You know, it’s strange, but I’ve never really thought about what it means to have grown up in the time that I have. Being born in the early Eighties I’ve never known a world without, say, computers, mobile phones, or the internet. And having been raised in an ethnically diverse part of London, where white was a bit of a minority in my school, I find it hard to picture a world where colour doesn’t exist.
Racism is a mystery to me.
I live in a world where, on the whole, people live and work happily side-by-side, not caring about skin tone or ethnic background. Granted, there are still those who harbour racist thoughts and feelings, but it’s understood that it’s not acceptable to express them, and that it will, at the very least, be severely frowned upon.
Imagine my horror, therefore, when watching England play a friendly international, at hearing the crowd burst into monkey-chants whenever a black player went anywhere near the ball.
It’s sickening, incomprehensible, and bang out of order. It also saddens me greatly, because it’s not an isolated incident – black players at English clubs have been subjected to racist abuse when playing abroad in Europe for years. What’s worse is that, in this particular instance, the racist abuse was all but condoned, with the Spanish national coach getting away with making a racist comment only weeks previously, and refusing to condemn the abusive supporters. When I think of racism in modern day society, the first place that springs to mind is the deep south in the United States, where the Ku Klux Klan are still rearing their ugly heads – it’s frankly scary to think that such outright bigotry exists just down the road in other European countries.
You’d think that people would have more important things to worry about than the colour of a person’s skin. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case, and I find myself wondering if it will ever cease to be a problem. After all, racism isn’t infectious, it’s not a communicable disease, so why can’t it be stamped out?
We managed to eradicate smallpox – perhaps we should start looking into a vaccine against racism.