The racist myth of the ‘physical’ African football team
I love listening to white men, especially old white men, talk about black athletes during major global sporting events. I have been following the kind of language white pundits use during FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games for years, so I am well aware to their fascination with and ridicule of the black body.
I was hardly surprised that someone like British businessman and reality TV star Alan Sugar came up with a bitter and racist tweet about the Senegalese team at the World Cup in Russia.
Sugar’s colonial mindset saw the Senegalese team as people selling sunglasses on beaches, not as world-class players who deserve praise for their success.
Sugar’s statement demonstrates the implicit prejudice that often surfaces in Western media discussions about African players. That Sugar and many of his supporters initially did not see the racism in his tweet and tried to play it down as a “joke” confirms the latent bigotry that haunts football and how media covers it.
But beyond Sugar’s raw racism, there are all kinds of “veiled” racist discourses that dominate the language white commentators use during football matches.
My favourite is their widely normalised assumption that African teams are always the “physical” and never the “tactical” side. When Senegal faced Poland in their first World Cup appearance since 2002 earlier this month, the same assumption was repeated.
After Senegal defeated its Eastern European opponent 2-1, NBC Sport claimed in an online article that Poland had succumbed to Senegal’s “pace and physicality”. Former West Ham Coach Slaven Bilic, now pundit for British ITV, also commented on Senegal’s “pace and power”.
Scarborough: “Overt Racism” Is The Central Driving Principle Of Trump Presidency, Attacking People Who Aren’t White
“It has gone from a seasoning to the beginning of the campaign to literally the central driving principle of his presidency,” he said. “You look at the press conferences he is holding and the statements he is making. The central — the central defining nature of his presidency now has to do with attacking people who are not white. Look at his tweets!”
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Children seized from their parents. 2,500 infants, toddlers, children, spread out. Reports that a 3-year-old actually — 3-month-old I mean, moved to Michigan. A 4-year-old was put on a bus at the border in Mexico/Texas. Driven up on a bus with a government contractor who couldn’t touch them, couldn’t hug them. Some who didn’t even speak Spanish, driven all the way up, 2,000 miles to New York City.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: People don’t know what to do, and they are very — I mean, I really meant more than ever, people who are visibly upset about what is going on, and I totally understand a very good, honest debate about whether or not somebody who works in the white house, you know, should be shouted out of the restaurant or not. The answer is not.
MIKA: But dwelling on it, and the white house press secretary tweeting about it is completely inappropriate, off topic at this point and pales in comparison to what is ailing this nation. People don’t know what to do, so they are doing what they can.
JOE: Shouting people down is not the thing to do, at the same time, keep your head down and worry about parents. If you were a parent — and I had somebody who usually defends trump saying, I’m not sure at this point, how anybody who has children could not look at this and be moved in a personal way and ask, what’s happening to our country? And yet, we’re going to have Jeremy Peters on later today. Jeremy wrote a story that the more Donald Trump is attacked, whether it’s for lying and they admit that he is a liar, whether it’s just overt racism where it has gone from a seasoning to the beginning of the campaign to literally the central driving principle of his presidency. You look at the press conferences he is holding and the statements he is making. The central — the central defining nature of his presidency now has to do with attacking people who are not white. Look at his tweets. Look what happened over the past week. People understand that too, and yet they go, well, I know. That makes me uncomfortable, and they still support him.
U.S. police chiefs oppose Trump move to detain immigrant families
Republican and Democratic U.S. police chiefs and sheriffs on Wednesday urged U.S. congressional leaders to find alternatives to detention of immigrant families because of the risks it poses to children and its huge cost.
In a joint letter, 48 law enforcement heads appealed to lawmakers to consider possibilities other than incarceration, such as allowing families to live in the community and require heads of households to wear ankle bracelets or receive telephone checks while awaiting court or immigration hearings.
Police chiefs from across the geographic and political spectrum voiced apprehension at locking up migrant families at a time when U.S. law enforcement is trying to gain the trust of immigrant communities.
U.S. President Donald Trump issued an order last week to end separation of children from parents, which had occurred because of his administration’s policy of prosecuting all adults caught entering the United States illegally. The police chiefs praised the order.
But the zero tolerance policy remains in place and under the order, which is likely to be challenged in court, families would instead be detained together for the duration of immigration proceedings, which can take months or years.
Family detention centers could radicalize young people, pushing them toward street gangs or hate groups, said Houston police chief Art Acevedo.
“The last thing we need to do is marginalize and disenfranchise young people,” said Acevedo, who emigrated to the United States from Cuba as a child. “You can accomplish the safety aspect and monitoring aspect at a fraction of the cost without having the negative impact on kids.”
Vetting of families would show most do not need to be incarcerated as they pose no threat to the community, the group said.
Confinement would endanger their children’s physical and emotional development, according to the active and retired officials who included the heads of major law enforcement groups such as Montgomery County, Maryland, police chief Tom Manger, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
Taxpayers could save millions of dollars each year through incarceration alternatives, given the average cost of holding a person in family detention is above $300 a day, according to the group.
Past alternatives to immigrant detention were more than 99 percent successful in getting family members to immigration hearings, it said.
“Local governments have been using alternatives to incarceration for a long time,” said Fresno, California, Sheriff Margaret Mims, a Republican who runs a local jail.
Trump’s tax-cut scam will only deepen racism and inequality
The six-month anniversary of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed last week with little fanfare. Despite Republicans’ dishonest spin, most Americans recognize that President Trump’s crowning legislative achievement was a plutocratic heist that will do nothing to help working people. Greedy corporations have used their windfalls to reward chief executives and stockholders, while workers’ wages have actually declined. Barely a third of Americans now support the law.
Yet the racial implications of Trump’s tax scam have been radically underreported and remain poorly understood. While fair tax reform could reduce the impact of structural racism in the economy, the law that Republicans passed in December will make it much worse.
That’s the conclusion of an important new report from economists Darrick Hamilton and Michael Linden of the Roosevelt Institute (where I serve on the board). As the institute has documented, the U.S. economy is shaped by informal rules that create disparities that harm people of color in virtually every part of society. Many of these “hidden rules of race” can be found in the federal tax code.
“Far from addressing, fixing, or improving the hidden rules of the tax code that disadvantage people of color, the new law strengthened some of these rules and even added new ones,” they write. “The sum total effect of the Trump tax law is likely to further increase the economic disparities, particularly with regards to wealth, between white Americans and communities of color.”
Start with the obvious fact that it disproportionately benefits corporations and the rich. This will clearly lead to greater economic inequality in general, but it will also exacerbate the racial wealth gap, because the wealthiest Americans are overwhelmingly white. As the Roosevelt report notes, median net worth among white households is about 1,200 percent larger than it is among their black counterparts. Any tax policy skewed toward the wealthy, then, is also racially skewed against people of color.
Furthermore, while the richest Americans reap the benefits of the law, many workers at the bottom of the income ladder, where people of color are overrepresented, will actually see an overall tax increase over time. That means the law effectively raids black and brown Americans’ paychecks to fatten the investment accounts of the largely white financial elite.
World Cup exposes England not Russia as the country with a racism problem
England fans giving Nazi salutes in Russia’s Volgograd, Lord Alan Sugar posting racist tweets. Just how deep does England’s problem with racism run?
Baseless warnings about racism in Russia
Exposed as baseless during this World Cup has been the anti-Russia propaganda peddled by Western ideologues, particularly in the UK, when it comes to the security and safety of travelling fans.
In the lead up to the tournament the contents of a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report was made public by the BBC. Consider the following paragraph: “Fans from BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) backgrounds and those who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) face additional risks of attack and persecution [in Russia].”
This exercise in scaremongering was undertaken by the usual crew of Russophobic cranks that colonises the UK political and media establishment, undertaken as part of a campaign to undermine the tournament and see it end in failure. In deterring fans from England in travelling to Russia to follow their team it worked, reflected in significantly lower number of tickets being sold in England than were sold for past World Cups in which the country’s national team were involved.
Alas, with the undoubted success of the tournament thus far, grudgingly acknowledged even by strident critics of Russia, England fans that made the mistake of believing this Russophobic guff have missed out and will be kicking themselves – even more so considering the hospitality the England fans who braved the journey have reported receiving in Russia, “praising a particularly warm reception from their hosts.”
‘F*** racism!’ – Sweden players rally behind team-mate’s powerful statement after online threats
SWEDEN’S JIMMY DURMAZ has denounced “unacceptable” messages of racial hatred and even death threats after he gave away the foul that led to Toni Kroos’s late winner for Germany at the World Cup.
Abusive comments on the 29-year-old substitute’s Instagram account poured in after Germany won 2-1 in the 95th minute in Sochi on Saturday.
“I can be criticised for my performance… but there is a line, and that line was crossed yesterday,” Durmaz said in a statement he read out to reporters at the team’s Black Sea coast base in Gelendzhik on Sunday.
“When you threaten me, when you call me a “blatte” (a pejorative word for a dark-skinned foreigner), an ‘Arab devil’, a ‘terrorist’, ‘Taliban’, then you have gone far beyond the limit,” he said.
Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who emigrated from Turkey, said his family and children had also been threatened.
“Who the hell does such things? It is completely unacceptable,” he said.
Earlier in the day, general secretary Hakan Sjostrand confirmed the Swedish FA had reported the abuse to police on behalf of the player.
“A number of complaints have been made with the Swedish FA as the plaintiff so that Jimmy can concentrate on what he is here to do – play football. But Durmaz is fully behind the complaints,” Sjostrand said via a statement.
“We do not tolerate a player being subjected to threats or abuse. It’s uncomfortable and very upsetting to see the treatment that Jimmy Durmaz has had to put up with. Completely unacceptable.”
‘Truth about racism is unacceptable when told by those of a lower class’
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said on Monday that the “truth” about racism in South Africa was seen to be credible only when it was voiced by whites or Indians.
Malema made the comments after a brief appearance at the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court where he has been charged with contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 following his comments at a rally in the area in 2016.
The case was again postponed as lawyers for the commander-in-chief are fighting the constitutionality of the Act. Malema will appear again in February 2019.
Addressing EFF supporters from a mobile stage after his appearance, Malema made reference to comments made by himself and the party that the majority of Indian South Africans were racist.
“They are all screaming [after we said that]. But they are now coming back one by one – sobering up – and confirming exactly what the EFF is saying. Indeed, the majority of Indians are racist.
“Former constitutional court judge [Zak] Yacoob – who is an Indian himself – says 90% of Indians are racist. They never said they are taking him to court. They never threatened to do all types of things against him. When it is said by an Indian, because of racism, it is allowed, it is acceptable.
“Julius Malema comes and repeats after an Indian [and people say] ‘No, you can’t say the things that must be said by Indians only, because you are an African, you are of a lower class, you can’t say that, including Judge Yacoob himself. He comes and says ‘No, Malema did not say it the way I said it’. That’s racism, because when it is said by him it is cool and acceptable, when it is repeated, when an African repeats after him, it’s a problem”.
Malema said this was one of the problems the country was dealing with.
“It is the truth when it is told by a white person. It is the truth when it is told by an Indian person, but if it is told by a person of a lower class, it is unacceptable.”
Rebel Commentary: Would You Hire A Racist?
Rebel is Rebecca Carroll‘s regular column on race and pop culture. You can hear Rebecca talk about these issues with guests on Wednesday mornings on WNYC, or participate in one of Rebel’s monthly conversations in The Greene Space.
This week a white Seattle man, Steven Jay Watts, went on a public tirade, hurling racial slurs at a black man on the street. Last month in Midtown, a safety poster was found at a construction site that showed a black man with a noose around his neck. We’ve seen a steep increase in public displays of racism since President Trump took office, and at least one instance with swift and real consequences, when ABC cancelled Roseanne Barr’s show following her string of racist tweets.
The show’s cancellation marked the first instance of a high profile figure being fired for racism during the #MeToo Movement, when a spate of high-profile figures like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer have been forced out of their jobs for sexual assault. But what about the racist outbursts that occur outside of someone’s workplace? Watts was arrested for harassment and obstruction, but should he be eligible for a job? Would you hire a racist?
That is the question I asked a panel of critics and thought leaders at a live event I hosted this week at the Jerome L. Greene Space as part of the #RebelConvo series. Kara R. Brown, co-host of the podcast Keep It, writer and comedian Ziwe Fumudoh, and author and activist Mona Eltahawy joined me in a conversation to define the parameters of racism, and to try to establish what concrete repercussions might be. It’s important to define racism, because we can’t tear down racism if we can’t agree what it means. Most of us on the panel agreed that racism is the abuse of systemic power by white people to dehumanize people of color. But things start to get complicated when people, mostly white, co-opt the less blunt term “racial” and turn it into a euphemism for racism.
I wanted audiences to reflect on their privilege. Instead I was accused of racism
I am a performance artist and maker of Maori and European descent. Last week, nine performers and I presented a seven day performance ritual, Where We Stand, at the Victorian College of the Arts. This performance was inspired, shaped and is communally owned by the Indigenous, people of colour (PoC)/Blak people in my life. Hearing stories and reflecting on my own experiences, I felt there was something to be said about the Indigenous/PoC/Blak person’s experience of being in institutionalised and colonised spaces, and in fact, our country as a whole.
For Indigenous/PoC/Blak peoples in Australia, racism, discrimination and marginalisation are inherent parts of one’s experience. The people I love often talk about how they are regularly made to feel less than welcome, less than safe, less than respected and generally less than, in most spaces. We speak about the ongoing violence and discrimination faced by our people. We speak about the trauma of not having access to cultural knowledges and language. We worry for the future of our knowledges in a world where the preservation and practice of our cultures is widely deemed “unnecessary”. We feel the inherited trauma of murdered and abused elders and ancestors. We mourn the stealing and destruction of the land we love.
Making Where We Stand, I wanted to ask audiences to reflect on their position in the colonial and eurocentric nation we live in – ask them to consider how they are complicit in the continuation of a system that marginalises, discriminates and oppresses. I wanted to prioritise the experience of people who are usually not considered in eurocentric spaces.
Lhota calls racism on MTA boss who wore blackface at costume party
A high-ranking MTA boss won a 2014 promotion even after his colleagues reported shocking photos of him wearing blackface — and now the agency’s chair is red-faced with outrage.
“Wearing blackface is racist,” MTA chair Joe Lhota said Wednesday, speaking at this month’s board meeting.
Lhota was responding to a Tuesday expose by NBC News on Richard Ranallo, a white MTA official who’d dressed up for a 2013 Halloween party as a black “lawn jockey” — complete with a blue-and-white checked jockey uniform and a railroad-style lantern.
Photos of the offensive costume emerged on Facebook, resulting in several MTA employees complaining to higher-ups, NBC reported.
Still, the following year, Ranallo was promoted to a supervisory position at MTA subsidiary Metro North that paid a reported annual salary of $263,327.
“It was a breakdown all the way,” Lhota said of the communications failure. “That culture needs to change.”
Also speaking at Wednesday’s board meeting, MTA president Catherine Rinaldi said the agency must create an environment where workers feel comfortable reporting attacks and racial incidents.
Some of the whistleblowers interviewed by NBC had complained of alleged workplace retaliation by Ranallo after their complaints were made known.
“We need to make changes across Metro North to encourage people to come forward,” Rinaldi said. “By encouraging people to come forward is the only way we’re going to eradicate racism at Metro North.”
The whistleblowers’ concerns should have sparked an immediate investigation, Lhota told reporters after the meeting.
An investigation will still be launched, he said, “into what happened and what happened internally.”
But despite the MTA honchos’ anger over Ranallo’s costume and promotion — and any alleged whistleblower backlash — Lhota was not optimistic that Rangallo will face any demotion or other repercussions.
Rangallo’s position may be protected under his “existing collective bargaining agreement,” he said.
“We may be precluded from that because of the labor agreement that we have,” he said.