Can we please stop pretending there’s any debate about whether the booing of Adam Goodes is racist. Let’s acknowledge that it is an treat it as such. The fact it started happening after first he called out the girl for calling him a racist name, then after he received the Australian of the Year award is telling.
There is a long tradition of only accepting people outside of the dominant group (in this case, straight, white men) when they don’t rock the boat at all. As soon as they dare challenge the existing power structures, they are the targets of abuse.
What has happened to Goodes is almost a textbook case of this.
It’s not a discussion. It’s not a debate. It is a reality: the booing of Goodes is racist.
But what if I just think he’s a flog?
A convenient argument, but it doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. There is nothing Goodes does that a thousand white players before him haven’t, yet he alone receives this vitriol. Chris Judd was a known for eye-gouging and the “chicken wing” yet retired a hero to standing ovations. Joel Selwood and Sam Mitchell are both current players with reputations for dirty play who are not in any way abused with anywhere near the frequency of veracity of Goodes. Stephen Milne was a literal rapist and wasn’t booed the way Goodes is.
There is something unique about the action to reaction ratio in the Goodes case that leaves no doubt of the cause.
But I don’t boo other Indigenous players, so I can’t be racist.
Actually, you can. Only booing Indigenous players who don’t stay silent about racism and who draw attention to inequality is racist. It says you’ll only accept non-white people if they stay in their assigned box and don’t dare to express their voice. The fact you treat players who don’t do that with respect doesn’t absolve you of racism toward players who do.