‘The Invisible Cut’: A look into racism in fencing

Nzingha is a two-time Olympian for Team USA in foil fencing. Prescod was verbally attacked on a Zoom call back in April. She is now leading a diversity task force address racism in USA Fencing. (Emma Trim/Courtesy)

By Leah Vann & Emine Yücel
Medill Reports

This summer, Boris Vaksman, a prominent fencing coach for St. John’s University and New York’s Fencers Club, was fired after he was recorded making racist remarks on a Zoom call.

The comments, which followed the killing of George Floyd and in the wake of a nationally amplified conversation on race, fueled Black fencers to speak out about the racism they have been experiencing for decades in the predominantly white sport.

In “The Invisible Cut,” reporters Emine Yücel and Leah Vann talked to Black fencers from across the country about the racism that plagues their community and the steps they have been taking to create a more inclusive atmosphere in the sport.

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Leah Vann covers sports at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter at @LVann_Sports. Emine Yücel covers social justice at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter at @emineirmakyucel.

Photo at top: Team USA Olympic foil fencer Nzingha Prescod strikes a stance. After being verbally attacked on a Zoom call back in April, she now leads a diversity task force address racism in USA Fencing. (Emma Trim/Courtesy)
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