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On She Wore’s “Stop getting easily offended at the football”

 

By Sifarzone

It pains me to write an article positing an opinion opposite to She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Although I cannot remember the specific authors, my impression of She Wore is that the articles are generally well written, well-meaning and mostly pro-Arsenal.

However, the recent publication of the article “Stop getting easily offended at the football” has shown that although my overall impression of She Wore may not be wrong, this article in particular seemed out of place. In the article, the author summarizes what he/she deems to be wrong with the “PC brigade” and how it is ruining the football. To make sure that I am presenting a fair assessment of the author’s arguments, I would implore the reader to take time to read the article, provided in this link (https://shewore.com/2017/09/22/stop-getting-easily-offended-at-the-football/). This is to hold myself accountable if I were to take the author out of context and misrepresent what was said in the article.

Below are a few thoughts I had while I read the article

  1. Some words are loaded because of historical and cultural context

In the “Chants” section of the She Wore article, covering about the first one-third, the author goes over how the PC brigade is taking too much offence over the words “Yiddo” and “Yids” in some football chants. The author further points out that the words do not mean Jewish people.

While I understand the overall point of the author, I would like point out that some words, because of their historical context, cannot be easily thrown around without being hurtful to certain groups of people.

Now imagine you are indeed a Jewish child and heard those chants, what are you to think of it? Even if those chants are not directed towards you, one of your thoughts might be, ‘why mention my race in the same verse you mention ‘Scum’? Am I scum?’

Remember that even though the child might not be the target audience, the manner in which chants are distributed while in the stadium will not ensure that people outside the target audience will be oblivious to it. Also remember frequently that it is not the intention that matters, but the perception that matters.

Furthermore, the author confirms that there are chants that indeed are about gas chambers and anti-semitic. So imagine the scenario of the poor Jewish child again and after hearing the “Yiddo” chant hears the gas chamber chant, what kind of message will that send to the child? It is easy to assume they are similar in nature and derogatory. While I am not saying the chants are necessarily detrimental, there is certainly a case to be made for caution or at the very least food for thought.

  1. Tradition is neutral

 “Sadly, football has been on a downward spiral for many years now. And recent actions by the PC brigade seems to be hammering the nail in the coffin.” 

The above sentences are copied verbatim from the article. In quite a few areas the author alludes to the traditional values of football that the PC brigade has corrupted or will corrupt in the future. I would first like to point out “tradition” is a neutral concept and is no defence against what is perceived to be wrong.

According to oxforddictionaries.com (who still has a hard copy?), the definition of tradition is “A long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another”. Just by being established, traditions are not necessarily good or bad. It cannot be used as a defence for anything. Only by discussing the intricacies can traditions be used in proper context. In fact, I would posit that frequently, tradition has been used to exclude people or groups of people.

Not so long ago, traditional marriage was the reason used to exclude the LGBT community from receiving the same rights afforded to married people in the US, interracial marriage was illegal in the US, footbinding fit traditional beauty standards in China. These are all traditions that used to be acceptable but we understand them to be inhumane by today’s standards. A defence of traditions has to be hinged upon whether the traditions are good or not, not just that they are traditions.

 “I travel up and down the country and very few stadiums have hostile, vibrant atmospheres.” 

From what I understand, this has more to do with the changing demographics of the fans in the stadiums rather than that of the actions of the “PC brigade”.

How long till football stadiums have safe spaces? Many already have prayer rooms.” 

While I will not call someone I have not met a bigot, the readers can decide whether sounds like a bigoted statement. If clubs go against tradition and endeavour to be more inclusive, we should applaud their efforts, not the opposite.

“The likes of Kick It Out and the Society Of Black Lawyers need to take a step back a little bit. Understand their role in society.” 

One of the oft used phrases to put people in their place, and are similar to gems such as “women should be housewives because men are traditionally the breadwinners”. All these statements foster exclusivity rather than being inclusive of all members in society. Once again using the author is using tradition as an excuse for putting people down.

  1. Gravity of words vary depending on the person delivering them

“I would imagine Kick It Out are the type of group that deny racism towards white people exists.” 

Since the author did not really mention any specifics for this sentence, it is more likely his worldview. I would assume he means that the same actions done by one race may be considered racism while not when done by a different race.

It is actually quite simple as to why. When Donald Trump tweets something unofficially, everybody analyzes every character he uses and frets over it. When Joe Nobody does it, nobody cares. Even though Donald Trump and Joe Nobody are both equally people. This is because different people given that they represent different cultures, histories and backgrounds have different levels of power. Having lived in a former British colony, I can tell you that every action taken by those in power (the former British Empire) reverberate across time and space, whereas those without power usually enter and leave the world without comment.

You can trace many conflicts in the world today back to colonial times. When minority groups are the ones without power, what they do have much less effect than those who have historically held the power. In effect, it leads to different groups taking the same action but leading to different consequences. This will not cease to exist until we reach some idealized version of the world where have no inequality.

  1. The author is taking offence to…the offence

On the lighter side of things, some may notice that the author seems to have taken offence to the offence of other people, is that irony?

Here I would like to put forward some light hearted remedies to the author’s fears of eroding tradition and PC culture.

  1. Being PC is just about education

I do not know who these “PC brigade” people are, but I understand that being Politically Correct is actually just about being educated about what to do/say in the right moments, oh just like living in any society in the world. It was once pointed out to me that I should stop calling women ‘girls’ and call them ‘women’ because it was demeaning, so I started calling them women.

It was no skin off my bones and if it makes people more comfortable, why not? If I learn about the history of racism, bigotry and sexism on the way, great! Knowledge is power I think it was once said.

  1. Football is about…the football

I go to football games, very coincidentally…for the football, if the product on the field is good, then the football is good. Chants, fans, prayer rooms so forth is not why I watch football, although I understand that may differ for some people, we can all learn to pull for the team and be inclusive of fans who also want to enjoy the experience but feel marginalized. Nothing will ruin football for me, except for bad things that happen on the field like bad refereeing and bad tackles.

  1. The SJW section

This section is where I anticipate that many will call me a mama’s boy or Social Justice Warrior in the comments, so I would like to preemptively thank you for all those comments. I am indeed my mother’s son or mama’s boy if you prefer, and my mother is number 1 always, so thank you for acknowledging that and good observation.

Furthermore according to oxforddictionaries.com, social justice is “Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” If anyone believes I am a warrior for that, it is not too shabby.

Happy supporting Arsenal!

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19 comments to On She Wore’s “Stop getting easily offended at the football”

  • Johnny

    I almost stopped reading when you claimed that Jews were a race. Funny type of race these Jews, Blonde haired blue eyed eastern Europeans, Dark haired Brown skinned Middle Easterners, Black skinned tightly curled haired Africans.Then you have the Jewish converts. As I say, funny type of race. But Hitler called them that so I guess we should all follow the lead of a madman. The rest of the post was entirely predictable. The words of a liberal fascist snowflake who tries to police other people`s language by pointing at them and snidely inferring they might be somehow racist or bigoted. I actually like this site but I can safely say this is the worst story Ive read on here. Shewore is absolutely spot on and no amount of self righteous grandstanding will change my view of that. Now I anticipate this is where we will have the usual flood of “Liberal” fannies falling over themselves feigning outrage to show what nice people they are. Totally fake.

  • Vivek Arulnathan

    I have a lot of differences with UA when it comes to the Arsenal and referees but no arguments here. Spot on and well written.

    Ultimately football is about the football on the field.

  • Vivek Arulnathan

    Can a liberal be a fascist? It’s a pretty dumb combination of words IMO

  • Johnny

    Re. Vivek Arulnathan. Yes, especially when they deliberately try to shut down debate by falsely smearing people. Or when they try to overturn the democratic will of the people or when they demand people are impeached with no evidence. Joseph Goebbels has nothing on your modern day “liberal”

  • MikeB

    Freedom of speech is an absolute. We either have freedom of speech or we don’t, there is no sanitised or politicised interpretation of that. When we implemented legislation to stop the racists and bigots from abusing minority individuals and groups we lost freedom of speech in this country, and we can never reclaim it.
    Voltaire must have been screaming down from the heavens, but we ignored him.
    Now, three hundred years on, we have reached a point where anyone who feels in any way shape or form insulted can take a platform and demand action and even legislation against the perpetrator, on even the flimsiest of pretexts, and they are perfectly entitled to do so, because we started down this very slippery slope and there is no end in sight.
    My opinion is that society, and that must include the microcosm of society that is football, is the poorer for it.

  • Johnny

    Re. MikeB. What a great post Mike, absolutely bang on the money. “liberals” or “progressives” have created a society where we no longer have proper free speech. If you disagree with this band of fascists, you are immediately branded a racist or a bigot or even more laughably a fascist yourself. I made a decision years ago not to play their game and to hell with the consequences. People like the author of this piece will never shame me or police my thoughts or language.

  • Laos gooner

    PC is language facism. Are we really to fall for such bigotry of our language that we are to be given permitted vocabulary? Some language may be offensive. I certainly find things offensive in everyday life, such as politics, but I move on and get over it. We must prevent ourselves from imposing bubbles on our lives and accept social interaction for what it is. We must end this offensive PC for the good of mankind. I could however be wrong and then apologise for any offense

  • DESNJ

    I used to read “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”. However, it’s now mostly crass, poorly-written drivel and the quoted article is a good example of this. I now avoid it like the plague.

  • Gord

    I will add a tradition to your examples. I believe in the time of Napoleon, it was considered fashionable to take sub-lethal doses of arsenic, as it made one’s skin whiter.

  • Johnny

    Re. Laos gooner. Hahaha, nice one.

  • Mike B. I think your point was telling when you said

    we have reached a point where anyone who feels in any way shape or form insulted can take a platform and demand action and even legislation against the perpetrator, on even the flimsiest of pretexts,

    Yes, such people can, but it doesn’t mean that they will get their way. Language and social attitudes are constantly in flux and it would be quite wrong (at least based on historical evidence) to assume that where we are today on language, abuse, correctness etc is where we will be tomorrow.

    I am a white English male who gets lots of abuse on Untold (most of which is never published) and I draw my own line in the sand. Cross that line and it goes to the police who take action when they agree with me that what has been written is an offence.

    But in the end we can’t police what people say. However language is the embodiment of thought, and what people think does worry me because such thoughts can lead us back to hunting people down not because of what they have done, but because of the colour of their skin.

    Mind you, I also think the world would be a much safer place if no one had ever invented the notion of religion.

  • colario

    ”Mind you, I also think the world would be a much safer place if no one had ever invented the notion of religion.”

    This present week the French President has said exactly the same about nationalism.

  • Some guy

    I’m offended by this, “Maybe it is her who has the chip on the shoulder.”

    I mean please. I’m just a dumb colonial, you people are supposed to be the educated ones.(1)

    _________________________________

    But seriously, read Foucault if you can’t sleep. Depending on the force of your insomnia you will come away with an appreciation of the power of language, particularly naming, in shaping the ‘real world’. (If you’re doubtful and still awake I invite you to explore Eco and Barthes)

    Naming is an act of power. Forcing someone to change the name they call something is an act of domination. Even violence.

    Assuming you believe in morality (and or the tooth fairy) this forced vocabulary change may even be justified. But it is experienced as violence by the subject who is forced to change the words with which they describe the world.

    Non-consensual naming as violence applies to the potatoe people who are directly called “the Y word”, the people who are customarily referred to as “the Y word”, as well as the people who want to call Spuds “the Y word”.(2)

    I’m guessing you’re a Remainer… fair enough. That’s a very logical position, particularly for someone of your class and economic position. But when I read the She Wore column, I’m struck by the echoes of the Brexit and Trumpista cri de couer, the inchoate rage of the working class, who were abused in turn by Conservatives and Labor. Or more precisely Thatcherites and Blairites. I’m not an expert on what’s gone on in Britain, but the de-industrialization and concomittant financialization of your economy is:
    A. impressive (3)
    B. accompanied by increasing inequality(4)
    C. not exactly been victim free. (5)
    D. pretty similar to what happened to my country, the US of A, only our system is more hateful of poor people.(6)
    E. All of the above

    (Hint it’s E)

    Anyway, back to She Wore. I read the piece not so much as a complaint about loss of ‘white cis gendered privilege’ but rather as a plaint for a loss of ‘working class culture’.

    Football as described is a liminal space, a place where normal boundaries are slipped. “It used to be the working mans sport. A chance to release the stresses of the week. Whether it be screaming for your team till your throat go’s hoarse, drinking till you can not remember, or any countless other extra curriculum activities that happen on game day.”

    This is under assault by the economic forces “the majority of what we earn go’s on tickets, trains, booze and food for the football.”

    And also by cultural forces that are explicitly labeled not just as alien, “They do not go football. They do not care for football.” but as looking down on the regular football fan “They hate football fans. The type who look at you like you are scum when they are on the way to a museum.”

    Who are these cultural aliens? The professional class. Who have not only reaped the jackal’s share of economic gains, but undermined the working class by shipping manufacturing out of the country in return for marginally lower consumer goods prices. Who justify their position through the institutions of meritocracy and buttress it with cheap linguistic-based claims of moral superiority(7).

    In some ways morally superior SJW are our age’s useful idiots who, instead of advancing Stalin’s goals, do the 0.1%’s work of silencing certain speakers and push certain subjects out of the realm of polite discourse. Maybe this is a sound tactical choice, but I doubt that it will pan out strategically. Everyone has their limits and the consequences of debt deflation tend to be ugly(8) I think the consequences of Brexit and Trump will bear me out.

    To be clear. I don’t support ‘hate speech’ or ‘white nationalists’, but I believe those are symptoms not causes. And focusing on them is like turning up the radio because your muffler (silencer) has a hole in it or in our case, is dragging on the highway and sending up a shower of sparks behind us.

    _________________________________

    (1) that’s a joke “you people” is a trigger word… no I mean a micro-aggression that might trigger someone. (9)

    (2) this is also a joke. But ask yourself why is “the N word” a thing but “the Y word” isn’t? Maybe because it’s not a widespread insult. Maybe because the people described with “the Y word” have significantly more economic and political power than the people described by “the N word” and thus have other ways to achieve their life goals than policing language. (Or are less vulnerable to oppression through language) Wait, was that an anti-semitic statement? Who owns the rights to ‘most wronged group of all time”? The group with the biggest proportional losses? Absolute losses? Organized oppression? Most longstanding oppression? Help I’m confused.

    (3) https://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2014/apr/24/uk-economy-seven-things-need-to-know-ons-g7

    (4) https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/how-has-inequality-changed

    (5) http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40457212

    (6) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/20/health/life-expectancy-decline-mortality.html?_r=0

    (7) viz the difference between patting yourself on the back for calling a person “African-American” versus going to Mississippi to do voter registration.

    (8) https://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/11/economic-history-1

    (9) Actually, it’s a meta-joke. I started off a screed about hidden classism with a grammar correction.

  • ron

    but there is a kind of big brother attitude here who decided you must use the term women rather than girls. i have never in the course of my life heard anyone take offence at the term girls religion christianity was a civilising force -have you ever visited a church seen the plaques on the walls to those you have passed away tendss to emphasise qualities which are worthwhile

  • doc

    I look at all this from the position of “individual rights”. Your rights ends where mine begins. When you encroach on my rights, I ought to fight to reclaim it. In the end, it’s about mutual respect.. a very civil concept, where we struggle to find balance.

  • Sifarzone

    A very wise person once said, “your right to free speech should not be higher than my right to exist.”

    Notice in my article there is no mention of fascism or censorship, I strongly believe in the individual ability to self police our speech. And that in a football stadium we are inclusive and should encourage clubs to do so, expanding the Arsenal brand and fanbase should be a fairly universal goal. But whenever in doubt I refer back to the previous quote, fans in the stadium have the right to feel that they are safe to exist in the same space I do, and therefore my right to free speech comes second to that, because without right to life, there will not be any speech whatsoever.

  • Menace

    Good article & good comments. I enjoy those that try to change the workplace by demanding prayer rooms. They have existed as churches & in hospitals to help those that turn to God in times of need. I certainly do not like prayer rooms in the workplace as it begins to stigmatise restrooms, besides God is everywhere & does not require wi-fi.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice article, counter arguments and comments . Especially from Doc and Menace.
    Only on Untold .

  • Gooner S

    @Johnny you lost me with “Liberal fascist snowflake”. That you you have to make a point by insulting those with opposing views is pretty telling. You’re just as bad.

    Has the world gone PC mad? In some cases yes. Football crowds will never be sanitized and that’s for the better overall because out of that comes great humour but do I want “hostility” as the ‘She Wore’ article states? No! I stopped listening to Bergkamp Wonderland and reading She Wore because I just disliked the views and tone of the main blogger (Gav). I like that the demographics of those attending football has changed. I don’t want safe standing. I believe it’s a misnomer. I don’t have a problem with Prayer rooms even though I’m not religious. I know many disagree with me but overall, I think it’s for the better. I don’t want a yob culture to return to football and that’s my fear. It’s bubbling just under the surface. It hasn’t gone away. It’s all about balance and respect.

    I personally have never used the term “Yiddo” at a football match or anywhere else. It just isn’t for me and I don’t feel comfortable saying it. I’ve never mocked Manchester United fans for Munich 1958 or any similar events for other clubs. There’s no humour in that at all. Its crass. I don’t get easily offended by swearing or foul language and everyone knows what they’re going to get at a football match. The last player I called a C**t was Phil Neville. It’s a not a word I use often and I wish I had picked a different word on the day but hey none of us are perfect.

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