The Black Eyed Peas famously asked the question in 2003 of “where is the love?” and as we start the new 2019/20 football season that question has never been more poignant than it is at this moment. With racists incidents dominating football headlines every week last season and this campaign beginning in the same manner, the latest story being a social media attack by a group of so-called Manchester United supporters on Paul Pogba after he missed a penalty for United last night, we have to now figure out a way how to put an end to all this hatred, I believe that the powers that be are looking at this from completely the wrong angle.
Racism: Not just a football problem
The problem is racism is being portrayed as a “football issue” when in actual fact racism is an issue within British society and believe me it is alive and still kicking. The media have tried to sweep this under the carpet and to an extent they have achieved this. Racism is no longer thought of as an issue faced by the common man but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth, even though you hear about footballers or pop stars getting racist abuse you never hear about the black man on the street being called a “nigger” or the Muslim girl who is physically attacked and has her hijab (headscarf) ripped off her head. Even the way we talk is racist, how many people say “I’m nipping to the Paki shop”? Is that not racist? People may not mean it in a racist way but the term “Paki shop” is racist. The fact is racism has become indoctrinated into British society and I for one blame the media for this.
The media’s to blame
The way the media covered certain stores within the news is in itself racist, for example, it was only five months ago that we witnessed the horrendous attack on a Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 people dead and many more injured. The gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, was a white Australian who had extreme right-wing views about the immigration policies within New Zealand. However, despite this horrendous act of terrorism it didn’t take long for the newspapers both in New Zealand and here in Britain to start looking for excuses for his actions. Information started coming out about how he had lost his father at the age of five due to cancer and how he had become addicted to video games, even his mental health was called into question, even though this was quite clearly a premeditated attack and had nothing to do with his mental health. My point is this I don’t remember the bombers of both the Manchester and Paris attacks getting such preferential treatment from the media, they were demonised and called words like barbaric and evil and rightly so these were evil men. So why wasn’t Tarrant treated with the same level of disgust by the media and why is he not being called a terrorist but instead a “mad gunman”? It’s not just the stories that the media report on but more so the stories that they don’t report. For example how many people know that innocent men, women and children in Palestine are being attacked and killed daily by the Israeli army for defending Palestinian land, or even that in Rohingya newborn Muslim babies are being thrown into burning fires by the extreme Buddhists, or how about in China where Muslims are being put in concentration camps just like the Second World War? None of this is being reported by the media because it doesn’t fit into the narrative of the media and all of this doesn’t help with the hatred and division within our society today.
Does this have anything to do with football?
Now I know people are thinking what does this have to do with football? Well, football is a mirror of society and whilst it all good having anti-racist campaigns and getting players to wear anti-racism T-shirt’s but we’re still not tackling the problem at the root by challenging these stereotypical images that the media are bombarding us with.
Football is a beautiful game and we as football supporters have a duty to make sure that we don’t let racism back into our game. Maybe it’s time to start singing “I’ll be a Muslim too” again.