WHETHER or not you choose to #standbygayle, the cricketer continues to be a major subject of discussion in and out of social media. In fact, that hashtag began trending on Twitter as his fans showed support for the cricketer despite his epic blunder. I’m sure you’ve even seen the “Don’t blush baby” t-shirt designed in his name. The thing is that there are many divides in the matter: those who feel he was arrogant and sexist; those who feel it was all blown out of proportion; and even those who feel the treatment of the matter to be racist and/or hypocritical.
In fact, many similar stories have been highlighted by outraged Gayle supporters (and other activists) in which famous male personalities (of another race) have committed similar offenses, except that they were not visited with as much harsh criticisms or penalties. In light of this, many are saying that there is hypocrisy and gross racism in the reaction to Gayle’s flirtatious move.
Why was Gayle the one to receive this type of treatment — public apology, fines, embarrassment, and now a proposed world cricket ban? Is it because he is black? Is it because he’s from the Caribbean? Isn’t this a gross overreaction?
These are interesting questions, yet feminists are not letting it go that easily. Caribbean Feminist Amilcar Sanatan debunked all these questions in his post “Letter to Chris Gayle: Do not Apologise” in which he satirically stated that Gayle should not apologise for his actions, because Mel Mclaughlin is a beautiful woman in the male world of sports journalism and she should basically expect this.
Sanatan’s point –- and the point of many other feminists — is that, had Gayle’s chauvinistic hubris not gotten the best of him in a time when the world can easily watch and comment, and overreactions are bound to be made as a result, then he would not have been in this position at all.
We should be accustomed to overreactions by now; social media does that. Information is spread across the world at a second’s notice, giving way to the world of public opinion. As a result, people are desperate to save face and do “what’s right” so as to appease the masses. In this case, the masses are saying: Shame on you, Chris Gayle!
In the words of some people who have been objectively watching on and commenting: He may not have been the first one to do this, but he will be the first one to be publicly whipped for it, because the world is watching — it just so happens, perhaps, that he is black, and that is indeed unfortunate.
The objective groups believe that it’s simply another Steve Harvey situation. Poor Steve was not the first to make such a mistake, yet he was hung out to dry for the world to see, and made to feel a million times smaller because of it. In Chris’s situation, some believe he should have been more aware, and certainly more cautious. In other words, he should have kept it professional, and all the supposed overreactions and racism would have never been meted out to him.
Not that these prejudices don’t exist, and not that he deserves or even asked to be discriminated against as a result of such a miniscule blunder; but that, of course, is another story.
But, then again, perhaps all these sides are thinking and worrying too much. Now that the world knows who he is, maybe that’s exactly what he wanted.
And that is all I have to say on this matter.