The Burden of Over-representation artfully explores three curious racial moments in sport: Jackie Robinson's expletive at a Dodgers spring training game; the transformation of a formality into an event at the end of the 1995 rugby World Cup in South Africa; and a spectral moment at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Grant Farred examines the connotations at play in these moments through the lenses of race, politics, memory, inheritance and conciliation, deploying a surprising cast of figures in Western thought, ranging from Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche to Judith Butler, William Shakespeare, and Jesus-the-Christ. Farred makes connection and creates meaning through the forces at play and the representational burdens of team, country and race.
Farred considers Robinson's profane comments at black Dodgers fans, a post-match exchange of "thank yous" on the rugby pitch between white South African captain François Pienaar and Nelson Mandela, and being "haunted" by the ghost of Derrida on the occasion of the first FIFA World Cup on African soil. In doing so, The Burden of Over-representation provides a passionate, insightful analysis of the social, political, racial, and cultural consequences of conciliation at key sporting events.