In a pre-season NHL hockey game in London (Ontario) on Thursday night, an unknown fan threw a banana on to the ice. Predictably, it was when one of the few black players in the NHL was also on the ice. And everyone is outraged, which certainly sounds good enough.
Here's the thing, though. There are all sorts of quotes from players of color and suits who say that London isn't a racist place and that this is a wholly isolated incident. (Because, the logic goes, if other black/brown players haven't felt/seen it, then it must not exist, right? In spite of the fact that racialized celebrities more easily "pass" as if they were white?) And then the article that I linked to provides a list of other explicitly racist, and ostensibly isolated, incidents in hockey games. And they note that in spite of everyone's outrage, no one has been able (willing?) to identify the fan who threw the banana.
So, I'm not the only person who sees a disconnect, here, right? It's isolated, but it happens with some regularity; it's not indicative of some racist sensibility among people in the city, and yet no one has helped identify the banana-thrower. Stuff like this seems like such an obvious launching-pad - a "teachable moment", as it were - for a discussion of systemic racism and how events like these are linked, and how indifference to racist acts is itself an act of racism. But, somehow, I imagine that every time this happens in the future, it'll be just as shocking, surprising, and isolated.