June 17, 2003

"Racism is not freedom.": Over at the mothership, i_cola breaks down the history of racism in European football leagues.

When our heroine was called a "Paki" in Bend it Like Beckham, I assumed it was an outrage and an aberration, and the filmmakers clearly expected the audience to react that way as well. I assume that racism exists in South American and African football leagues as well, and it appears that it's being addressed, at least in Ireland, Slovakia [or guardian.co.uk], London, Hungary, Rome, and Brazil. Football Unites, Racism divides is a website designed to create a forum for some of these issues.

posted by djacobs to football at 11:42 AM - 11 comments

i_cola is my new hero, sorry wc2002. ;-) That was one doozie of a thread over at MeFi. It spawned a hilarious/pathetic MetaTalk thread too which Matt has sadly deleted. It was quite funny watching people who don't have the faintest idea about football culture in Britain arguing the toss over free speech with no knowledge of the context. Paki is an offensive word in this country and while I'm usually in favour of protecting freedom, protecting the freedom to abuse others is not in the spirit of the concept IMHO. Don't think we aren't trying to address the issue of racism in football here in Britain too. The FA has a long-standing campaign to Show Racism the Red Card.

posted by squealy at 01:57 PM on June 17, 2003

Oh btw djacobs, you shoulda posted this to Soccer. No doubt the Pantheon will soon be along to bloody your nose. ;-)

posted by squealy at 01:59 PM on June 17, 2003

I'm going to be sick...

posted by StarFucker at 02:12 PM on June 17, 2003

Who's this "we" kimasabe? When was the last time people chanting "Gyppo"at those with a swarthy appearance were ejected or even warned? The FA might have a policy but it is empty and meaningless, as the recent behaviour of our countrys supporters shows. No ever gets kicked out for shouting racist abuse and it does get shouted, a lot. The stewards have neither the heart nor the will to do anyhing about it, and neither do the majority of the fans. Football grounds in Britain (not England) are sanctuaries for all manner of anti social morons, and the likes of you and me and the authorities tolerate it, so tacitly approve, at least in the eyes of the lumpen tendency. I can't be arsed to search for the transcript of Beckhams anti racism broadcast, but as I recall, he was more concerned that the poor behaviour would lead to England getting banned from tournaments, rather than expressing a hatred of racism per se. In 2001, attendance by black or Asian British at football was 0.8 per cent of the total, which was a massive improvement on the 0.7% of 1977. It hardly repersents progress or a desire to broaden the base to reflect local populations does it?

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:50 PM on June 17, 2003

Who cares?! Let them do what they want...good lord! We are ALL racists! You can pretend and deny all you want!

posted by StarFucker at 03:03 PM on June 17, 2003

It hardly repersents progress or a desire to broaden the base to reflect local populations does it? Did I say that it did? I merely mentioned the Show Racism the Red Card campaign because the original link was about British football and it wasn't mentioned. It could have given the impression that no effort was being made in this country, which isn't true. I agree with what you're saying though, enough effort isn't made, but then I have no idea how effective other countries campaigns are either. The Slovakian campaign mentioned doesn't seem to have been very effective though given the amount of abuse our black players got over there. I must say I've not seen much racial abuse at the Blues, but the very rare occasions I have seen it it's always been a gang of huge evil-looking bastards. Forgive me my cowardice, and I know my looks aren't much to protect, but I'd rather leave the ground with all my teeth in the place they were when I entered. Lest we forget, football grounds may be "sanctuaries for all manner of anti-social morons" but those morons are made by our society and not by football.

posted by squealy at 03:07 PM on June 17, 2003

My dear old thing, much of what you say is right, I just have no faith in the FA to do anything other than pay lip service to any problem. Remember when it said our fans got involved in violence in Slovakia (was it Slovakia?) because they were outraged by the racism of the locals? Do me a chuffin favour! The FA are self seeking bureaucrats, and care about racism only to the extent it harms the game. I have seen hardly any abuse at the Blues, the gyppo chant is a regular though and individuals will think nothing of abusing a players nationality, if not his race. Likewise I would not intervene, but then I don't see why I should, it's a stewarding and policing issue. Brum is a very tolerant place anyway, the situation is much worse elsewhere, particularly lower in the league. The morons may be made by society, not football, but it is only at the football they feel free to behave in such an openly anti social way. Not just in terms of racism, but generally. Behaviour which just wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else is accepted at football. I cringe when I see reports of well behaved England fans who enjoy themselves rather than fight, invariably accompanied by pictures of large groups of white males baring their torsos and singing I would rather be a paki than a turk, or somesuch, in some foreign square. Football fans are praised for acting in a way that would be found unacceptable, or exteremely distasteful, in any other context, which is why the point is germane to football.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:09 PM on June 17, 2003

Starfucker, speak for yourself. I am not a racist, and I do care. Do not try and excuse your own ignorance by tarring everyone else with it.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:11 PM on June 17, 2003

Buddha, thats great that you think so...

posted by StarFucker at 05:24 PM on June 17, 2003

squealy said: i_cola is my new hero, sorry wc2002. ;-) squealy, I have no idea why a well-thought-out, coherent argument with copious supporting material would make i_cola your new hero. You brummy bog bandit! Arrrrrrrrr!

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:14 PM on June 17, 2003

I missed StarFucker's "contribution" when I posted, but what FB said. I don't remember the FA saying that our fans got involved in violence because of the racism of the Slovakians but it does seem fairly ludicrous. Having said that, I haven't followed England abroad and have no intention of doing so. My opinion of the FA is, I'd suspect, no higher than yours. Stewarding needs to be tightened and the police need to actually attempt to enforce the laws in place forbidding racial abuse (which is of course the original subject of this thread, but a rare case of actual action AFAIK). I'd really like to see what other countries are actually doing to adress this, rather than propaganda that appears to have little effect. Racism has no place in football. I just don't know what the hell I'm supposed to do about it.

posted by squealy at 06:14 PM on June 17, 2003

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