Dereck Chisora: What a ‘role model’ for Britain’s black youths
While there is no shortage of positive role models from among Britain’s diverse black communities, it is still a sad reality that for most young black people the majority of time they get to see someone who looks like them on TV is when that person is in a rap video, on the sports field, in a police van, or threatening to shoot someone.
The total set of these and other narrow representations of blacks on our TV screens have over many decades formed part of the powerful ‘discourses’ which continue to play a central role in the construction of young black identities. Public figures like Dereck Chisora and others do not only perpetuate society’s stereotype of black males as violent and out of control, they also ‘train’ young black males to ‘perform blackness’ or what they think it means to be black. Recent attempts to provide black youths with ‘alternative’ role models from areas as diverse as academia, politics, business, media, theology, and other professions have yet to yield concrete results.
In what looked like a bloody Wild West bar fight, Dereck Chisora was filmed threatening to “shoot” and “physically burn” David Haye. This was after he had been strongly condemned for slapping Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in for their world title match and for reportedly spitting water into Klitschko’s brother’s Wladimir’s face just before the fight.
In recent years, we have come to expect this kind of behaviour in professional boxing but what is particularly disturbing about this recent incident is the allegation that Chisora threatened to “shoot” and “physically burn” Haye.
In his current position as one of Britain’s famous boxers, he is someone who would be seen by some young people as worthy of emulation. Many young lives in Britain are being lost to violent gun and knife crimes, and black communities have been the most affected. Teachers, parents, and many youth organisations continue to fight against a pervasive mindset among some young people that when someone “disses” you, the only way to respond is through violence. It seems that they are fighting a losing battle when the ‘role models’ they hope and expect to be working with them are the ones who appear to be among those perpetuating that mindset.
Dereck Chisora and David Haye’s violent clash outside of the boxing ring does not only damaged the tattered credibility of professional boxing but it can also potentially undermine the work of those who claim that boxing can function as a safe and controlled space in which the youth can express their aggression under strict rules of conduct. If seasoned professional boxers appear to be failing to benefit from the self-discipline we are often told can be achieved through boxing it is hard to see how young people will.Tagged in: boxing, David Haye, Dereck Chisora, racism, role model, Sport, violence, youth
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