1. Is it just me, or have there been a lot of hockey-playing love interests in YA books all of a sudden?
- Awkward by Marnie Bates
- Chain Reaction epilogue by Simone Elkeles
- The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
- Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
- Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
2. Speaking of Bittersweet, on p. 110, a character says, “What kind of hockey team has not one, but three black dudes? No wonder they can’t win,” which just rubbed me the wrong way. I know, it’s not Hudson, the main character*, who says it, but her best friend. And (spoiler?) this team with three black hockey players, among others, does end up winning. A lot. In this sense, it refutes the implication of the original statement. But maybe I’m being too sensitive or humorless here, because it still did not negate the original snarky comment explicitly enough to satisfy me.
I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that black hockey players couldn’t play in the NHL. I’d never heard of Herb Carnegie until this New York Times article last weekend (also very much worth reading), but he was a superb hockey player denied the opportunity to play in the NHL because he was black. And the fact that his skin color was the only reason he couldn’t play in the NHL hurt him deeply.
Not to mention, it’s awfully close from “What kind of hockey team has three black players?” to “What kind of basketball team starts an Asian-American point guard?”**
Race shouldn’t matter, nor should nationality or sexual orientation. After all, if you can play, you can play, right?
(I rarely embed YouTube videos, but since I just did it a couple of sentences ago, why not do it once more?)
* To her credit, Hudson immediately points out how diverse the rest of the team is besides the “three black dudes,” although that’s not the same as defending their ability to play hockey.
** Okay, this argument might have been more effective a month ago, but still.