Raptors' Multicultural Canada, Antidote to Trump's US

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 6/16/2019 04:35:00 PM
The chances of a Sikh gent being the face of Trumpmerica: 0.00%. For multicultural Canada, it's already reality.
The white supremacist sympathies of Donald Trump have put paid to the idea that diversity is inevitable in the United States, as have any number of actions his administration or party are pushing: asking citizenship status in the census (which is a population and not a white person count); strategizing electoral victory through disenfranchisement of minorities, reducing all forms of legal and illegal immigration---you name it. For a country whose birthrate is below replacement, the inevitable consequence of continued Trumpism would be depopulation. "But hey! We may be depopulating, but we're a depopulating majority white country," rabid Trump fans would say.

As those who've watched the recent NBA Finals have seen, though, the Canadians have other ideas. Not only has the entire city of Toronto become a strong supporter of the multicultural Raptors, but the entire country. In other words, they are not quite Trump-like America (i.e., white people) firsters. The rainbow team is a microcosm of where Canada is headed, and the Canadians are not as disdainful of this general direction:
The team itself is celebrated for its own diversity, starting at the top with Masai Ujiri, the team’s widely respected president from Nigeria. There is player Pascal Siakam of Cameroon or Serge Ibaka, born in the Republic of Congo. And one might argue that as the lone NBA team from Canada, the vast majority of the players come from somewhere else – specifically south of the border – like Raptors star players Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles) and Kyle Lowry (Philadelphia).

Yet it’s the team’s fanbase, outside or inside the Scotiabank Arena, that illustrates the diversity of Toronto, where 51.5 percent of residents identified as a “visible minority” in the latest census – women like Claudette Gardiner, born in Jamaica, who is at the playoff game with her Canadian-born daughter Micaela Evans and who talks about the team’s plucky rise in Toronto.
The rise of basketball as a sport in a country dominated by ice hockey deserves mention as a reflection of demographic trends:
Marvin Ryder, who analyzes sports marketing as a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, expects the basketball buzz to grow, at least in urban centers. Canada’s newcomers gravitate to basketball and soccer, which are more accessible than ice hockey. This season the Raptors have given Canada a chance at a badly desired championship. As television crews pan the arena, he says, it shows the pulsing metropolis that is today Toronto and that many outsiders (specifically Americans, he says) haven’t understood. “It is a great way to showcase that Toronto is truly a city of the 21st century,” Professor Ryder says.
Importantly, maybe there is hope even for Trump's America. It was not always this way as even now famous Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia was no stranger to racism when he first arrived in Toronto:
It was not always that way, as Mr. Bhatia can attest. When he first arrived, as a trained mechanical engineer, he couldn't get a job in his field. Instead, he worked as a car salesman. He says at that time he was called far worse than a cab driver. “I never get upset; I do something positive to take away the negativity,” he says. For him that meant inviting underprivileged kids from all different religious and racial backgrounds to games, something he could afford as his own career grew from salesman to manager to successful car dealership owner today. “That is why today you will see here my community,” he says. “I use the game of basketball to bring the world together.”
Perhaps even Trump's America can change if Canadians have even if the latter are generally regarded worldwide as the more civilized North Americans.

UPDATE: See Kareem Abdul-Jabbar expounding on a similar theme in a new Guardian op-ed.