There is an interesting thread that soccerulestheworld just started over at the NC Soccer Forum about racism in youth soccer:

It is time for a community discussion on racism as it affects youth soccer in North Carolina.

Please do not construe this request for a discussion to be political or fall outside of the boundaries of the rules of the forum. And, if it is at all possible, try to measure your comments before hitting the “quick reply button”?. The forum mods may want to monitor before locking the thread. I reserve the opportunity to not comment further on this unless the thread gets personalized or off task.

This past weekend, there were several reported incidents across the state in classic and challenge level matches where children were the object of racial and ethnic taunts by other children and by parents as well. Few, if any, of these incidents have made it to this forum. I am surprised by that as well. There were also a couple of ethnically-charged issues leveled at referees that are being circulated via emails.

There are a couple facts of life that we all have to accept:

  • We are citizens of a republic that historically has welcomed immigrants from where ever they may have been born.
  • Civil rights had to be legislated in this “free”? republic.

I am ashamed to be associated with any person who is intolerant of the struggles of other people who are wanting the same things out of life that native born or racial majority demographic may enjoy without question.

This will definitely be an interesting discussion. I count myself lucky (or just unobservant) to have not seen any obvious forms of racism in our league, but our league is probably 90% Caucasian. Does that mean our league is suffering from latent racism in how it operates, excluding those who might wish to play? Not that I’m aware of. We would love to increase minority participation, but it’s not always clear what specific issues are blocking a wider participation by minority youth. Besides the obvious one that all of our materials, website, forms, etc. are in English. At some point we hope to find volunteers who can translate many of them into Spanish and to be able to recruit more bi-lingual coaches.

But in the end – racism has no place in our society and it is especially troubling when children are involved, being targeted by adults.

There is a common debate in youth soccer circle about the responsibilities of parents on the sideline when one of them pushes the boundary of acceptable behavior. Many parents just ignore the trouble maker and hope they will stop. But what if, instead of a parent yelling stupid things like the ref is blind, complaining about fouls, etc. a parent said something more insidious like “Maybe if that kid spoke English he’d understand what the ref is saying” Would you sit idly by or would you say/do something?

So join in the discussion at NC Soccer, but please keep it civil and objective, lest the moderators lock the thread down.