WHAT IS RACISM? A definition I particularly like comes from Forbes.com contributor Chris Ladd:

''Racism is the belief that race determines certain individual human qualities, and those qualities render some races inherently superior to others.''

RACISM has absolutely no room in sports. By their very definition, sports bring together people of all races, castes, creeds and religion to compete without discrimination.

And international sports bodies are right to insist on a zero-tolerance policy for racists remarks on or off the field.

Yet in zealously pursuing equality, are we hyper sensitizing certain media buzzwords to the detriment of sporting tradition? Are we taking the ''air'' out of flair?

The latest case in point is Pakistan cricket team's captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who in late January was banned for four-games by the International Cricket Council [ICC] for referring to South African all-rounder Andile Pheilukwayo as 'Kale'' [black] during a one-day game in Durban.

The Pakistan Cricket Board [PCB] immediately ordered Ahmed back home from South Africa after the announcement despite the possibility of playing him in the last final T20. match.

Though he had preemptively admitted his guilt and delivered a personal apology to both Phehlukwayo and the South African cricket team, the ICC deemed it necessary to levy an additional sanction to stress that such behavior was unacceptable under the its Anti-Racism code.

His taunt appeared to verbalize his frustration at Pakistan again floundering in South Africa after Phehlukwayo, carted them around the park with great abandon and no great risk.

Things have been no better for Ahmed off the field either, where the voices calling for his head grow with every defeat.

A worked-up Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan bowling great, however pounded the PCB for yielding to Pakistanis who had ''hyped up his comments and created an issue.''

But was he being racist by calling Phehlukwayo ''Kale''? That is harder argument to uphold, After all  the moral brigade of the social media generation, especially in Pakistan, tends to borrow ideas from an entirely alien milieu.

So, while Facebook and Twitter  lit up with outrage over Ahmed's comments, did anyone pause to consider what racism truly means?

The honor and serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Racism in Sports continues. The World Students Society thanks Ipoh-based, author and researcher, S. Mubashir Noor.


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