Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blind Mans Bluff

Its Monday morning and I feel as though I've just done 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and it's a Split Decision followed by a splitting headache.
Saturday morning was meant to be spent in the pool, but a project deadline loomed large and capitalism always beats socialism, especially near month-end.
The big game was up in the afternoon and millions of soccer fans from around the world would be joining me in watching Manchester United take on Liverpool in the FA Cup. Thankfully they wouldn't all be joining me in my lounge. I just don't have enough chip and dip to go around.
Sunday morning breakfast with the boys and that's always a highlight of the week. Put a group of guys together around a table, each with a story to tell, and you're bound to have the script to The Hangover done and dusted right there.

One thing that definitely stood out for me during the course of the weekend was a debate I had with a Liverpool fan.
Now for those who know me, you will know that I'm a die-hard Manchester United fan, and my family will confirm that before I could say the words 'Mom' or 'Dad', I was singing 'Glory Glory Man United!' Liverpool had beaten us 2-1 on Saturday, and I was amongst the first to congratulate them on a game well played. I took exception to the booing of Patrice Evra by Liverpool fans, and I made mention of this.
For those who don't know, Patrice was the victim of racism by a Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez, last year. As you can read, he was found guilty by an independent FA commission of racism, and was fined and banned for 8 games.
The facts were simple. The judgement precise.

The reaction of Liverpool fans on Saturday was mind-boggling, especially from those who claim to have been exposed to racism in South Africa. The farcical claim that Suarez called Evra a 'Negro' as a term of endearment is ludicrous. The fact that Suarez uses this term loosely in his native Spain is no reason to accept its use anywhere else, least of all on the sporting field.
Saudi men expect their women not to drive. Can a Saudi man reasonably expect the same from a woman in South Africa or any other part of the world? Respect the laws of the country you're in, and don't hide under the veil of custom. To you my friend, I say 'Bullshit!'

Heres where it got interesting though. During the course of the debate on racism, suddenly I was accused of being a sore-loser. Ironically after I had congratulated Liverpool on a game well played!
Was this a feeble attempt to blur the issues? The point I was making was that I didn't agree with the crowd booing Evra, who was the VICTIM of racism. Read, VICTIM. The response I got was that racism doesn't choose just 1 person as victim. This fan would agree to my view if only the fans booed every black player from United.
Huh?
Racism is only racism if it is collective? There is no singular racism?
And you claim to have grown up in South Africa and been a victim of racism? I call you a liar, my friend.
I would hazard a guess and say that your exposure to racism in its truest form has probably been no more than not being able to buy your Black 'Slipknot' T-Shirt because it was out of stock.

I'm passionate about a lot of things, and this comes through in my words and my actions I'm never dazzled by bullshit and feeble attempts at discourse and debate. If you can't raise your argument against me, dare I say you're treading some murky waters.
Part of the reasons why I'm so passionate about THIS topic is because I HAVE been kicked off the bus, I HAVE been escorted out of buildings and venues, I HAVE been sidelined during sporting events, and yes I HAVE been victimized and harassed by the police, all for being the wrong color.
So when you say that you saw no racism on the day, and barely 10 minutes later one of your fellow fans gets caught on camera pulling a racist stunt and consequently charged, facing a lifetime ban from the stadium, I have to ask myself whether the sentiments you share regarding the race issue are partly the reason why eradicating racism in sport seems to be failing.

I'll reiterate one last time for those who may miss the point totally, being blinded by unwavering support of their team : The issue I'm raising is one of race. Screaming sore-loser is evading the topic.