By Letter to the Editor on October 17, 2020.
Last night (Oct. 7) on the national news on two national television networks, it was reported that a young hockey player, Quinton Byfield, was the highest-drafted Black player in league history.
The report showed Quinton with both his parents and it begs the question of who decided that Quinton is Black. He is “bi-racial” with a White mother and Black father. So where is the rule book that says he is Black? And does the rule book tell us what genetic contribution he needs to become White?
Quinton Byfield is only Black to the people who see him and judge him based on skin colour. To others he just a typical Canadian kid with exceptional hockey skills.
But it turns out that there is a rule: “The One-Drop Rule.” The fact that the media and perhaps hockey organizations want to make him Black tells us more about them than it does about Quinton. This is an example of systemic racism.
If the reader is unsure about this characterization, he/she is encouraged to take a look at the “One-Drop Rule” that describes how societies evolve into groups based on visual appearance in order to safeguard limited resources. It was used in bygone times “in law and government to provide a precise code of discrimination and the determination of rights.” (https://www.scoop.it/topic/the-one-drop-rule)
Describing Quinton Byfield as Black is assigning him to the Out Group as opposed to being part of the In Group and has its basis in the evolution of our society. As the grandfather of three Canadian children, each having three-quarters the genetic load of one race and one-quarter from another race, but appearing to belong to two races, it concerns me that we are still using U.S. Civil War-era definitions to define who belongs and who doesn’t.
The solution to this is that all of us, the media included, need to think carefully about how we label each other. In reality, as we observe all the kids flowing in and out of our local high schools, the only label I can think is that they are all bright, vibrant Canadian teenagers. That is how we need to see Quinton Byfield.