The New York Times had an article about rapper M.I.A., a Brit with Sri Lankan — and, more pertinently, Tamil — origins. Her generally supportive statements of the Tamil Tigers have ruffled more than a few feathers on the island, especially given her outsized profile in the West (say what you want about Muralitharan, but no American knows him).
At the article’s end, though, one person notes that music and sports both have the ability to bring diverse people together:
Despite those tensions, which played out largely on the Internet and abroad, musicians in Sri Lanka say the music scene has remained ethnically diverse, with members of the country’s numerous ethnic groups and religions often forming bands together.
“There’s a lot of mixing and matching going on,” said Rienzie Pereira, a guitar player. “It’s basically like sports. No matter what ethnic group you are from, people can play cricket together.”
Until the IPL, however, this conclusion wasn’t completely apparent. Most international cricket teams are shockingly not diverse: only India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and, occasionally, England, can claim to offer teams with any variety of identity. Still, Muralitharan and Mendis, both Tamils, have a very loyal following in Sri Lanka, no doubt much more than anything M.I.A. will achieve there.
Interesting topic! As a kid and in a RSS influenced household, I found it interesting that the captain of the Indian cricket team was a muslim. Also at the point, the captain of the Indian hockey team was a Sikh and the football team had a christian at its helms.
Occasionally England? In the last year they’ve played two South African born, one Papau New Guinean, some Welsh, some Australians, a Dane, all classes of English, and Monty!
Wait, wait: who’s the Welshman? (I only know of Simon Jones). And who’s the Australian? Or even the Papua New Guinean?
You are correct, of course: color isn’t the only defining identity line. There’s class and religion to consider as well. I honestly don’t know much about that, though.
In India, at least, I know that many of the players do not come from privileged backgrounds, with some rising from decidedly lower-class status. There are others — Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, I think — who all came from relatively strong, middle-class settings.
[…] readers will know I generally support measures designed to increase team diversity. Opponents argue that merit takes a back seat when other considerations, like race, come into play, […]