Chelsea: John Terry's Comments Aren't Racist . . . Oh Come On
John Terry has been accused (not found guilty) of calling Anton Ferdinand, brace yourself, a ‘black ****’. There. I said it. It’s done and thankfully I won’t have to repeat those words. The truth is I usually dislike those who get on their high horses, including the jingoistic writings of the Sun. They seem to blow up at every slightest remark and every possible indication of moral unrighteousness. But I do not dislike them at the moment.
We’ve all been racist in our time. Hey, I hold my hands up. I’m sure you have too. But what sets us apart and allows us to redeem ourselves is the knowledge that we were ignorant, obtuse and utterly prehistoric to make those comments. Sepp Blatter, it seems, believes those comments should be solved by a simple handshake. But it is important to remember the contexts within Terry’s comments were allegedly made. If he is found guilty, it is probable he is not a racist; just a man who has made a racist comment. The heat of the moment, a knee-jerk reaction. So this is not a criticism of Terry as, not to lessen the severity of his comments, but he is probably an idiot more than a racist.
No, this piece is a reply and a broader view on why racism must be stamped out. An indirect reply, if you will. On forums and internet boards alike, there are comments which suggest Terry’s insult is not racist. It’s not bad – after all, Ferdinand is black, right? He’s only saying what’s true right? Wrong. Terry is using it as an insult – and it’s hard to believe that some cannot tell the difference between calling someone black with intended insult and calling someone black as a matter of fact.
So let’s define racism:
1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to other or
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
Therefore, calling someone ‘black’, or brown or Jewish in an insulting or aggressive way is racist because;
A) You are saying there is something wrong with being that colour. Calling someone black to insult them is derogatory because you are finding them or their behaviour to be distasteful simply because of the colour of their skin. The word black itself is not racist; the intent to insult someone by telling them they are is because you are inferring they are ‘bad’ due to their colour.
B) You are insinuating if they were not black, their behaviour would not be distasteful and they would be on par with you. You are saying they are lower than you and their behaviour is bad because of the colour of their skin and you are superior to them because you are not ‘infected’ by their colour – you are not black so you will not share the same unwanted characteristics as them, and therefore you are better than them.
It’s not banter, as some have tried to write it off as. It’s deeper than that. Insinuating someone can’t take their drink is banter. It can be brushed off. You know and they know you are speaking in jest. They are silly, flippant comments used to have a joke with the person who you know that joke would sit well with.
Racism cannot be brushed off. Why? One reason is history. By making judgements on someone because of their skin you are agreeing with Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. Perhaps not directly; but you are justifying his behaviour – you are saying ‘your race/colour means you are inferior to me’ and that, my friends, is not only exactly how Hitler came to such prominence, but how the seeds are sown for races to be eventually be persecuted. The insult ‘black…’ reeks of ‘you are a black man and you are lower than me’. To reiterate, you are inferring that being black is something to be ashamed of; you are insulting them by means of their colour and saying that you do not like them or their behaviour because of their race. Hence, you are being racist.
Shock horror! It’s not an example of how the term ‘politically correct’ has been taken to the extreme. It’s not an example of black or Jewish or Asian people pulling out ‘the race card’ to win any kind of argument or to get someone in trouble. It’s discrimination based on race. And all of what I have just stated is associated with our sport. We have to open our fans’ eyes up to what really constitutes racism. If there are players being racially abused in the year 2011 then serious repercussions must happen, not have the abuse solved by a simple handshake. That alleviates the seriousness of the crime. Our sport is a beautiful and we cannot let something as ignorant as racism taint it. The FA has attacked racism in football brilliantly and we must continue to attack it, in this country and others, until it is fully suppressed or the FA and the majority or humanity’s efforts will be in vain.
And there is more. There is this awful notion that because footballers live lavish lifestyles they should take racial abuse on the chin. That is insulting and ignorant. What, their money rids them of human feeling? Because they have a lot of money they should just accept racism? My God. Did Martin Luther King accept abuse? Yes, the abuse people used to take years ago was more severe but the principle remains.
Martin Luther King, among others, made a stand and that is what every single footballer should do. Football influences people – it can change opinion and make things which are awful seem ok. If Racism is tolerated or ignored in football then it means people in our society can always go to it so they can racially abuse without punishment and that is wrong. Racism has largely been quelled in this country but any reappearing of it must be quashed quickly. Football is intertwined with our society and until we wipe out racism and discrimination completely – which includes racism in sport – our land will never be an entirely harmonious one.
Do you agree with Jack? We'd love to hear your views