Researchers: Dodgeball Is an ‘Unethical Tool of Oppression’

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

A group of Canadian education experts, is prepared to present research showing that dodgeball should be banned from schools because it is “oppressive” and “miseducative.”

The three education theorists are set to deliver the results of their research at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver, Canada.

The researchers claim that “dodgeball isn’t just an unethical tool, it’s a form of oppression,” according to the National Post.

The “experts” insist that dodgeball is not just problematic to aid children to become gentle citizens of a democracy; it is detrimental to their growth both mentally and emotionally. It is even a “tool of oppression.

“As we consider the potential of physical education to empower students by engaging them in critical and democratic practices, we conclude that the hidden curriculum offered by dodgeball is antithetical to this project, even when it reflects the choices of the strongest and most agile students,” professor Joy Butler says in the extract for the paper.

The professors accuse the venerable game of being “miseducative” because it inculcates the “five faces of oppression” as identified by social theorist Iris Marion Young.

Prof. Butler insists that dodgeball enforces “marginalization, powerlessness, and helplessness of those perceived as weaker individuals through the exercise of violence and dominance by those who are considered more powerful.”

“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,” the extract continued. “We suggest that this tension becomes sharply visible in the common practice of allowing students to play dodgeball.”

In other words, dodgeball promotes clear winners and losers and is centered on a reliance on strength and cunning, so it does not foster the sort of meekness “educators” want to cultivate in the “good citizens” they want to churn out of schools.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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