The Reality of Racism

"He was born in Italy. He grew up two hours from Milan in a little town named Concesio, taken in by a white Italian couple when he was 3 years old. Balotelli’s birth parents are immigrants from Ghana, and although he looks like them, he sounds like his provincial neighbors, speaking with the well-known Brescian accent… An old underground cartoon sums up the local attitude. It shows a deep trench at the edge of Northern Italy, with a clear message: Let’s get rid of the Africans."

Whether through oversight or sheer indifference, there’s a tendency in soccer to minimize the significance of racism. Sure, we constantly see headlines outlining the latest incidents, and of course, there are those journalists, fans and players who refuse to let the issue rest, but for every Kevin-Prince Boateng or Mario Balotelli who makes a stand publicly, there are countless other members of the community who unwittingly rationalize bigotry.

"Those fans aren’t representative of the fan-base." 

"Every community has a few idiots."

"You wouldn’t understand, it’s a cultural issue."

While each of those statements may be true, they nevertheless downplay how each incident is indicative of social trends. Are those Ultras who use Nazi-insignia part of a fringe group outnumbered by the perfectly reasonable members of the fan sections? Of course. Does their willingness to show their political allegiances in the terraces hint at changing cultural realities? Definitely.

Unfortunately, most works on the topic of racism in football begin and end in the stadium, and rely on simple assumptions as explanations. The number of Neo-Nazis in the fan group is small. Let’s ban them from the stadium, and we’ll have fixed the problem. But the problem goes beyond the pitch, into the homes of every ethnic minority who deals with the stresses of discrimination on a daily basis. 

Which is why Wright Thompson’s recent piece investigating the root of racism in Italian soccer is so significant. From sitting with Ultras who still revere Mussolini, cringing under a variety of curse words and Nazi chants thrown towards African players, speaking with Africans stranded in Italy pursuing long impossible careers in soccer, discussing the importance of a new Italian cabinet member, an immigrant from Africa, to the role of nascent political parties and unemployment trends, Thompson tells a complicated story, but one that must be read.

The roots of racism are bubbling to the surface; it’s time we acknowledged them. [Posted by Maxi]

  1. shyyridd reblogged this from cooljaycookies
  2. cooljaycookies reblogged this from hussieologist
  3. lovereadingreadingismylife reblogged this from longreads-cf
  4. iordikachu reblogged this from winnerhofer-christof
  5. winnerhofer-christof reblogged this from afootballreport and added:
    If you want to know the worst side of Italy (I mean the worst worst worst), read the article that is linked in this...
  6. longreads-cf reblogged this from afootballreport
  7. jellyfranko reblogged this from afootballreport
  8. mylovesandlikes reblogged this from drtgif
  9. death-knight-dubaku reblogged this from pizza-ranch-zombie
  10. pizza-ranch-zombie reblogged this from chichiwho
  11. chichiwho reblogged this from anindiscriminatecollection
  12. candie-leonhardt reblogged this from thisiseverydayracism
  13. palmtwoclouds reblogged this from ocarinaoftime
  14. janeyydarling reblogged this from tryllvester
  15. sunshineniche reblogged this from kweah
  16. dboogie718 reblogged this from mrsminxalot and added:
    WHITE PPL I DONT CARE WHAT COUNTRY HAVE ISSUES AND FEARS THAT THEY CREATE IN THEIR OWN HEAD BOUT BLACK PPL. ITS HOME...
  17. thatprettyflvcko reblogged this from tryllvester
  18. deathbyspirit reblogged this from awfully-distracted
  19. mrsminxalot reblogged this from tryllvester
  20. demoiselleforseti reblogged this from tryllvester
  21. ocarinaoftime reblogged this from tryllvester
  22. tryllvester reblogged this from awfully-distracted
  23. awfully-distracted reblogged this from thisiseverydayracism
  24. baccababe reblogged this from beardosophy
  25. beardosophy reblogged this from anindiscriminatecollection
  26. katbennet reblogged this from maxinefeliceshaw
blog comments powered by Disqus