USQ Update

USQ Update

BIPOC Town Hall Community Takeaways

This article highlights actions stakeholders across the international community can take based on key takeaways compiled from the BIPOC town halls.

After recent conversations regarding experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the quidditch community, both MLQ and USQ renewed their commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community for all players, volunteers, officials, and staff with a specific focus on anti-racism. On June 23 and June 30, MLQ DEI Lead Strategist Christian Barnes and USQ DEI Coordinator Brandi Cannon hosted town halls for BIPOC stakeholders from USQ and MLQ who have been, and continue to be, affected by the lack of consistent movement on these themes. Between June 30 and July 10, follow-up outreach took place for BIPOC who may not have had a chance to attend. Below we highlight actions stakeholders across the international quidditch community can take based on key takeaways compiled from the town halls. 

Key Takeaways

  1. BIPOC players can and should be recognized for more than just athletic ability. 
    • A hyperfocus on BIPOC’s athletic ability ignores all the other facets of the person, including leadership, personality, and intelligence that these people are already showing in their contributions to their team and the community at large.
  2. BIPOC need to have their voices and experiences acknowledged and valued to foster a welcoming community.
    • From captains and coaches to referees and staff, BIPOC must be supported in situations on and off the pitch and within teams. From microaggressions to blatantly racist actions, the burden cannot always be on BIPOC to address discrimination, educate their peers, and design solutions for these actions and behaviors. More information about subtle forms of racism can be found here in this fact sheet from Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  3. Non-BIPOC need to make a commitment to create spaces for BIPOC voices and concerns and eliminate the thriving of microaggressions in this sport.
    • Within team social settings, practices, travel, and lodging at events, BIPOC members should feel they can speak about their thoughts and concerns in regards to their place on their teams and in the community. Non-BIPOC can and should work to create spaces to hear input from voices in the minority, especially BIPOC. When these spaces are not specifically fostered in ways that are comfortable for these players, it doubles down the burden of experiencing the problem and needing to plan the solution. Acknowledgement needs to be given to power and privilege dynamics that may exist in teams, which are a barrier to BIPOC voices. More information on how this played out in a school setting can be found here in this recent article from Queen's University Canada.
  4. Treatment of people in person and online is not at a place where BIPOC feel comfortable.
    • BIPOC, especially Black people, experience a range of microaggressions to blatant racism in their daily lives. While the quidditch community should be a place where communication has a level of respect and decency, that has not yet proven to be an expected norm. The most egregious acts seem to take place online, from meme pages to threads in social media forums, it’s prevalent in how people speak to and about each other.
  5. Responsibility and acknowledgement of BIPOC issues needs to be shared with non-BIPOC in the community, especially those that hold leadership roles.
    • Participants of the quidditch community cannot lose steam when it comes to planning a solution. This work needs an understanding that indifference perpetuates racist systems, so we all need to be working against internal biases and external barriers consistently. 
      • When you're not sure, ask. Perfection is not expected when tackling these issues, but a consistent drive to improve and evolving ways of thinking is necessary. It is the responsibility of all taking part in the community, and especially in those who take on leadership roles on teams, in conferences, and within the leagues.
    • The quidditch community has had many conversations around specific experiences of BIPOC players, but has never continued a solution-oriented conversation to a level that shows respect for BIPOC at large. 

What’s Next?

  1. As a community: Diversity, equity, and inclusion is not only putting out fires, but planting seeds for the future. Think about everything that we’ve raised above and the way you have interacted with these themes in your quidditch career. Think about whether you will simply support BIPOC, or actively work for a better community. Once you have finished thinking, take action.
    • When working towards a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community, this community needs to look at both retainment and recruitment. We need to build up the current BIPOC in the sport: ask them what cities in which they would feel comfortable attending a regional or national championship. Encourage and invite BIPOC to get involved in leadership roles. Pay attention to what BIPOC experience at tournaments, in practices, and during team outings and try to understand and better their experiences. 
    • As we work towards bettering the experience of BIPOC who exist in the sport now, we must also work on bringing more BIPOC into the sport. We need to tackle barriers that work against future BIPOC members of the community, including but not limited to lack of representation in marketing materials, reliance on higher education for entry, and lack of opportunities to expand into leadership roles.
  2. As a stakeholder of USQ and MLQ: League statements will be coming out in the next two weeks addressing specific actionable items raised in the town hall with next steps. The diversity, equity, and inclusion teams within both leagues will also be coordinating a town hall closer to the end of the summer open to all players. This town hall is being created based on feedback from attendees from the town hall and the quidditch community at large.

“The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'anti-racist.' What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist’.” ― Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist