Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measures

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Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measures

Post by mc » 21 Sep 2014 08:37

Hi folks,

I hope that those that were not overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts about Nick's video the other day found some of the discussion to be interesting and informative. I know that I really valued a lot of what everyone had to share.

Some of the ideas that I valued the most were those that were different than mine, because they really brought light to some of the most important things that should be discussed about systemic bigotry, and how it can manifest in some absolutely wonderful people, simply because it's been written into their behaviors by the circumstances of their birth.

Circumstances of birth...

That's what this is all about.

I would be surprised if anyone, even those that disagreed with me the most wholeheartedly would... OK, better yet, picture this.

There's a footbag tournament. There is one player there who has a particularly darker complexion compared to everyone else there. There is a funny trick competition. One player does a trick in blackface, and does it in a way that parodies and mocks hip hop culture.

The player with the comparatively darker complexion stands up, right there in the middle of the tournament, and says to the player in blackface, "Wait just a god damn minute. That is offensive, and you know it. That is bullshit bigotry."

Then, he turns to the tournament organizer and says, "are you really gonna let this shit go in YOUR tournament?"

The player in blackface and the tournament organizer dismiss the player with the darker complexion. They refuse to accept that they have done anything wrong.

When the player with the darker complexion continues to assert that there is a problem, and *takes exception* to their bullshit excuses, even when they come paired with "apologies", because they are still evident of the traits that will allow the same bullshit to happen again, the player in blackface, the tournament organizers, and a growing amount of the players at the tournament start to assert that the player with the darker complexion is blowing everything out of proportion, being a "mother hen", and basically ruining what was supposed to be a fun time for everyone.

Some of the players agree with the player with the darker complexion.

Whose side are you on?

The kid in blackface who is often a super nice person who didn't mean to potentially hurt anyone with a hurtful bigoted joke, nor did he mean to perpetuate a climate of a certain amount of acceptability regarding systemic bigotry, but, nonetheless, did?

or the player with the darker complexion who says, "This is BS, and this doesn't belong in footbag."

I mean, ideally, you and I would be on both of their sides, because they are both our footbag brothers or sisters, and we love both of them.

That said, hopefully most of you would also acknowledge that the player with the darker complexion had a good point, and that maybe that sort of thing is worth bringing up, and challenging, right in the moment, so that we can foster a climate of not being bigoted in footbag. That shit HURTS people.

---------------

Do you guys know that Nick Pasquarello has been "out" in his private life, but that he has never ever felt comfortable being an "out" footbagger because of the climate of systemic bigotry in the place where he plays primarily?

He would have to go to footbag sessions (<-- read those last two words a few times before reading the next part of the sentence) and have to worry about hearing words like faggot, homo, queer, whatever. All the time. That does NOT foster a climate of openness and acceptance and friendship. That is BIGOTRY, and THIS is FOOTBAG. Think about that.

A young man that was strong enough to come out to his coworkers and his family didn't feel safe enough to let us know about who and how he loves. Until yesterday, at least. Thanks to Nick, for sharing that.

---------------

This thing is never going to go away in the whole big wide world, but, it doesn't have to be in footbag. We have a TINY, and AMAZING COMMUNITY of SMART, SENSITIVE, TALENTED, KIND, KIND, KIND individuals, and, with just a little effort and a little openheartedness on the part of the players (which I could do well to observe myself), we can actually create this worldwide sport that has a humanistic message behind it.

I would hope that the message of footbag would be, "All are welcome here. You can be YOU here. If someone says a racist or otherwise bigoted thing about the circumstances of your birth, be those circumstances your sexuality, your race, your religion, your country, or whatever, another footbagger WILL stand up for you, because we need to support one another."

-----------------

Now, some have said, "Matt, you're going on about tolerance, and you're not being a very tolerant person yourself right now."

That is like saying, "Stop complaining. I know that he stepped on your toe, and he is still standing on it, but he did not mean to do it because he is a good person who does not go around hurting people. I know his core goodness to be real based on my knowledge of him. Also, he really likes where he is standing, and, frankly, I think he shouldn't have to move off your foot. Now, would you please kindly shut up? We're trying to play footbag. Why don't you come join us?

Oh wait... You can't...

He's still standing on your foot.

...

oh well."
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 24 Sep 2014 15:19

So. here's Nick's idea of a corrected video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOmMQFk0tEM[/youtube]

He put an image of a big crybaby at the beginning of it. That was my favorite part.

To him, I say,

You know, Nick, I'm just so proud of how far you've come on all this…

It's really impressive that you'd have enough strength to put that image of the crybaby at the beginning of the video.

After all, that crybaby was you, shouting and refusing to accept that you had included some bigoted content in your competition, right?

Certainly, you don't think that people who point out bigotry in the communities around them are… crybabies… do you?

That can't be…

Why, that would mean that you've learned nothing at all, and that you just claimed to learn something so you could avoid an uncomfortable conversation...

---------------------

To support Nick's heroic admission that he is indeed a massive crybaby, I have available the screenshots of him being, by his own indication, said massive crybaby. If anyone's interested, let me know.

Thanks again, Nick.
Last edited by Allan on 28 Sep 2014 12:29, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Last edit was to fix the video embed. This edit is to make note of the fact that the last edit for fixing the embed ... I'm bad at this apparently.
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by F[uns]tylin' Eclectic » 24 Sep 2014 18:16

I'm just going to copy and paste the message I just sent you..

You've misinterpreted my humor. I thought that since I was making a comedy video, and since the new version was supposed to be clean enough to show children, I would do a child oriented pun on that.... After all, comedy video. I searched "hilarious baby face" and thought that one was the funniest. And I got the idea to put it to the sponge bob theme and I thought it looked really funny to have a chubby little girl crying during it.

They crying baby was just because I thought it would look funny along with theme. No underlying meaning. I shouldn't have even had to reply to this.
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by cd » 26 Sep 2014 09:16

Hear hear, Matt. There are a lot of players who feel the same way but have not spoken up for their own reasons. Thanks for being the one to say something this time.

I want to warn people away from thinking this is a case of the PC Police coming after Nick or Mike or whoever. It's not about any individuals involved in this conversation. The key word here is *systemic*, and we owe it to the sport and to each other to call it out when one of us makes a mistake. Because this community is almost entirely straight white cis males, and we have to make sure we're not broadcasting a message that alienates people and makes them think this is a club for exclusively straight white cis males.


Nick, I know it's hard not to take a lot of this stuff personally but I hope you don't feel like you need to defend yourself. The important thing is not your feelings, not which words Matt doesn't like, etc. You're in a position of power, you're currently Mr Footbag and everyone listens to what you say. Nobody can tell you what to do. But it matters to me, it matters to Matt, and it matters to others that the most important voice in the sport knows their words can impact peoples' lives in ways that might not be immediately apparent.
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 26 Sep 2014 11:43

I went to that post above, because I wanted to delete it. Then, I couldn't. Then, I thought, and remembered that sometimes it's not helpful to delete things just because I am embarrassed of the fact that I said them.

I'm embarrassed that I said that. I'm sorry that I said that. I will be conscious of my tendency to be vitriolic.

I just said this to Nick privately, and I want to say it publicly as well:

I need to apologize to you for being a massive, fundamental hypocrite.

Here's the core of my message to you, Nick: "You're not setting a good example, and you speak out a lot about the game. It's important for the loudest voices in the game to exercise certain core values."

I set a pretty bad example myself. My example did not exercise the core value of kindness, by continuing to badger you after I made the initial "outburst" that I felt was necessary to bring enough attention to the problem at hand.

I did it a lot, and I did it even after I *knew* you were in pain, and Nick, *I am so sorry for that.*

It was massively, fundamentally hypocritical, and careless on my part, because I left my self so open to criticism that my message (which I believe to be a good one) may have "gone down with the ship", at least for you, and probably with many, many others, like my good friend Mikie, who simply got tired of the fact that I was completely overdoing it with my disruption (and rightfully so).

I'm sorry to you, Nick and Mikie, and I'm sorry to all of the game for setting a bad example myself. At least I know it now.

Who knows?

Maybe now I can graduate from Shit Captain to Shit General.

Or maybe I can just be a better Matt.

Peace, breeze, sunshine above
Footbag is life, and life is love

Let ECFC begin.

Matt
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by Jeremy » 28 Sep 2014 15:42

The one time when we ran a survey (or any kind of survey) of modified members, this exact issue came up as a serious concern for a significant number of members, a number of who were "closeted" homosexuals. I've thought this is a massive problem in footbag for many years. I'm sure the issue in footbag just reflects the same problem in broader society, but I've always hoped footbaggers could be better than the "average." People should call out genuine discrimination every time they see it.

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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by F[uns]tylin' Eclectic » 28 Sep 2014 16:04

Matt Cross and I did have a chat. He and I are all good now. The tangled strings have been sorted out. Thanks for talking on Saturday night, Matt. It takes guts to say something like that. Just know it's appreciated. Really.
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 01 Oct 2014 14:42

You're the man now, dude.

;) all is good in the neighborhood.

I need to learn to sit down at a table before I flip it.

<3
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by Pasquar » 03 Oct 2014 10:28

Just an observation, but I think it's interesting that an issue of systemic bigotry seems to have devolved to personal reconciliation between Nick and Matt.

I know the original video was posted, caused controversy, and was deleted a little while ago, but I remember how I was feeling during those days, which was surprised and generally hurt. I remember talking with Matt personally about this when we were both pretty fired up about the whole thing. So I go in for a shift at work and by the time I'm done, the Facebook thread was deleted (I know Matt has screenshots, so it's preserved somewhere) and the main arbitrators have "resolved the issue".

I then was in conversation with Matt and he assured me that "everything was good" because he and Nick talked it out - like this was always about some personal issue between just those two and not the broader issue of systemic bigotry (and censorship as I've learned). I felt personally shut out of this and started feeling like the annoying gay guy on the side saying "Yo hold up, this shit is NOT resolved." Sorry that I wanted the conversation to continue so as to give peace of mind to a straight man.

I have taken a while to say anything because I still feel bitter about the situation and how it was "resolved". I feel like so much of this has been a soap opera between Nick and Matt that it's again distracting away from the main issue of this being about systemic bigotry and how we as community address or fail to address that.

That said; Thank you Jeremy and Chris for your comments which have centered this back to the main topic.
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by Cass » 03 Oct 2014 14:48

I too thought it interesting that this reconciliation meant that everything was supposed to be okay. As a minority in the community who also engages in a non-traditional lifestyle this conversation affects me. I haven’t really commented on the topic until now because I wasn’t interested in any flame wars. I do, however think it important to speak out when something is not right. Bigotry is not okay.

I love footbag and the community so much. That being said I have been alienated on a pretty regular basis because of who I am. Most of the attention I get is positive so I can only imagine what it’s like for a gay man in the same community with so many immature straight boys. I hope that people will be more mindful about how their actions affect others in the future.

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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 05 Oct 2014 11:45

Pasquarello, if you're shut out of this conversation, it's because your mouth is shut.

I have been WAITING for you to open your mouth and contribute more.

The reason that this conversation has devolved to something between Polini and I is that we are the only ones talking about it. That said, I'm sure Nick and I would both agree that this issue is greater than we are, and that we should keep our personal stuff between us from here on out.

The "forgiveness" I gave him was for our personal situation. I'm not putting a bow on the issue.

If you feel that the conversation has devolved, then open your mouth and evolve it, bro. The main issue that you seem to want to discuss is that no one listens to you.

I think that might be because you're not giving anyone very much to listen to.

...or have you? Have there been any specific questions or issues that I haven't addressed?

If you're waiting for an invitation to speak up, please do. I'm reading. Let's talk. :)

_______________

I met a young man this past weekend.

He told me that he's happy that I started this conversation, because systemic bigotry sucks.

Then, he told me that he would have said something, but he feels his voice doesn't matter.

I asked him if he thinks that my voice matters.

He said that he thinks that it does, because I have ankle crank and strong legs and a skinny body and a big mouth (in other words, because this is footbag, and I'm Matt).

I told him, if you think my voice matters, then listen when I say that your voice matters, and that I *need YOUR help* with this.

He still hasn't spoken up, because he can't accept the fact that his voice matters, no matter how much his ankles bend or how loudly he speaks into microphones.

I couldn't get the idea past through, past this point, but, in retrospect, that should have been expected.

Not a lot of people are speaking up. Many of you know this to be wrong. I hope some of you will speak.

But, hey, if it's too much trouble, don't forget, it's really not that big of a deal...

it's only hacky sack, right?

right?
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 05 Oct 2014 11:49

let's not be sexist, Cassy.

how about "immature straight people" instead of "immature straight boys"?

is that fair?
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 05 Oct 2014 11:51

or how about just "immature people"? I'm somewhere on the queer spectrum, and I think we can all agree...

I am EXTREMELY immature sometimes ;)
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by Pasquar » 07 Oct 2014 11:45

mc wrote: The reason that this conversation has devolved to something between Polini and I is that we are the only ones talking about it. That said, I'm sure Nick and I would both agree that this issue is greater than we are, and that we should keep our personal stuff between us from here on out.
Thank you, that would be much appreciated. What I have found irritating is the level of public report-backs about private conversations, which is what I saw this entire thread becoming.

And you're right, I haven't been speaking as much as you all have, but that does not mean that I'm not reflecting on things. A lot of the time I feel that reflecting is more meaningful and productive than knee-jerk responses.

That said, I still take issue with the whole play-by-play when this initially unveiled on Facebook - including your deleting my comments. It's contradictory to want me to speak up and then censor me.
mc wrote: The main issue that you seem to want to discuss is that no one listens to you.


Don't put words in my mouth and don't assume things about me, Matt.

I have to go right now but let's say this discussion is definitely not over.
Nick Pasquarello


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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 07 Oct 2014 16:13

Fine, Nick. You want this conversation to be about what YOU want it to be about? You want to criticize me for not having the conversation that you want me to have? You expect me to read your mind about what you want the conversation to be, and then face the consequences if I don't have it, because "this discussion is definitely not over"?

Well, shucks, Nick. I'm scared.

All yours. The floor is yours. I have no more to say about it. I should have known better.
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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by Pasquar » 08 Oct 2014 16:16

I have apologized to Matt privately, but definitely need to put that apology out here publicly as well, as I said some pretty rash things.

As with everything, there's intent and impact - what we mean to say and how it's interpreted. I was acting on purely emotion when I felt that Matt was putting words in my mouth or assuming my position/action in all of this. That's how it was interpreted by me but is not what he meant by it. So apologies for being an ass.

It's definitely dumb to divide when we're pretty much on the same page when it comes to this topic.

I guess the main thing I felt offended by when this thing initially unveiled is that it was swept off Facebook, and when I mentioned that Matt censored me, it was after Nick had deleted the whole thread and Matt posted something that I responded to. Again, it wasn't Nick or Matt's intent to sweep this whole thing under the rug, and I believe Matt was doing so to divert the conversation to this thread, but I still thought doing so was quasi erasing history.

While I'm glad that this conversation continues here, the Facebook Group definitely has a bigger audience. I remember someone in the midst of the thread who said something like "I thought this group would be conflict-free, guess I was wrong". While it generally is that way, when there is a serious topic, I think it is important to be transparent and keep that up. By deleting the conversation, I felt it was an attempt to shut it down (again, intent and impact). Like, we can have threads with 86 comments on a Lon Smith video, but when there's a serious topic of conversation we want to get rid of it.

That has been one of the main things that bugged me about how this all played out. Again, I am definitely glad that this conversation continues here and I will be more mindful/intentional with what I say moving forward.
Nick Pasquarello


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Re: Systemic Bigotry: Manifestations and Preventative Measur

Post by mc » 07 Feb 2015 15:51

yeah!
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