EP 81 - Racism On The Court w/ Jasmine Orsted
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Guest: Jasmine Orsted
Linked in: @jasmineorsted
My name is Jasmine, but I go by Jazz! I played basketball at Northern Virginia Community College, where I set 11 school records on the basketball court and was on the President's List and Dean's List academically. I researched schools/teams to attend after NOVA, and I decided upon the University of Mary Washington (I decided to attend here because I had compared my statistics to all the players returning some of which only scored 2 points the entire season prior, the school was close to my parent's house, and because I knew I could do well at a Division 3 school). However, from the first day of preseason the girls on the team stated that "They didn't come from highschools in the ghetto, and therefor were not used to having more than 1 or 2 black girls on the team and that was the way they liked it". The girls continued to make negative racial comments and tried to make me pay for alcohol, despite me being underage. I refused to take part in either. This resulted in the coach calling me in two weeks before tryouts (after enduring a grueling 2 months of racial "jokes") and told me that due to the girls on the team saying I did not have the right chemistry (although they said I was a good person) to be on the team, she would not be letting me tryout. I told her maybe my lack in "chemistry" was due to my refusal to take part in racial jokes and underage drinking. She told me that even if the girls were "right, wrong , good, bad, or otherwise", I would not be allowed to try out. She also said that she did not believe anything I said about things the girls said because she had a "variety of players over the years" ( I ended up uncovering that she had only allowed 2 black players in 14 years, which she said was a variety). Although my family tried our best to meet with school officials and find some sort of resolution so I could try out, our calls for help fell on deaf ears. However, I did not give up on my dream of playing basketball. The next year I walked on to Bowie State (a high level Division 2), made the team, got in the starting line-up, got a 4.0, AND received a scholarship! We also won our lawsuit against the school and made part of the settlement agreement about recruiting more minorities which resulted in 7 black players in 3 years, when it previously took the school 14 years to have two. I am now hoping to grow a platform so I can speak to youth and athletes so they know that they too can overcome any obstacles that come their way.