May 19, 2003

COUNTERPOINT: | rcade argues that Singh's shot at Annika Sorenstam is way out of bounds. I am not so sure, thus, my response in Rethinking Sexism: Why Vijay Singh is not a racist. (Disclosure: This is a SportsFilter self-link.)

posted by jacknose to culture at 11:29 AM - 5 comments

I've posted another comment under your column, jacknose. But I'd like to add a couple of points: 1. Although I think Singh is silly for sticking his foot in his mouth, I've never equated his silliness with racism. 2. Now, while Singh may not have articulated his opposition to Annika's entry that clearly, there is some validity to opposition to entry on a sponsor's exemption. If she'd played her way in, and he complained, well, then he's more of a doofus and, yes, a sexist. But then again, it could be a catch-22 for Sorenstam: If she can't play any men's tournaments to begin with, how can she qualify? Am I missing any other arcane golf details that make me miss the point? Also, forget Annika. Think Michelle Wie. Vijay had this to say about her:

"You watch her swing and say, 'That's normal.' Then you realize that she's only 13 and that's ... that's unbelievable," said Vijay Singh, who played in Wie's group during the Pro-Junior event. "She plays like an 18-year-old. She's going to be a star."
So you see, Vijay's not all bad. (Whoo! That last part was a double-post! In a self-post! A double-double!)

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:16 PM on May 19, 2003

I'm being figurative, not literal, about Singh and racism. I'm suggesting that people are defining sexism in a way that simply replaces gender for race. That's a faulty way to think about sexism. I also responded to your astute comment regarding rcade's column under the column posts. I suppose the downside of FPPing columns is that you're bound to have two separate conversations.

posted by jacknose at 12:31 PM on May 19, 2003

There are two separate issues going on here. 1) Is Singh wrong to make a fuss about Sorenstam? 2) Is Singh sexist, racist, other? Singh is wrong because he doesn't recognize the accepted rules of competitive balance - you are are allowed to play up to a more competitive level, but you are not allowed to play down. We don't complain about boxers or wrestlers going to a heavier class in search of competition, but if they want to go down to a lighter class, then they have to make the weight. Singh is sexist because he complained about Sorenstam accepting an exemption, not about the practice of sponsor exemptions. Sponsors give exemptions to schmo's all the time and the only people who complain are the lower tier players who get bumped out.

posted by offsides at 07:49 AM on May 20, 2003

In this case, several of those lower-tier players are eagerly looking forward to Sorenstam playing because they want the chance to participate in a historic event.

posted by rcade at 08:17 AM on May 20, 2003

Nice points by offsides. They clarify for me what is wrong with Singh's opposition.

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:31 AM on May 20, 2003

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