A long time ago, I ranted about the mediocre big-mouthed out-spoken irrational buffoon that is the football “manager” Neil Warnock. Football is a marginal topic for me these days and I hardly think it’s worth the effort to write about it, especially when there are far more important things to discuss in the world right now. But this was so horrendous, almost laughably so, that I had to comment.
As most people are aware, the FIFA President Sepp Blatter, head of another overly-influential football governing body; corrupt and parasitic and power-hungry – himself another buffoon but of the bumbling and ignorant type, has outraged everyone with his recent comments on the treatment of black people in football. He originally said “There is no racism, but maybe there is a word or gesture which is not the correct one…The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.”
Yeah, ok Sepp. We should shake hands with our own destroyers. We should look evil in the face, then offer it our hand. We should acknowledge that racism is the most sick and disgusting expression of irrationality in human history – then put it behind us? So much for “zero tolerance.”
Obviously, many in and out of football have come out and had their say. Most people are genuinely moved to speak out against these ludicrous and stupid comments, (and others see it a great chance to jump on the “racism is bad! Look at how good I am!” bandwagon to score brownie points with voters.)
One of these is the aforementioned Neil Warnock, who, if there was an award for ironic foot-in-mouth comment of the year, would get the trophy hands down for 2011: “I think the only way we could get him out of the situation that he is in if every black player in the country, in every country, refused to play in the next international game.”
Right…so the only people who should be moved to action by racism should be…black people? Is that because they are the only ones affected by bigotry? Or do they feel more strongly about it, say, because of the colour of their skin? Why should a white person be any less inclined to boycott matches than a black person? Are we saying to blacks: “hey, did you hear what he called you? That’s terrible that! You should refuse to play.” Racism is, should be, offensive to every self-respecting rational human being, because any racist slur on any person is a slur against all people. In the words of Ayn Rand: “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”
So if you say that all white British people are naturally superior, and I’m British (which I am, and white), this is in fact a racial slur against me, because it asserts that my qualities, my virtues, what is best about me, is not the result of my effort, my work, my honesty, myself – but simply the luck of a genetic pool into which I was born, things I had no control over, the chance of my skin, my accent, my language. No thank you, you can take your racial compliments and throw them on the pyre with your racial epithets.
If I was a professional footballer, and a boycott was planned to force Blatter out of power, I’d be on the strike line as fast as anyone. And if I was playing against a footballer who was proven to be a racist, I wouldn’t shake their hand – no matter if they were white, black, yellow, brown, red or blue – and I’d like to think most footballers would do the same, not just the black ones.