Soccer And Global Racism

The Caribbean Is One Nation.

                                      Soccer And Global Racism

                                 By Pachamama

The World Cup is just around the corner and as Brazil prepares for this signal event of soccer, Brazilian players, of distinctively African origins, continue to face the leading edge of racism in all of Europe. In fact, all Black or African soccer players have been facing, increasingly, incidences of overt racism in the seat of the White race. When we say racism we mean the system as scientifically defined. We are not particularly concerned about personal likes or dislikes, we are here defining racism as the recent and historic power of White people to enforce social, legal, economic; cultural systems; which are anathema to the interest of peoples of colour. It is a system, or a set of systems which attaches more value to White people based entirely on the colour of their skin. This is the vast phenomena that we are interrogating, in broad terms and as it relates to soccer. We shall use Dani Alves as a case but there are tens of thousands with similar import.

This galloping rise of racism in Europe is associated with the rise of antisemitism, Islamophobia, ultra-rightism, and White nationalism. It comes at a time when the economic circumstances are getting worse for large numbers of White people. Black people are more used to these deprivations which Whites are now starting to feel, in greater numbers, for the first time in many years. It continues to appear as though White people in much of Europe see hopelessness as the order of the day. It comes out of the long pretense that we were moving towards a colourless world. A world where race is to be of little importance. A time when Blacks have made some progress but where the majority of peoples of colour, throughout, the world are still largely dispossessed. It seems that White people, generally, could always find a resort to racism as the answer to changing circumstances. The Black soccer players are monkeys who are eating their lunch, or the lunch of a not so good great White hope. So they are calling for White supremacy today, White supremacy tomorrow, White supremacy forever!

But Brazil is essentially a Black country and its internal institutional racism is no less pervasive. So while we defend soccer players in Europe from racism we are minded that the global character of this phenomena remains as present as ever or can be called upon at short or little notice as a potent weapon in the quiver of the international Whitey. So this weekend we could have Barcelona's Brazilian  wing-back, Dani Alves, joining the long list of players to whom bananas were thrown. This event is so normalized that Alves took the fruit and had a bite in his feeble attempt to respond. This is just an example. Of course, we can talk about the racist chants, fears of Black players going to some venues, the missiles thrown at Black players. There is also evidence of disparities in rewards systems between White players and Black players, and so on. However, Alves represents Barcelona. Barcelona is from the Basque region of Spain - Catalonia. The Basque have long sought separation from Spain. But it was Spain which was occupied by the Moors for several centuries. The Moors have indeed left their presence on the landscape of the Iberian Peninsula. So we here argue that institutional racism is culturally bound, has entered the DNA of White people, has been imbued by Blacks and maybe impossible to excise from the body politic. Some will however seek conform in the delusion that racism does nor exist or that it must be Blacks' fault, the victims that are to be blamed, or that there is such a misnomer as 'reverse racism'.

There are also some parallels between global soccer and global slavery. Of course, the wages bill is far higher. It provides an avenue for Black players from South countries to make a good living, has transformed world soccer by bringing together some of the best players in the world to play in the professional leagues. But all these contributions to White 'civilizations', as it is, can never remove the 500 years old mindset of White people that Black people are inferior to them. It matters not that Africans are their mothers of all people on earth. It matters not that there is now certain knowledge that Africans peoples gave Europe everything it now has of value. It matters not, regardless of the persuasiveness of arguments we may make. Racism is here to stay.  

We are here making a critique of Europe but the Unites States is no better. In recent weeks we have had a White illegal farmer posturing that Blacks would be better off in chattel slavery. Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, who makes his money from his ownership of Black basketball players making the most racist of comments. Comments that show the crypto-racism which is deeply engrained in the American society. It is a racism that is highly scientific. It has become so effective that people like Magic Johnson, regardless of their notoriety, are not to be in an instagram with a woman. A woman who appears white but has a mixed parentage. This is the argument from the demented mind of a White popular cultural stakeholder.

We have cited the case of Dani Alves but racism in European soccer is so unremitting that the players' association and FIFA had some time ago started a marketing campaign to 'say no to racism'. That campaign continues but racists have determined that there shall be no retreat, no compromise. But the game will go on, it must. Too much money is at stake. The industrial exploitation of Black soccer players and other peoples of colour is essential to this here plantation model. FIFA, as chief overseer, runs a world of its own. It is a world where FIFA rules do not represent treaties obligations but are however outside the preview of national courts.

The anatomy of racism in soccer extends to the Russian Federation. This is by no means a Western European reality, alone. Even in the wider Russian society there has been a rise in membership of skin-head gangs. We could die on the Streets of Moscow or St. Petersburg for being Black. So even 80 years of communism, with all its faults, could not keep racism at bay, though through all their songs and marketing was predicated on the universality of mankind and Russia is not generally known for having involvement in the slave trade, though there were other atrocities to peoples of colour and indigenous peoples committed by these White people. Readers should see the statements of professional players at Russian clubs or make a study of the relatively fewer Black players in Russia as compared to Western Europe.

The flags raised, the anthems sung, the heart tugging rhythms, the music, the emotional outburst of the crazy Brazilians soccer 'fans', the energies from the Colosseum, the gladiatorial fights to death, the euphoria directed to Brazilian cities, the national prestige gained, the stadia renewed, the cup won, the money made or lost. After all of this, and more, of the World Cup Soccer 2014, racism will continue to be the constant companion of Black soccer players in Europe and African peoples everywhere.

Pachamama  is a social commentator     


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