By now, if you’ve been on your social media pages and are in any way involved in identity politics blogging, you’re aware of how the Twitterverse blew up with anti-South Asian (anti-Asian, anti-Muslim, anti-brown people and otherwise generally bigoted) racism following the crowning of the first desi Miss America on Sunday evening.
If you are a boxing fan and were reading Latino Rebels, you might also have seen this report of anti-African American racism following Floyd Mayweather’s clearly one-sided victory over Canelo Alvarez Saturday night.
Surprisingly, few have yet picked up the story of the ugly sexism that also ran its course through the Twitterverse this weekend. Here’s the back-story: at the Mayweather-Canelo fight on Saturday night, controversial boxing judge CJ Ross scored the fight a 114-114 draw. This despite the fact that both other judges, every boxing reporter, and virtually every fan, scored the fight a shut-out in favour of Mayweather.
Ross’ 114-114 scorecard was so baffling, it induced this immediate ring-side reaction in Mayweather.
CJ Ross is notable for two things. First, she was one of two Nevada State Athletics Commission judges who controversially scored Pacquiao-Bradley last year in favour of Bradley, a decision that flabbergasted all other viewers and even confounded Timothy Bradley himself. But, second, CJ Ross is also one of the sports’ tiny minority of female judges.
It is CJ Ross’ identity as a woman that caused the bafflingly and unapologetic sexism on the Twitterverse over the weekend. Here are a few examples of Tweets that were sent within the hours following the Mayweather-Canelo fight:
Why women should stay in kitchen RT @AngieBoo40: Mayweather = 24 KO
Canelo = 30 KO
Tell me again how mayweather is a better fighter?
— Salvatore Lucania (@KingJaffeJoPHer) September 15, 2013
Cynthia J. Ross scored the Mayweather fight 114-114. How could you possibly say Canelo won 6 rounds? This is why women dont belong in sports – Anonymous tweet (see update below)
A woman judge was the only one that had a draw between mayweather and canelo, maybe that's a sign women shouldn't be doin shit like that.
— Mullato Prince (@Mullatoprince44) September 17, 2013
— Adeeb Majid (@adeeb_majid) September 15, 2013
— MrB (@Lazyfist) September 15, 2013
… and it goes on. And on. And on.
It goes without saying that women are perfectly capable of judging boxing equally to male fans, and certainly better than people who don’t watch the sport. I am a woman and I, too, judged the Mayweather-Canelo fight firmly for Mayweather. CJ Ross isn’t a crappy judge because she’s a woman. She’s a crappy judge because she’s a crappy judge.
What’s the moral of this story? Well, Twitter is a platform from which a whole lot of bigots can be really damned bigoted, and they have a nice soap box from which they can easily express their bigotry. Us identity politics bloggers need to remember that the world is far uglier and more intolerant than we wish it were, and sometimes it is truly disheartening to see how casually this kind of hate can fall out of people’s mouths. Because, as much as we would like to imagine we are approaching a post-racist, post-sexist world, we apparently still have a long, long way to go.
Update (03/15/17): Three years after this post was published, I was contacted by the author of one of the tweets, who wished to apologize for their earlier tweet. “I am deeply sorry to Cynthia J Ross and all women for my sexist comments,” they write. “It was immature of me to make such a bigoted statement, considering all the great things that women have done for the world of sports.”
Reflecting the genuine contrition of this apology, the identity of the tweet author has been removed from this post. I also thank the author of this tweet for reaching out and for taking the time to offer this statement to me.