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Racism Soccer

Luis Suarez, Liverpool FC and the Stephen Lawrence Murder

The Luis Suarez incident has raised interesting questions about racism and also about cultural differences.  Suarez referred to his diminutive Manchester United opponent Patrice Evra as a negrito and still can’t understand why his comment was racist.  Everyone in Uruguay talks like that, says Suarez, as though he believes we all do it.

Imagine:

You didn’t fix my car right, you little black man.

Come here, little black man.   I want a haircut.

Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup, little black man.

It’s  outrageous. and it doesn’t matter if Suarez or Liverpool Football Club fail to see that.

Instead of negrito, substitute Paddy.

Oi, Paddy.  This soup is cold.

Pick that up, Paddy.

Pick yourself up from that black eye, you racist prick.

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Pulp Fiction has much to answer for.

 

Jimmie: I don’t need you to tell me how fucking good my coffee is, okay? I’m the one who buys it. I know how good it is. When Bonnie goes shopping she buys SHIT. I buy the gourmet expensive stuff because when I drink it I want to taste it. But you know what’s on my mind right now? It AIN’T the coffee in my kitchen, it’s the dead nigger in my garage.

Jules: Oh, Jimmie, don’t even worry about that…

Jimmie: [interupting] No, No, No, No, let me ask you a question. When you came pulling in here, did you notice a sign out in front of my house that said “Dead Nigger Storage”?

Jules: Jimmie, you know I ain’t seen no…

Jimmie: [cutting him off again; getting angry] Did you notice a sign out in front of my house that said “Dead Nigger Storage”?

Jules: [pause] No. I didn’t.

Jimmie: You know WHY you didn’t see that sign?

Jules: Why?

Jimmie: ‘Cause it ain’t there, ’cause storing dead niggers ain’t my fucking business, that’s why!

 

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Remember how hard we laughed at that bit in Pulp Fiction?  I laughed myself sick, with all those motherfuckers saying nigger the whole time.

nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger .

It was like being a kid and hearing an adult saying cunt.

cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt .

You can say it all day long.  Bad words to annoy the grown-ups.

Oddly enough, there’s a comparision between these words because some people are allowed to use them and some people are not.  Many women I know, for example, are quite happy to call people cunts, and to use this word freely as a token of affection or enmity as the case might be.  Many black men, likewise, have no difficulty calling each other nigger.  Just listen to Samuel L Jackson.

Why?

Well there’s the question.  A word is just a word, a combination of fricatives, plosives, vowels, diphthongs and assorted other noises.  On paper it’s none of the above, just a combination of symbols.  So why would one particular combination of sounds or symbols carry more meaning than any other combination of the same things?

The very word nigger is a variation of negro, meaning black.  And the word negro is  a part of many European languages.  When I was a child, my parents warned us not to call a man black.  He’s a negro, they’d say. Show some respect.

Indeed, in the United States, the word negro was , until relatively recently, the preferred term when referring to a person of African origin.

But of course, nigger means something entirely different, with its overtones of slavery, and oppression.  I suppose we have to accept that some words have fallen outside the ownership of people of goodwill and into the grasp of savages, but yet, we must ask ourselves why words migrate from the benign camp to the evil so readily.

Insane political correctness is certainly one of the vectors, driven by illiterate fools, but it’s not that simple.  For every idiot objecting to White Christmas, there are ten others not so dense and the evolution of euphemism provides a clue.  Americans will wince if a European asks directions to the toilet.  Maybe you want the rest-room, they’ll say, and your mind whirls with possibilities.  The rest room?   Where people are resting?  What about the  bathroom where, presumably, people are having a relaxing soak.  And yet, the word toilet originally meant almost precisely the same thing as bathroom.  It was an attempt to avoid discussion of those distressing bodily functions.

One euphemism replaces another until it means the same as what went before and people have to find a new one, but the underlying thought remains the same.

Only today, we saw two men sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a young boy, Stephen Lawrence,  18 years ago simply because he was black.  These fools derived their murderous certainties from the stupidity of people such as Luis Suarez, who can’t understand that a person’s skin colour is irrelevant.  And that’s why we need to continue prosecuting people for emphasising a person’s skin colour and advocating violence against those of a different ethnic origin.  Some people might think this is a far-fetched comparison, but racism doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  Gary Dobson and David Norris murdered Stephen Lawrence because he was black and for no other reason.  He was a young lad, 18 years old, standing at a bus-stop and he had the misfortune to encounter a racist mob led by Dobson and Norris.  A mob of know-nothing morons whose only role models were the dimwitted Kray and Richardson gangs.

Such stupidity does not exist in isolation from the rest of society and both Dobson and Norris are as much a product of Thatcher’s heartless political policies a decade earlier as they are a product of their idiot parents.  Dobson’s father shouted Shame on you all in court as his murdering son was convicted.

The sense of entitlement is palpable, though perhaps also the sense of betrayal.  After all, Dobson Senior is a member of the savage underclass that Britain sent out, generation after generation, to subdue the natives of foreign lands and steal their wealth.  Is it any wonder he’d consider inferior the descendants of those his country robbed as it amassed its vast riches?

I know that Luis Suarez didn’t encourage anyone to commit violence, and I’m certain that he isn’t an overt racist.  Clearly, Suarez is the sort of man who thinks he has many black friends and feels quite comfortable addressing  them as negrito.  I just wonder how his black friends feel about that.

The chances are that Suarez would be horrified if one of his African friends pointed out the reality of his words, and asked him to stop talking like that.  He’d probably be shocked, as we often are when things are pointed out to us.

Of course, we in Europe don’t live in a society where people are prosecuted for having a thought, or at least, not yet.  Nevertheless when that thought is expressed in a way that might harm someone else, we’re into new territory because then its expression becomes a weapon with the potential to cause damage.  Context is everything though, and we can less and less assume that an article written for Europe makes any sense in the United States as it swings into a phase of paranoia and religious fundamentalism.

Suarez is not an overt racist, but that doesn’t get him off the hook.  He may well come from a culture where casual racism is the norm, but that’s his loss, not our gain.  The onus is on him to educate himself about the new culture he inhabits instead of lecturing people on the appropriate use of the word negrito.

There is no such use.  Suarez should use his ban to reflect on the best way to reflect his host culture, and Liverpool should consider how best to avoid denial in future.

5 replies on “Luis Suarez, Liverpool FC and the Stephen Lawrence Murder”

Suarez calls his team mates Negro meaning in todays parlance I suppose nigga! Apparently acceptable in modern culture between black people. It’s when someone that isn’t in the know is called negrito or negro that it becomes offensive. The problem then is whom do you educate? Those that are calling people nigga, negro, nigger or any form of the word or those that allow themselves to be caled it?

Although in general I agree, I don’t think pulp fiction has anything to answer for. Although I like the odd sci-fi, I also like watching films that are real. Unfortunately there are racists in the world.

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