The explosive growth of the Black Lives Matter occurred after George Floyd, a Black man in America, died under the knee of a white policeman. It became a huge movement that generated global impact in the summer of 2020. The sports world has been deeply affected and many players, teams across a number of sporting disciplines chose the symbolic gesture of 'taking the knee' to show support. This continues even now, although more loosely. At the T20 World Cup being played in the UAE currently, there hasn't been any directive from the ICC, but different teams have been choosing different ways to reiterate that stance against racism.
But beyond that lies the question on how this movement was rapidly adopted by the global sports world when they have generally tried to keep it free of all other issues. It seems that how the concept of injustice is constructed all over the world is controlled by the concerns of the Western world. This is particularly so as we face the critical life and death matter of climate justice and no sports body has ever bothered to even recognise the crisis.
The BLM issue is about racism and its implications both within racism prone states like the US, UK, Australia etc. But it also has an impact on various institutions that are controlled by the West including the ICC. It seems the West not only uses racism in their direct zone of rule but also promotes anti-racism in the rest of the world. This has been effectively blunting many issues that arise in the East caused by the West's actions. Sexism and racism are the two big issues in the West that they manage to transmit onto the rest of the world, plus protests against it. How do other groups fit into this matrix?
The demography and economics
Black Americans are almost 90% of slave ancestry and 10% are immigrants. The numbers vary according to sources but are largely thought to be just under 50 million. Of them the hardcore are the native born Americans who have fought its wars including its deeply toxic ones against others to further its own interest including the Vietnam, ME and other wars. In other words, they are part of the US state.
They are America's most victimised minority and have the clout and confidence to protest and make the state pay notice. The victimisation they face in the US is not just incidental but structural too. Not only were they displaced from their own environment (Africa) and enslaved- later they remained the most marginalised. The civil rights movement that sought to address the systematic discrimination they faced only happened in the 1960s. Racial profiling is still today an everyday affair.
Anti-racism dominates the US injustice agenda and not poverty alleviation. However, as protests have grown, the US liberal lobby has also joined in. BLM is increasingly a global agenda and to it are joining the very people who are leaders of the top racist countries of the world.
And the rest?
The problem is that the global agenda manufacturing factory is located in the West and their local agents in the East also follow the trend. Thus, racism is dominantly or overwhelmingly a Western problem as the Eastern /South has other bigger problems to handle apart from that. But the problems of the East, including those caused by the West don't get any attention. The notions and narratives of injustice are ignored because those that get attention are the ones that are spawned in the West.
The rise of the BLM movement is a good example. Not only did the West cause it, it also produced the reactions and now has imposed it on much of the sports world. One can understand people doing it in the US or the UK where its core lies but why it should be an issue at the T20 Cricket World Cup is very odd.
If it's about arbitrary arrest and harassment by the White policemen, why push it down Brown throats? It would seem that the West has successfully managed to transplant their issue onto the rest of the world and taken away attention from the problems which they have caused and are not ready to do anything about. At this point of time the global denial of climate change for one and any meaningful action is a good example.
BLM and the ICC Cup
Instead of taking the knee, a gesture that at this point is almost inseparable from BLM, which is also a political organisation in the US and some European countries, it would have been much more appropriate if the players raised their hands to commit themselves to support actions for climate change - a truly global crisis that affects many more people in the countries they are representing. The world's biggest problem is not how police behave with Black people in the US but that the world is being destroyed by global emissions. In this very lopsided vision of what is global and what is local, the West has managed to foist one of its own failures onto us all, thereby dubbing it as a global failure. Thus the context is twisted and presented in such a way that the focus stays away from what the West does.
That is why as sports have become coloured by politics, it's important that non-Western countries assert the agenda that is truly global and not local, that too in somebody else's reality. The West controls both conversations and the non-Western leadership has allowed the agenda to usurp the interest of the world from the issue that affects us most.
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