By Kenzie Kesselring
If you’ve ever been to a sporting event, then you know about the kiss cam—that portion of half time that is spent scanning the crowd for people appearing to be in a relationship and then holding the camera on them until they kiss on screen in front of the whole stadium.
Attention has been called to the demographics highlighted on the kiss cameras recently when the Atlanta Hawks co-owner, Bruce Levenson, sent an email in which he mentioned that the demographics of the kiss cam at the team’s most recent game were “too black.”
This didn’t sit well with people who caught wind of the inappropriate and unnecessary comment.
Levenson’s comment is proof enough that kiss cam is racist. Who cares if the kiss cam at that particular game highlighted multiple African American couples kissing? Why should it matter?
Levenson’s racist comment prompted CNN opinions writer, John Sutter, to ask Wade Davis his thoughts on the kiss cam. Davis, a former homosexual NFL player, said the kiss cam is “hegemonic masculinity and sexism at its finest.”
Davis’ statement about the kiss cam was very much spot on. When the kiss cam shows couples, it usually ends in the man forcibly kissing the woman to please the crowd, even if it looks like the woman does not want to.
It is no secret that the kiss cam rarely shows a homosexual couple kissing in a non-mocking way. There is no reason for homosexual couples to be overlooked on the kiss cam because they are no different from any other couple in the stadium.
Our society has come so far to overcome racism and sexism, and the LBGT community has been making huge strides to overcome the discrimination they face. So why does the kiss camera at American sporting event not reflect that?
The kiss cam holds an iconic place in the history of American sporting events. If it wants to stay around, it needs to adapt to the times and reflect the demographics of all people who watch it.
My advice to the operators of the kiss cam at sporting events is to start showing couples of all races and all sexualities. Start showing couples that you know are going to share a mutually enjoyed kiss and let’s get some diversity into these kiss cameras.