June 04, 2006

Soccer doesn't care about Black People.

A change is gonna come. Eventually.

World Cup 2006. The biggest international sports event. Germany. There's just one problem. If you're not white, stay away from small towns. FIFA can't guarantee your safety.

Soccer games have been marred by taunts of "Nigg__" (that's the six letter version, the unequivocally racist version), jeers, heil hitler signs, spit, peanuts, and monkey noises. Welcome to 2006.

How does FIFA plan on fighting this surge of racism and violence? Anti-racism days and pun-filled say-no-to-racism signs. "Kick racism out of football." Great. At least, there are new regulations (as of two weeks ago) that fine fans for displaying racist banners.

"You just ignore it, because whenever you react, that provokes them to do it more," says Onyewu, 24. "I know it's not the majority, it's a minority of people. ... I can't tell you why it started or why it still exists. I just know it exists in Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain ... you name it."

Sounds familiar.

"For us it's quite clear this is a reflection of underlying tensions that exist in European societies," said Piara Powar, director of the London-based antiracist soccer organization Kick It Out. He said of Eastern Europe: "Poverty, unemployment, is a problem. Indigenous people are looking for easy answers to blame. Often newcomers bear the brunt of the blame."

Sounds familiar.


Blogger J Epstein said...

I'm a white American, and the first soccer player I knew about was Pele. I knew he was great and I knew he was proud and powerful. When I was a teenager I was fortunate to see about an hour of Pele's highlight clips at a soccer camp I attended. I was shocked by his skills and grace - I had never seen the like.

Such talent poses a threat to some ignoramuses. Thanks for the clips and the reminder.


8:23 PM  
Blogger Leave Your Nine At Home said...

Not trying to downplay anything, but the FIFA's warning is mainly about the middle-of-nowhere villages in the former German Democratic Republic where folks not only have a bleak future in terms of jobs and opportunities, but people are also quite simply not used to seeing "other" people, i.e. brownish or black people. Also, a lot of football hooligan groups are somewhat right-leaning, to the extent of clearly belonging to extremist right-wing militant groups that idolize nazi aesthetics and/or ideologies.
As far as I know, only very few of the games take place in the eastern part.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it´s a shame that a few psychotic guys that idealize thoughts from yesterday have the power to cause such a big discussion! i mean of course we still have racism and xenophobia in germany but which country ain`t got this problem? germany is still well known for their nazi crimes and i know that most of the people are willing to show the world that this dark chapter in our history book is over. you could also complain about the fans in italy (showing flags with nazi symbols almost at every match and threatening dark skinned players not to substitute to their team) or dumb players like DiCanio... You can also listen to the comments & noise when a black player gets the ball in spain... fifa gains so much money with this world championship (german taxpayers have to pay for this event!) so they should feel responsible to guarantee the safety of the football tourists...

9:15 AM  
Blogger J Epstein said...

I have some German relatives and they are still very much preoccupied with and ashamed of the crimes of the Hitler era - the "thinking" germans are definitely not the problem. Just like over here (US) - it's the numbskulls that take charge of the hatred.


7:18 AM  
Blogger The Human Resource said...

When Trinidad wins they will teach all these racist ass Europeans.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's somewhat unfair on Europe and Football. Sure there's a bunch of racists around, but you can't assume the actions of some stand for all of us rest.

Coming from the UK, I've seen football do some amazing things, and it has no doubt brought people from all races closer to one another. Black players are a mainstay in European football, while in England the most popular player is Thierry Henry -- a Black player hailing from France.

I'm getting defensive I know, but try to see the enormous positives instead.

6:47 PM  

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