longer be a safe space for racism.
Saying snowboarding has a problem with racism is not saying that turning up at resort requires you to don your Ku Klux Klan robes, light up a cross and pledge your allegiance to David Duke.
It does not mean you need to renew your Britain First membership in order to buy a season pass, or that fans are flying shaun white lives matter banners over the X Games halfpipe.
It is not to suggest that you, a snowboarder, are an overt racist, liable to pull out a piste-side Nazi salute or slather on the black face for apres.
Snowboarding’s problem with racism is that it is a predominantly white male activity. Regardless of whether or not “everyone is covered up” from head-to-toe for 24 hours of every day spent on holiday as some comment threads might have you believe, it’s plain to see from industry marketing, from the lack of representation of black athletes – the self-fulfilling prophecy that says ‘but there are none’.
“Saying snowboarding has a problem with racism is not saying that turning up at resort requires you to don your Klu Klux Klan robes, light up a cross and pledge your allegiance to David Duke”