Asher Hill says Skate Canada ignored his complaints of "racism, misogyny, homophobia, abuse of skater"

layman

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Asher Hill is saying that you don't know what it's like until you have been in my shoes (and apparently Skate Canada have reprimanded him for speaking out).

I can't think of a single black figure skater who has not experienced racism...starting with Mabel Fairbanks (coached in secret by Maribel Vincent Owen), who was not allowed to participate in competitions against white skaters.


Mabel Fairbanks pupils Atoy Wilson, Debi Thomas, Tai Babilonia, and Rudy Galindo also experienced obstacles due to the color of their skin.

Surya Bonaly was practically chased out of the sport (by judges, officials, coaches, a hostile media...) due to the color of her skin (though the attacks on her were coded as "edges" or "her coach" or "wrong outfits," the real reason was obvious).

Rohene Ward has talked about being treated differently and encountering hostility based on his skin color.

Aljona Savchenko has talked about how racist attacks aimed at (former partner) Robin Szolkowy hurt her.

I just can't think of a single black skater who has not experienced this.

I applaud Asher Hill for speaking out and I have enjoyed his knowledgeable commentary the past several years on "the Skating Show."

 
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Japanfan

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I can't think of a single black figure skater who has not experienced racism...starting with Mabel Fairbanks (coached in secret by Maribel Vincent Owen), who was not allowed to participate in competitions against white skaters.

I saw an interview with Vanessa James some time back and she said she was lucky to have not experienced racism. Although the interview was some years ago, and I don't recall whether she was speaking about the figure skating world or about her life in general. My impression was the latter. And of course, Vanessa may have reflected on that statement and recalled instances in which she did actually experience racism.
 

VGThuy

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Bonaly had a lot to pick on regarding her skating, but so much of the noise about her was coded racist language. It also didn’t help that Didier was exploiting her image to perpetuate a white person’s gaze on her.
 

layman

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Bonaly had a lot to pick on regarding her skating, but so much of the noise about her was coded racist language. It also didn’t help that Didier was exploiting her image to perpetuate a white person’s gaze on her.
Mabel Fairbanks also talked about being treated as "an exotic circus attraction."

Nice tribute to her:
 

thvudragon

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Thank you Asher Hill for speaking out. I’m not surprised at all that he experienced racism, and then was punished when he reported it. Typical silencing tactics by the old regime. USFS and SC need to clean house. The old racists, misogynists, and homophobes need to go.

SC is definitely in PR clean up mode. I love that Hill isn’t taking any of their garbage.
 

dramagrrl

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I am proud of him for speaking out. As a person of colour who is a skating fan, I have always noticed racism, both subtle and blatant, in the sport and its community. I live in a city that is one of the most multicultural in the world, but when I have attended competitions and skating shows in my area, I am often one of very few fans in the crowd who aren't white (or East Asian, given the recent huge influx of Yuzuru fans and fans of Yu-Na Kim in the past travelling from all over the place to see their faves in competition). Figure skating in North America has been an extremely white sport for decades and I'm glad Asher spoke out about the issue.
 

MacMadame

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Surya Bonaly was practically chased out of the sport (by judges, officials, coaches, a hostile media...) due to the color of her skin (though the attacks on her were coded as "edges" or "her coach" or "wrong outfits," the real reason was obvious).
I don't think it is racist to complain about Bonaly's edge quality or how she muscled through her jumps since those are valid technical complaints. But all that talk about how "exotic" she was used to drive me crazy.

Btw, once Bonaly got injured and couldn't jump as much, she worked a lot on her edge quality and became a very enjoyable Pro skater.
 

Japanfan

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I don't think it is racist to complain about Bonaly's edge quality or how she muscled through her jumps since those are valid technical complaints. But all that talk about how "exotic" she was used to drive me crazy.

And her mother helped perpetuate that image by claiming Surya was adopted in Africa, when in fact she was adopted in France. That is, IIRC.

I lurrved me some Surya Bonaly! Especially when she put a backflip into her LP although it was illegal. IMO that was a marvelous moment!
 

dramagrrl

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There was also the whole exoticizing of Surya with the story about how she was found abandoned on Reunion Island, which was not true. Didier later admitted that he made the story up to gain media attention for her in hopes that she would get better results in competition.
 

Vagabond

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And her mother helped perpetuate that image by claiming Surya was adopted in Africa, when in fact she was adopted in France. That is, IIRC.
No, you do not recall correctly.


Journalists, mainly American, began in the late 1980s to claim that Surya Bonaly was born on the Réunion island and was found lying on a coconut-strewn beach. The skater's passport, however, indicates that she was born in Nice. The story spreads as she prepares her first European championships in 1989. Surya Bonaly believes that the media couldn't accept that a young black and adopted woman could have been born in France. For Didier Gailhaguet, first coach of her competitive career, the media attention given to the skater allows her to achieve better results in international competitions. He later admitted fabricating the story in order to draw attention to his skater, adding that he only mentioned the Reunion island because he dreamed of going there on vacation. When Surya approached the age of 18 and began researching her birth history, she discovered that her biological mother is indeed from the island and her biological father from the Ivory Coast.

Didier Gailhaguet strikes again.

Réunion is not in Africa. It is in the Indian Ocean.

ETA: A coconut-strewn beach?! :rolleyes: 🏖
 

Khaleesi

Active Member
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Very disappointed in the ISU. Very disappointed. You would think they would release a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. Why are they silent even after being called out by fans on social media? Their silence is complicit to racism. I applaud Asher in speaking out against SC and SC can shove it with their fake apologies now.
 

skatingguy

Golden Team
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Very disappointed in the ISU. Very disappointed. You would think they would release a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. Why are they silent even after being called out by fans on social media? Their silence is complicit to racism. I applaud Asher in speaking out against SC and SC can shove it with their fake apologies now.
Maybe my expectations of the ISU are so low that I can't say I am. International sports organizations, and for that matter that national organizations, are so feckless when it comes to these issues. Look at what's happened with the USAG, with the USFS, and with the IOC, and there inability to address abuses within their own organizations.
 

Khaleesi

Active Member
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Maybe my expectations of the ISU are so low that I can't say I am. International sports organizations, and for that matter that national organizations, are so feckless when it comes to these issues. Look at what's happened with the USAG, with the USFS, and with the IOC, and there inability to address abuses within their own organizations.
Disheartening all around. It’s definitely dimmed my love for this sport I’m sorry to say.
 

VGThuy

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I hate to say it but I never expected a statement from the ISU just based on my experience seeing how difficult it can be for SOME people outside of the US to understand American-style institutional, historical, and current racism, especially when it comes to black folks. It seems hard for many Americans much less outsiders. Add in the type of people who run these international bodies, their backgrounds, etc.
 

topaz

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14,752
Very disappointed in the ISU. Very disappointed. You would think they would release a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. Why are they silent even after being called out by fans on social media? Their silence is complicit to racism. I applaud Asher in speaking out against SC and SC can shove it with their fake apologies now.

ISU has very little to nil diversity within their committee and board why would you think they would be "woke" and willing to risk financial backlash. Anti-Blackness and white privilege are represented in just about all aspects of our society around the world.

Most non whites and some POC do not want to acknowledge this fact nor wish to change it. It would mean giving up their power and privileges. Many people have to pushed to look inward, examine themselves and the organizations they belong too in regards to discrimination.

Hell, skating can't even admit to the abuse of children within its community let alone racism, homophobia and other injustices.
 
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