What is Racism?
RACISM is the mistreatment of a group of people on the basis of race, colour, religion, national origin, place of origin or ancestry. The term racism may also denote a blind and unreasoning hatred, envy or prejudice.
Racial and ethnic slurs or so-called “jokes” are other examples of obvious racial discrimination.
For all the measures that officials around the globe are trying to initiate in order to curb the malaise of racism, little seems to be working on the ground. Numerous elite athletes, most of them footballers, were subjected to racist chants throughout 2019 before Covid-19 began, leading to a never-ending crisis.
Quite a few of England’s football stars were racially abused in March during their Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Montenegro, when Danny Rose admitted he couldn’t wait for his career to end to escape the constant abuse. Abuse at the club level has been even more rampant.
In October 2019, Bulgarian police arrested six people over racist abuse hurled at England players during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia. England won 6-0 at the Vasil Levski stadium. But the match was stopped twice in the first half as some fans wearing masks taunted coloured English players with Nazi salutes and monkey chants.
Antonio Rudiger was also involved in a racist controversy when Chelsea hosted Spurs in December.
Months after the incident, the case was dropped by the police which then made Rudiger dissapointed. “It’s sad,” Rüdiger said. “I don’t know why they would. Maybe it’s because I voiced about the racism. If you boo me because of that then you are poor people. I am sorry. This is a sign that we have a very big problem. At the end of the day I am alone in this case because I am the one who has to swallow this. With the win it makes me feel a bit like, yes OK, but it makes me feel like it will always be like this. For me, in this case, racism won.”
Manchester United ‘s players were subjected to apparent monkey chants from Manchester City fans during their derby clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Serie A was dogged for weeks by incidents of abuse, with the authorities unable to show any kind of leadership when it came to policing matters.
That is not to forget the incidents involving Raheem Sterling at Chelsea and the banana-throwing Tottenham fan who took exception to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in late 2018.
The story was no different in Italy where even the likes of Romelu Lukaku were not spared.
Kick It Out, the UK’s anti-racism football charity, reported a 43% increase in reported incidents of racism – from 192 to 274 – in the same season. The sharpest rises have been in faith-based discrimination, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, which have climbed by 75% over the course of a year.
Chelsea are one of the Premier League’s leaders when it comes to combatting racism, with their ‘Say No To Anti-Semitism’ campaign having won awards for the work it has done. They remain, however, in a constant battle with their own supporters when it comes to eradicating abuse.
A Blues fan was banned for life from attending Stamford Bridge after being caught on camera using racially abusive language towards Man City star Sterling in December 2018, while four fans were convicted of using racially-aggravated violence against a Parisian man following an incident on the French capital’s Metro system in 2015.
Since stadiums has been closed and fans banned from attending sporting events due to Coronavirus, there hasn’t been much trouble about racism, although Crystal Palace ace man – Zaha was racially abused online by a 12 yrs old kid, who said he was extremely remouseful and apologised for the abuse after being arrested by the police.
Zaha said “Black footballers too ‘scared’ to look at social media due to racist abuse”.
Would the fight against racisim ever be won? Is the question that keeps on coming to mind anytime such incident happens again in a football match.