As world reflects on D-Day, study pegs Dodgeball as unethical tool of oppression, a ‘serious problem’

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)


Dodgeball, the classic team sports game that nearly every adult who attended elementary school in the United States once played, is allegedly a tool of oppression, according to a trio of allegedly erudite academics from the allegedly cultivated land of Canada.

Affiliated with the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, the trio planned to attend the currently ongoing Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences from June 1 to June 7 to lecture the delicate geniuses present about the alleged evils of dodgeball.

According to Canada’s National post newspaper, they specifically planned to argue “that dodgeball is not only problematic, in the modern sense of displaying hierarchies of privilege based on athletic skill, but that it is outright ‘miseducative.'”

Why? Because it allegedly promotes the five “faces” of oppression, according to lead academic Joy Butler, a professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the University of British Columbia …

These “faces” are “marginalization, powerlessness, and helplessness of those perceived as weaker individuals through the exercise of violence and dominance by those who are considered more powerful,” an abstract (summary) of her presentation reportedly reads.

Her group’s thesis is basically that dodgeball promotes bullying by encouraging the stronger and more agile kids to gang up on those kids who are weak and slow.

As proof of Butler’s thesis, the National Post — which leans heavily to the left — cited a scene from the slapstick comedy “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” in which a fictional dodgeball coach tells a kid, “Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.”

“So, when you’re picking players in gym class, remember to pick the bigger, stronger kids for your team. That way, you can all gang up on the weaker ones.”


To be clear, the film was a comedy

Nevertheless, examples like this were enough to convince Butler and her team that they need to persuade gym teachers to stop letting kids play dodgeball.

“Despite the fact that many physical educators understand their vital role in helping students develop robust, equal, productive relationships and critical awareness, their practices on the ground do not always reflect this agenda,” her abstract reportedly reads. “We suggest that this tension becomes sharply visible in the common practice of allowing students to play dodgeball.”

And of course, all this ties right back to politics, the National Post wrote:

“For teachers trying to foster the virtues of caring and inclusion, on this view, dodgeball is counterproductive. Sport can teach ethical behaviour and give students the chance to practise it and, in this sense, it is important training for citizens in a democracy.”

And apparently, the last thing upcoming “citizens in a democracy” need is training on how to be a tough person like, say, President Donald Trump, whom a record number of Canadians dislike, or, the amazing 11-year-old Oklahoma girl who saved her mom’s life a couple years back by shooting the woman’s ex-boyfriend in the middle of a knife attack.

“This goal is impeded when cruelty, oppression and violence are built into the rules,” the Post’s analysis continued. “Games become more like cruel initiation ceremonies into a brutal world in which might makes right.”

But isn’t that how the real world works? Those who are strong — be it strong of mind or strong of body — excel, whereas those who are weak and prone to attitudes of entitlement and victimhood fail?

In fact, wouldn’t exempting children from dodgeball promote the very “faces” of oppression that Butler’s team oppose? As noted earlier, those “faces” include powerlessness and helplessness, and well, telling a kid that dodgeball is bad for him because he’s allegedly too weak and soft to survive against the bigger kids seems like one hell of a way to PROMOTE powerlessness and helplessness, does it not?


Yet David Burns, a professor of educational studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and contributor to Butler’s project, said in a statement to the Post that the key problem with dodgeball, in his opinion, is that it allegedly encourages bad behavioral patterns.

“Fun for fun’s sake is good, Burns said, but when a teacher is formally telling students rules for a game, fun can also reinforce behavioural patterns, for good or ill,” the Post noted. “The moral problem with dodgeball, he said, is that it encourages students to aggressively single others out for dominance, and to enjoy that exclusion and dominance as a victory.”

“Within a game,that’s largely harmless, but within an educational experience over time, you might be nurturing the wrong thing,” he himself said.

The cops seen in the video below would probably disagree:

Honestly, it seems like Burns and Butler’s theory sells children short. Who says the weaker kids can’t team up themselves and fight back against the tougher kids? Plus, dodgeball is a team sport, and every team invariably contains its fair share of strong and weak kids.

What dodgeball really teaches children, one could argue, is how to work together and use their varied skills to kick some butt. And well, while Canadians may not like that, Americans surely do:



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Vivek Saxena


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