In 2008 Mike Griffin posted about Chess and Bigotry.
He thought it might be a good time to repost it:
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Chess and Bigotry
Many very bright and seemingly reasonable people may be called "complex" because they are prejudiced against a given group of people. Many times ethnocentrism is heralded as a good thing by some "defending the culture", as in the case of legislating English in lieu of Spanish. By 2050 the US will be 29% Latino having 82% of the increase in population growth from immigrants and their descendants. Will the US approach this situation like France, Canada, or find another approach? Any situation of them vs us, especially when a stressed majority perceives a threat, can turn out to have very dangerous results. Nefarious leaders play on these fears fostering outrage in order to grow their own power. Ironically the prosecution or bondage of a minority in turn enslaves the oppressing majority because of the side effects: sanctions that stifle liberty of some eventually smother the liberties of everyone. That is why we have a Bill of Rights that protects everyone, especially minorities. Today in Tibet the Dali Lama is trying to navigate a non violent, different path of co-acceptance.
In 2005 Boris Spassky, my chess hero,signed an anti semitic petition in Russia trying to restrict Jewish people in participating in Russian politics. Spassky has also made some pretty bad remarks about Jewish people, too awful to repeat here. I can't comprehend how anyone who plays chess can have any type of prejudice if they take a good look at who plays and who is gifted at chess.
David Bronstein, another chess hero of mine, had taken on the whole Soviet chess establishment that was biased against Jewish players in the 1950's. Opportunity denied by prejudice reduces the potential of all.
On any given tournament at the BCF you will see an amazing field of players of various race, religion, ethnicity, age, political background, and occupation. And any chess player who can state that any of the above mentioned characteristics can predict who is a better chess player, or better human being, is just plain wrong.
For example at today's tournament all of the following players could arrive:
Lawyer Times, Gabe Frieden,Natasha Christiansen, Charlie Mays, Jesse Nicholas, Lior Rozhansky, Melvin Zhang, John Pina,
Eric Godin, Michelle Chen, Dave Glickman, Alan Price,
George Mirijanian, Satyajit Gupta, Ken Ho,
Chris Chase and Satea Husari, Bernardo Iglesias, Yogesh Raghunthan, Ed Foye, Scott Didham,
Mikhail Derazhne, Tony Scali and Rachel Dillon, Dave Vigorito and Greg Kaden, Kent Leung, Tony Cortizas, Stuart Finney, Katherine Gasser, Alexander Ivanov, Ruben Portugues, Griffin Price, Mike Griffin, Bob Oresick, Vikas Shiva, not to mention the powerhouse Lung and Wang families.
Looks like a good time having a terrific amount of talent heaped with intelligence.
Boris you blew this one(???).
Is there any way US chess should prepare for the future change in demographics?
Do you have any stories or comments about bigotry in chess?
Mike Griffin 04/08/2008
Pew Hispanic Center