When Souleymane, a black Frenchman was prevented by Chelsea fans from taking the Metro on his way back home from work in the evening of Tuesday 17th February, he did not complain to anybody.
Not to the officials of the Paris Metro.
Not to the police.
Not to his wife and children.
Souleymane waited for another train, got home, had his dinner and went to bed. He went to work the next day and told no one about the incident. On his way back home, he was met by a Parisian journalist who was actively looking for him based on his appearance in the video of the incident from the previous evening.
Souleymane kept this most humiliating experience to himself for 24 hours as the journalist was the first person with whom he ever spoke about the incident.
As soon as the news broke and the video was being played in a loop online and on TV, the usual outrage and indignation that follow this type of stories were in abundance. Everybody has an opinion on the matter and thankfully, the consensus was that it was bad. Mercifully, this is not the United States of America where black people can be murdered on video and there will be more news about the victims’ irrelevant past indiscretions than the actual murderer.
I am most grateful that that is not the case here in the good old United Kingdom.
A question that nobody asked and which I kept hoping that somebody would, amidst all the garment rending and shedding of tears for the poor black man denied of the use of a service that he has paid for, because of the colour of his skin was this:
Why didn’t he complain to anyone about the incident? Why do people feel so outraged by the event but the victim simply kept his mouth shut for more than 24 hours?
I am not going to suggest the reason(s) why no one in the media asked this most pertinent and intriguing question despite spending days on the story but I am going to try to answer the question of why Souleymane didn’t complain about the racist incident to anybody.
Souleymane knew that complaining about it was a waste of time! He would have been accused of playing the race card or more charitably, reading too much into it. Without the video, who would have believed his allegation of being prevented from entering a train by a group of white people because he was black in 2015? Well, other than people of colour with similar experiences.
Apart from facial and height differences, I could pass for Souleymane in a low resolution video. When my wife first saw the video, one of her comments was about how the man was dressed like me and carrying a bag that was quite similar to the one I carry to work. I also use public transport primarily to commute to work. Swap the Paris Metro station for another train station in the North West of England and I could be the one in the video.
I absolutely understand Souleymane. I have been in Soulemany’s shoes. Hell, virtually every person of colour living Europe and America have been in Souleymane’s shoes. Not by being kicked off trains necessarily but suffering other forms of racial discriminations against which we can’t complain. And we know that there are two diametrically opposite reactions that usually follow complaints of racism depending on the circumstances.
- With Evidence (especially video)
We get righteous indignation and outrage. Big chastising words are used to describe the offenders. Solutions akin to killing a mosquito with a sledgehammer are prescribed.
If you need any example of this, look no further than the reactions that followed the actions of the Chelsea fans in Paris when the video emerged.
- Without Evidence
If a person of colour has the misfortune of suffering acts of racism without recorded evidence – which is 99% of the time as we don’t go about with the recording features of our mobile phones turned on in anticipation of capturing racial abuses against us – then it is our word against those of our abusers before the person of authority who is most likely to be white. This seldom goes well and justice is seldom served.
There will be outrage and righteous indignation alright but it will be coming from the accused. Tears will be shed in sorrow for being so evilly portrayed. Other white people will line up to vouch for the accused racist’s colour blindness. We will learn about his black friend. If we are lucky, we are told that we are just making too much of nothing. In less lucky instances, we are accused of playing the race card.
When we tell our family about our experiences, depress them as they have their own from time to time too. When we make our children aware of our experiences with racists, we scare them and deprive them of their innocence and opportunity to forge a resentment-free relationship with their white peers.
Souleymane said as much and in case anyone is wondering whether the guy was just not really bothered, he filed a report with the police as soon as he was made aware of the video evidence, demanding punishment for the racists. In other word, he didn’t file a report before only because he had no evidence and I suspect, based on personal experience in this respect that he chose to suck it up rather than risk being labelled a race card player.
The lack of self awareness from the media on this matter and the fact that despite all the noise, not one media or public figure was bothered by the fact that the guy took this sad experience on the chin is worrisome even if not unexpected. A perusal of Souleymane’s story shows very clearly how hurt the man was by the incident.
A few quotes:
“I live with racism … We’re vaccinated against racism”
“I was a little bit hurt physically but in terms of morale I was hurt a lot”
“It was important that all this came out. I’m not the only black person who has been the victim of racism and if I’m here it’s not only to denounce what I’ve been through but it’s for all the black people across the world facing it, everywhere, be it in France, London, the US … It has to stop. We’re in a world where everyone has their place, black, white, Muslim, Jew, atheist or anything else.”
“I just want justice to be done, no more than that”
Focusing on What’s Important
I decided to write this piece not to counter Pararealist’s brave and well meaning article from a few days ago but to add a few points. Para’s mention of misplaced outrage is my favourite part of the article. Minorities and people of colour are not as worried about being called names as we are about being denied opportunities to progress career-wise despite having equal or (in many instances) better qualification and experience. If a black person is called the ‘n’ word or an Asian is called the ‘p’ word AND it is recorded, we never hear the end of it but while being called disparaging names because of our skin colours or nationality is hurtful, what hurts more is the racism of the board/interview room.
While Suarez and Terry were subjects of intense media focus, we don’t hear anything about the improbably low number of football managers who are ethnic minorities or the fact that no person of colour is good enough to be a top tier English referee. While minorities detest the humiliation of being called names or treated differently in social situations, what we hate a lot more is being denied opportunities for economic advancement. This is one area that you never hear anything about in the media except when some embarrassing statistics emerge and then we get the standard patronising expression of concern from the media and the politicians and then nothing.
I am very happy that Para raised this issue and dealt with it very well. Where I don’t really agree with Para, is on the definition of racism. Para believes that it is the combination of prejudice and the power to act on that prejudice; I think it is a superiority/inferiority belief system or issue. Naturally, a racist with power can do more harm than one without but what guides all them all is their belief in the superiority or supremacy of their race.
If you believe that people of your race are superior to people of any other race then you are a racist. It is that simple. There are various types of racism from the passive to the active to the morbid but they are all based on the belief that some people are inferior because of their skin colour.
Passive Racism: Passive racists are not going to consciously act in any bad way to people of other races even though they believe that they are superior to them. Some passive racists will even be patronisingly nice to those they see as inferior. Most people are in this category as we all have some prejudice in us that have been imbibed since we were too young to know better. It takes conscious effort to not be passively racist.
Passively racist people are often offended when informed of their subtle racism. They think that only using racial epithets or stopping people from boarding a train because of their skin colour is racism. Passive racists are typically good salt of the earth decent people. We all know some in our family and social circles. They say awful racially stereotypical stuff in the guise of ‘plain speaking’. They are quick to complain about political correctness gone mad when called out. Sheldon Cooper’s mother’s character in the Big Bang Theory is a very good example in popular culture.
Passive racists may not cause hurt out of racial spite but if they are responsible for filling positions, they will always appoint people like them. A fancy term for this is institutional racism, which is what we get when well mannered racists are calling the shots in an organisation. This is rampant in the UK and most of the Western world and it hurts people of colour more than negative name calling and the idiotic action of the Chelsea fans that polite white people would usually be outraged by.
Active Racism: This takes conscious effort. Active racists don’t just believe that they belong to the superior race; they believe that their race is supreme. They take a lot of pride in this and actively endeavour to maintain the supremacy. The good news is that there are not that many of them; the bad news is that they are allowed to bear and raise children.
Morbid Racism: Active racism combined with psychopathic tendencies (usually possessed by a charismatic lead figure) lead to unspeakable evil that have occurred in history and which I am not very comfortable talking about.
Reverse Racism or Resentment?
When people of colour react to the constant racism they experience, the charge of reverse racism is made to show that it all balances out or, worse, that the minorities are now the real racial oppressors. This is ludicrous.
There may be some Africans or Asians who believe they are superior to whites but they are a very tiny minority. Many of us believe, with great defiance, I must add, that we are equal to whites and what is usually termed reverse racism on our part is nothing but resentment because of the discrimination that we experience but have no power to change or even challenge.
Racism is an uncomfortable topic. More so for white people who – to be fair – are often lumped together in heated moments and collectively blamed for atrocities of bigots today and generations past. On the other hand, white people need to stop the knee jerk defensive reaction when people of colour complain of racism. The next black person to suffer Souleymane’s fate should be free to file an official complaint, safe in the knowledge that his case would not be treated with suspicion or prejudice.
From the Arsenal Anniversaries file: Arsenal on this day…
3 May 1893: George Lawrence signed the documents to turn Royal Arsenal formally into Woolwich Arsenal. He then ensured the freehold of the Manor Field was obtained by arranging contracts and the deposit with the freeholder of the Manor Ground.
3 May 1998: 105 years to the day after the formation of Woolwich Arsenal, and 27 years to the day after the winning the league as part of the first double, Arsenal beat Everton 4-0 and won the League in game 36 of the second Double season. Adams scored his most famous goal on 89 minutes in front of the north bank as Arsenal secured 10 successive wins, a new Premier League record. Arsène Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the English league, with an unbeaten run of 18 games starting on Boxing Day. Even the commentary of the Arsenal v Everton game became famous as Martin Tyler said, “That sums it all up” as Tony Adams scored and turned to the crowd, arms out wide. The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.
- Congratulations Arsene: welcome to the hall of fame
- How will the final league table look? Our laptop computer reports
- If Arsenal go on like this, what will the final table look like?
- Only a handful of teams can win the league: but nothing has changed.
- The set of predictions that tell us exactly how the final table will look
60 Replies to “Why Didn’t Souleymane Complain About The Racist Chelsea Fans?”
It should be emphasized that racism is not as much about skin color as it is about social class.
A nuance completely lost on Chelsea fans, including those that bullied this man off the Metro.
Powerful article and a lot of great points.
I totally agree with you, especially with the part about Sheldon Cooper’s mother. I’d just add that she’s extremely religious which makes her even more prone to becoming an active or even morbid racist over time.
In a way, I’ve been both part of majority and minority. As a white left-wing-oriented Bosnian Muslim who lives in Europe (not EU even if the border is just a few kilometers away), I’ve gone through a lot of things since I was nine when the war in Bosnia had started. I’ve been asked whether I was from Arabian or Serbian part of Bosnia (Denmark – if I’m a Muslim, I must be an Arab, right?), if I was a Russian (Turkey – if I have blond hair, blue eyes and I’m married with a gorgeous blond-haired blue-eyed woman, I must be a Russian) which in a way flattered me – I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have more colourful background than the one I have (boring, boring Josif’s ancestors). Of course, it gets different when you’re called names like “balija” (by extreme Serbs and Croats) or discriminated on the job interview just because you have “wrong” ethnic origin.
What I want to add to your article, Bootoomee, it’s a conclusion: the worst things happen at the micro-level, at the level of “small people”. A little man, someone like Sheldon’s mother, gets indoctrinated by her local preacher who has been installed by political leaders who spread hate and only a few weeks later, Sheldon’s mother wants to put Raj in the concentration camp because he came to USA to take Sheldon’s job.
Forgot to add this part about being both majority and minority. As a white male (yes, we are still far away from eliminating sex-discrimination as well), I’m part of a majority in Europe. As a Muslim, I’m part of a minority. As a left-winged Muslim in a dominating right-winged Muslim part, I’m a part of a minority.
And I don’t see one reason why should I consider myself superior or inferior to anyone else just because of that.
Oh, and that’s why I was always against Luis Suarez’s arrival to Arsenal. Our best player of all times was racially abused. To bring someone who was punished for racism to fill his shoes would be a major let down of what Arsenal have been.
“The next black person to suffer Souleymane’s fate should be free to file an official complaint, safe in the knowledge that his case would not be treated with suspicion or prejudice.”
But of course a complaint like this should be treated with suspicion. This sounds to me like the way some feminists talk about rape accusations, that the accused should be presumed guilty because of the severity or the type of crime that the person is being accused of. I’m sure it is true that many people experience discrimination like the man experienced from the Chelsea fans that is not recorded and not brought to light and appropriate action cannot be taken, but I don’t see what can be done about it. It’s the same for many types of crime, including those far more serious than this, despicable behaviour as it was. Please do clarify if I’m missing your point.
@davi – I think you’ve just missed it:
“The next black person to suffer Souleymane’s fate should be free to file an official complaint, safe in the knowledge that his case would not be treated with suspicion or prejudice.”
I think you’re mixing a reasonable doubt, something that is one of the greatest values of Criminal Law, with suspicion/prejudice.
@Josif – I see the point but inevitably an official complaint would include an accusation against someone. If you accuse someone wrongfully, then you have done a bad thing, and so suspicion is warranted. I’m not saying that it’s not terrible when legitimate complaints go ignored for lack of evidence but still I don’t see what the answer is. Perhaps there are cases where complaints are not investigated for murky or even prejudiced reasons but I don’t think that would apply to this case?
People who have been bullied will often hide the fact from others
I am sorry but you are still missing the point. If a crime has been committed against you, you should be able to complain with or without evidence. There are people whose job is to investigate that the crime has indeed being committed and gather whatever evidence they can to indict. They are called the police and let me tell you, they do this all the time. I have seen notices asking for people to come forward if they witnessed crimes in an area. The police have knocked on my door a few times in the past to ask me if I witnessed some minor crimes in my neighbourhood.
The problem here, and why Souleymane (and indeed most people of colour) don’t complain about issues like this is that, like you are doing here, we are often asked to provide irrefutable proof, a condition that is not attached to other, even lesser, crimes and incidents.
Boo – very good article. Thank you.
As a white English male I have been very fortunate. The only time I was the victim of prejudice was when I figured out that, in the annual promotion round at a former employer, that while 50% of promotions were of women they only formed 25% of the candidate pool. While the argument would be that because women were too small a part of the candidate pool reverse discrimination was justified it didn’t make me feel any happier…
But this is just a 2nd order instance of discrimination which happened once. To have to deal with its repeated and more profound impacts on a regular basis is deeply dispiriting. I look forward to the day when all prejudice is eliminated. This day is probably far off – but nevertheless huge progress has been made and I hope will continue to be made.
there’s a far simpler reason why he didn’t report the incident. He doesn’t understand English. And to explain racism as black v white is about as one dimensional 1970’s understanding as they come. This incident is about ignorance and upbringing and the power of the crowd.
Great comments. We are in sync 🙂
We cannot agree more on Suarez. I even wrote an article against Arsenal buying him at a time when many Gooners, including several Untold regulars, where making light of what he did to justify their desire for him to join us. With Bosnian Muslims’ history and experience, I can see why you understand but the problem is that people who haven’t suffered real discrimination often can’t empathise.
Not something I thought about, I just went along with the ‘haha, aren’t they stupid?’ vibe, but I think it does say something about how far we haven’t come in Western society. So, thanks, it’s nice to hear from someone with a bit of experience of this, as I’m smack bang in the middle of the majority.
It just goes to show what an absolutely sick and unfair society we live in.
Why does a person objects when someone asks whether he is from Arabian descent? Do you have a problem with Arabs? This is something I have an issue with – people who complain of being victimised often display serious racist tendencies themselves. And often they see racism where non exists because they carry a huge chip on their shoulders.
The writer’s insinuations that only whites display racist dendencies, although he makes noises to the contrary, and only people of colour are victims, are racist in itself. This is a universal problem.
The majority of whites are just too scared to speak out against this racism (not “reverse racism” you bigot).
Great article Bootoomee.
There are many reasons i did not go further. I know some of the reasons for this projected racism, and believe me it is projected onto societies. If this was not the case we would not have the problem to deal with, or at least it would only be a minor problem, that is predujice.
The fact that racism is institutionalised is the root of the problem. From my studies of our story i have found out where racism first reared it’s ugly head as an institution. It was when the first white people came into lands inhabited by black peoples and a little time later the plan was hatched by certain individuals to destroy black peoples from across the face of the earth.
Then began a systematic deconstructing of the black peoples of the world. All this can be found by studying history. In every area of life of black people, there are restrictions implemented to keep them “below” white people. Trust me, if you do the same research as i do, you will find this.
In every land where black people inhabited, and for the record, it was the whole Earth, they were slowly eradicated by these people who hold on to power throughout their generations, and they also projected a very false history of the world.
Not many people know that the original peoples of USA, South America, Britain, Europe, Asia, Russia were populated by black peoples. When the white invaders came from Asia, they conquered all these places and wiped out the black peoples. Of course there was inter mixing everywhere and from this we get the brown peoples, which we can see in many lands.
They and only they have kept it alive through the ages, fed it to their descendants who keep on spreading it to societies. The KKK and other such groups are not the leaders of this, they are just deluded people who are used and led by the real perpetrators who keep their hatred well under control.
I am still researching the WHY.
Many will ask where did white people come from?
I am not going to write this here as it has nothing to do with football, but suffice to say, i have known for a long time that racism is actually a misnomer because we are ALL the same black people, some just have a little less melanin than others.
That is it in a nutshell.
Over 20 years i have been researching this subject and the more one learns, the more questions one has.
We all need to demand the REAL history of the Earth to be told, the nuclear war that once took place and so much more. No wonder people are confused the world over, this is by design.
Great article and it disgusts me that racism is still so rampant in this day and age. Specifically islamophobia that seems to be so wide-spread and almost accepted in the UK now.
One thing though regarding a black man filing a report to a white policeman about being racially abused without video evidence and then having nothing come of it. Would this not be the case for anyone filing such a report regardless of skin colour? Im sorry I may be quite naive here, but are these incidents not extremely difficult to follow up on, rather than just because its a black man thats been a victim of it?
“If a crime has been committed against you, you should be able to complain with or without evidence”
Of course, and anyone can. But what can be done if there is no evidence?
“There are people whose job is to investigate that the crime has indeed being committed and gather whatever evidence they can to indict”
Well, I would hope that their job is first to ascertain whether the complaint has basis to pursue indictment. But in any case, apparently there are people who do investigate these complaints.
“The problem here, and why Souleymane (and indeed most people of colour) don’t complain about issues like this is that, like you are doing here, we are often asked to provide irrefutable proof, a condition that is not attached to other, even lesser, crimes and incidents.”
I never said irrefutable proof, I said evidence. Perhaps when incidents like these are reported, they should be investigated, but according to you they are being investigated, so what is the problem?
I’m not denying that these incidents occur but at the end of the day, what more can really be done?
para – yes it all stems from Yacub, maker and creater of the devil.
The evidence Davi is demanding is exactly where this subject gets slippery, and why racism, unlike violent crimes, is so subtle. How do you show evidence for hate when there is no crime to be held up as ‘evidence’? Racial epithets, violence and insults can be pointed to as hard evidence, as Bootoomee says, but what is the evidence for the softer and more insidious matter of class/race based snobbery? Other than that the victim feels it within? And I do mean snobbery (read: superiority), and petty dismissals which are at the heart of all forms of discrimination. What evidence can you dig up for what a person thinks about you, which in turn influences how much they appreciate you as a person? True, an individual may feel more secure within the tribe, but many people who identify as ‘white’ hide behind the benefits of their group and thus perpetuate the problem. What is worse, it amplifies the dark-skin/light-skin dichotomy which feeds the skin bleaching industry among others, and blinds all humans to the true value of a person. If someone feels slighted, simply ask why, and try to make amends.
Jammy J & davi,
No one is asking for conviction based on mere accusation of racism or racial discrimination. I think you are still missing the point of why Souleymane didn’t file a report about the case or mention it to ANYONE!
Accusations of racism are usually met by knee jerk defensiveness from white people and not just the accused. When I complain about racist behaviours of my students to my line manager, he goes: “Aren’t you reading too much into this Mr Bootoomee?” But if the same guy witnesses a much less racist behaviour towards me, he loses it and becomes outraged issuing severe punishment to the offender. Why is my own word not good enough at least to warrant an investigation on his part? Isn’t this part of the problem?
When people get mugged, they still report to the police about the mugging even if they have no evidence and such cases are still recorded and investigated without the victim being treated like they are making it up or just seeking attention.
I am not asking that every accusation of racism lead to conviction, I am saying that victims of racism should feel free to report to the authorities safe in the knowledge that their complaints will be given due consideration and not flippantly dismissed unless they have recorded evidence.
“If someone feels slighted, simply ask why, and try to make amends.”
And I say:
A great article well written, but more than that, I can sense your feelings and empathy for the hurt which this poor man suffered – such feelings of empathy are something which we all should share along with a desire and determination to stamp out racism and prejudice.
In our sick society it is important that we behave in a manner showing respect to all and setting an example to be followed by others.
@Gary – actually, it’s not that someone asked me whether I’m an Arab that was insulting, it was more of ignorance of people who are not aware of the fact that there are non-Arab Muslims and that they live in Europe. When Dutch soldier were sent to Srebrenica during the war, they weren’t prepared to see that Muslims and Serbs don’t have different race, language or anything else but religion…and Bosnia is not that far away from them. Plain ignorance usually lead to prejudices and after that, shit usually hit the fan.
@Bootoomee – sorry for the misunderstand i get what you mean now. That may be down to people not realising how rife racism still is, so they are a bit apprehensive to believe that it was intended as a racial slur (not that im saying this right)
“The evidence Davi is demanding is exactly where this subject gets slippery, and why racism, unlike violent crimes, is so subtle.”
I’m not demanding anything, obviously crimes and other incidents occur for which there will be little or no evidence, I’m more trying to figure out what it is you want to happen in such an event.
“How do you show evidence for hate when there is no crime to be held up as ‘evidence’? Racial epithets, violence and insults can be pointed to as hard evidence, as Bootoomee says, but what is the evidence for the softer and more insidious matter of class/race based snobbery?”
You’re getting into thought crime here. If no actual crime has been committed, then there is nothing to be done. Or do you believe that “hate” itself should be a crime?
“I am not asking that every accusation of racism lead to conviction, I am saying that victims of racism should feel free to report to the authorities safe in the knowledge that their complaints will be given due consideration and not flippantly dismissed unless they have recorded evidence.”
But what does due consideration mean here? Some of the sorts of things that have been brought up, thought crime and the like, are not worthy of any consideration. The Chelsea fans train incident is certainly worthy of some consideration but whether it’s really a police matter, I’m not sure.
“If someone feels slighted, simply ask why, and try to make amends.”
I think most people do this but there will always be bad behaviour. You have to concede, though, that just because someone feels slighted, doesn’t mean that they have been.
@Davi In a decent and just society we have to assume that most (regardless of sex, colour, race, sexual orientation etc) will behave with integrity, honesty and fairness. Therefore whomever wishes to report a burglary, an assault or whatever should expect to be treated in exactly the same way as anybody else and have the matter dealt with in exactly the same way as anybody else, with whomever is in authority taking each case on its own merits and applying a consistent interpretation of process and laws. Similarly whomever an accusation is against should be deemed innocent until proven guilty. Easier said than done dealing with humans! We all have our own moral code that is influenced by upbringing, education, religion, economics, nationalism and other factors such as emotion, especially fear.
@Bootoomee Excellent article. Both of these recent articles have been difficult reads. I agree more with your definition of racism than Para’s which in its own way is fine.
This country has improved in many ways since I was a child living in Hackney in the late 60s and 70s. What a melting pot that was – White British (my family included), Irish, Italian, Caribbean, African, Turkish and Greek Cypriots, Asians and not to mention those whose religion was Jewish (many orthodox). But I only have to look at my social media feeds to see that it still exists today in people that wouldn’t call themselves racist or prejudiced!
No matter what card you carry, if any, it has no meaning if it gets played all the time. People will tune you out if they hear about something too often.
I try not to write to specific organizations or people more than once per year. Especially with email, it is too easy for the destination party to blacklist (or kill file) you.
“Therefore whomever wishes to report a burglary, an assault or whatever should expect to be treated in exactly the same way as anybody else and have the matter dealt with in exactly the same way as anybody else, with whomever is in authority taking each case on its own merits and applying a consistent interpretation of process and laws.”
I know that there are discrepancies but are you saying that police don’t take reports of burglary or assault seriously? Are these the sorts of crimes that we’re talking about because I’ve read this more as verbal/non-violent abuse? And while these are unacceptable, I don’t think should ever be taken as seriously as violent crime or burglary.
I’m not 100% sure of that, but i’m sure that black people have albino children (from the Dravidians 50 to 60 thousand years ago in India and even today everywhere) who then intermix with black people and create all colors between black and white.
I am glad that Tony let your comment through.
In case anyone needs an example of the knee jerk reaction I talked about in the article, I give you Gary’s comment at 11.35am.
His cry of victimhood when none has been directed at him personally is what I am talking about and he lacks self awareness so much that in the same comment where he accused others of having chip on their shoulders.
Oh the irony!
What card is being played too much? If I experience racial discrimination 10 times, how many of it do think I should report before “the card is played too much”?
There should be no limitations on how many times cases of discrimination can be reported. Souleymane didn’t report the incident precisely because of your reasoning here. “Oh here comes another black man complaining of racism”
Its about dealing with crime (whatever it is) in a consistent way no matter who is reporting it or has been a victim of it. So, if I as a white male, report a burglary at my home, the same time as say an Asian neighbour, I would expect us both to be treated equally with a consistent application of process, policy and the law. Similarly, if at the same time as me and my Asian neighbour reported our respective burglaries there was a violent crime against somebody (anybody) I would expect that to take priority over a burglary. But again if there were two violent crimes I would expect them to be dealt with in exactly the same way in terms of process, policy and law.
The application of innocence until proven guilty is just as important in a civilised society. Again, no matter who you are! The case of that poor chap, the landlord in Bristol, springs to mind. He was vilified and deemed ‘guilty’ of the murder of a young female because of his so called ‘odd’ appearance and lifestyle. It was in fact a Dutch tenant who committed the crime.
Bootoomee, I can’t talk too much or too often about autism.
para – Are you saying that’s where different peoples come from? I think it’s more to do with people from Africa emigrating to less warm climates and adapting to those different environments.
Gooner S – who could argue with that. Are we saying that that isn’t happening (in general)?
It appears to be complicated who “whites” evolved. Wikipedia has a page on Caucasians and another on “White People”, which go into things. I suspect a person would have to do a lot of research to find a good answer.
@Gary – perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I didn’t mind for being asked if I’m an Arab because I have something against Arabs but because I was struck by ignorance of an educated European person that hadn’t been aware of the presence of non-Arab Muslims in Europe. Why? Well, before Dutch soldiers were sent to Srebrenica where Muslims and Serbs were living with each other, they had been “prepared” by a show that pictured Muslims similar to medieval Turks. When they came to Srebrenica, they were shocked that there was no visible difference between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs. Ignorance is mother of all prejudices and prejudice is mother of all hate.
Are you kidding? Every regular here know about your autism.
You are the numbers guy, please enlighten me about the right ratio of racial discrimination to report I should be making that will not amount to playing the card too much.
A little more empathy and a little less knee jerk defensiveness is all we ask. Is that too much to ask?
davi @ 2.36pm:
Yes. We are saying this isn’t being applied where racism and racial discrimination are concerned.
People either dismiss it as not really a big deal or do what Gary and, to a less extent, you have been doing on this thread. Which is get defensive or start making counter accusations.
I don’t know what the right ratio is. But, if you were to write to David Cameron every time you were discriminated against, do you think his staff would continue to read your reports? I think it more likely that they would blacklist your email address so that he would no longer be subject to your “noise”.
Do you evidence of me writing David Cameron every time I suffer discrimination or are you just making this assumption based on your own bias and desperation to rubbish an issue that I suffer from and that is important to me? Where is your empathy man?
It is on topics like this that people’s true nature are revealed. Thanks for your contribution.
By the way, there should be no limitations on how many times I can report incidents of racial discrimination. It is condoning racism to suggest so.
I am not trying to rubbish anything. I have no evidence of you writing David Cameron for anything. I know how many times I have written my Prime Minister. I don’t understand how you think I am opposite of where I am.
I do think people have to speak up. Discrimination on the basis of race and gender (potentially) involves huge numbers of people, maybe the rules are different for that than the fight I have, where so few people have something.
Growing up, I didn’t see discrimination against people of African descent, as much as I seen discrimination of aboriginals. I want the best person to get the job. I don’t want people to be frightened away from using public facilities because of their gender, skin colour, ethnicity or anything else of a similar nature.
I have met too many people who say things like “You can’t change city hall.” If you believe that, you will never try. And city hall needs to change.
Personally, I am tired of living below the poverty level. Having 60% of your adult life with no income sucks. But until employers set up special ways for autistic applicants to apply, I will not see any change in my life. It is a complete waste of time for me to use the system that employers all over the world use.
I wish you the best in removing racism and educating people. I will try to help where I am able.
I think it was about 6 months ago, a good Samaritan imposed himself into a racially charged disagreement (locally) involving (nominally) teenagers. There were enough teenagers involved that they attacked this person and beat him badly. He was flown to hospital 450 km away, and I don’t ever remember reading if he survived or not.
The police found the boys/men involved and charged them. The way punishment works in Canada, I don’t even have confidence that this same group of men would not beat another man to death over their “right” to tease and ridicule a person of colour in the future.
Well done Bootoomee and well done Untold Arsenal. Really quite something to see this sort of article on a football blog.
I can add something perhaps, touching on my own experiences. Bear in mind I am 5th/6th generation Indian originating in South Africa. My parents and grandparents had a far worse ‘apartheid’ experience than I. But I did notice that there did seemed a sense of innate superiority and inferiority in terms of racial theories.
For you guys that do not know – we can blame all this nonsense on 19th century philosophers (who were erroneously called scientists) who propagated a whole host of nonsense that they could justify at the time as western Europe had risen to a great height of power – namely the whole Germanic/Nordic is good, black/dark is bad, etc. We have all heard it before, but maybe we do not know the origins of it.
As things stand, I believe ‘rascism’ in its active forms is on the retreat somewhat, as far as my experience in South Africa, then New Zealand and now Australia goes. However, cultural exclusion is rife. The goal posts have shifted. No longer will it be heard by any respected person that white is better than black, German is better than Slav, etc, etc.
But we hear that the ‘Western way’ is better all the time. There is a situation where cultures are said to have less inherent value based on the conquests and economics of the last few centuries.
For me, I am far more concerned with the way the values of other cultures, be they Chinese, Indian, old school Western/Christian, etc., are now subservient to the cultural values that we are ‘told’ are correct, served up by our friends the corporate media.
You can overcome rascism. Just look at the economic empowerment in Africa and Asia since WW2 ended. But can you overcome cultural imperialism that seeks to erode what actually makes you unique?
There is sometimes a subtle colour based rascism in the workplace in Australia. I have seen it first hand. Difficult to quantify, mind you. Varies from company to company, division to division.
At university on the other hand – very little rascism.
In the club – sometimes I have been out with white Aussie girls who have found certain Polynesians threatening. Sometimes I see a similar reaction to the African guys dressed in a certain American manner at train stations. Now as I am brown myself, I know the girls are not rascist. Sometimes, it is the vibe.
I cannot recall an actual rascist since a boy called me a name when I was 14 in Auckland. Mostly, its the subtle sort – you are not dressed correctly for this club/you are not on the list/etc.
Agree absolute with the presumption of innocence. Otherwise accusations are just tools for discrimination.
May 3, 2015 at 2:15 pm
Para, the Aryan-Dravidian divide in India is a 19th century myth. The Aryan Invasion Theory is a lie. There is no such thing as a Dravidian in an ethnic sense. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I get the impression you are subscribing to some version of these theories about poor oppressed natives.
Great write up, Bootoomee, and I read it twice. I think the main reason why everybody gets all defensive when someone complains of having been racially abused is because the authorities who the complaint is being lodged with would naturally find themselves in one of the racial subsets. In other words if I go to file a report at a police station manned by white officers they’ll naturally and subconsciously feel like I’m also viewing them through the same lens as I’d view the perpetrator, who would be of the same race. Subconsciously they put themselves in the position of the accused, because they share similar traits (race) and feel they can identify with the accused. They think ‘that person (the accused) could have been me’, hence them becoming all defensive. But if I were to complain about my phone getting stolen they would be more keen to investigate that as never at any point will they stop and think hang on, do I have anything in common with the mugger.
I know exactly what Bootoomee is talking about as I’ve experienced this too, and even from the police themselves. And when I tried to file a complaint later they (the department that handles police complaints, as one is supposed to use that avenue first before approaching the IPCC) wriggled out of it on technicality that complaints against the police needed to be made within 12 months of the incident happening. Because the complaints department had declined to investigate, so was my route to the IPCC blocked. Complaints about racial abuse are not welcome at any institution in the West. Unless one has irrefutable evidence as Souleymane had of course. It’s sad but that’s just the way it is.
Isn’t it interesting how people who have experienced this issue have a wholly different reaction to those who haven’t and never will?
I understand your effort to make sense of the defensiveness of white people on the topic of racism but as a straight man, I have to say I am never bothered by accusations of homophobia. My attitude is always for the matter to be investigated and appropriate actions taken without making the complainants feel like they are some over-sensitive troublemakers who are out to get straight people.
Some of the comments on this thread are nothing but vindicators of the premise of the article.
True Bootoomee. I guess unless one has been a victim or been confronted by this firsthand then they will never have any ‘idea’ what we’re talking about.
Bootoomee – I’m not being defensive at all, just trying to be objective. It’s interesting that my slight disagreements and probing would be seen that way. In any case, I think it’s interesting to note that you’re speaking to an audience from a wide range of backgrounds, where that underlying racism you bring up will play some role, but there will also be a fairly wide spectrum. The only recent, *clear case of police being influenced to act a certain way on racial grounds that comes to my mind is the Rotherham rape gangs, which would go against the points you and others have made and should serve as a warning that this way of thinking can go too far.
That’s not to diminish your points because I do believe that they are valid, again to greater and lesser degrees depending on where you are, and also I see that you are talking about what is often going to be an inconspicuous type of racism. Do you think it’s fair to say that in general this kind of racism is lessening with time?
Thanks for this excellent article.
Forgive me for not going through the comments at this time, as I know what some will say.
It bugs me that some people now think I am racist.
There are some studies of racial/ethnic/… in the EPL. One study which looks useful, won’t show the data they had. But nominally, they just compiled the countries represented by players on EPL teams. Fine, I went through Wikipedia, and our current list of 35 (at Wikipedia) has 9 from England, 7 from France, 5 from Germany, 4 from Spain, 2 from Poland, and then 1 each from Czech Republic, Japan, Costa Rica, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, Wales and Argentina.
Sure, you can break that up into England, UK (or Great Britain), EU and world. I don’t think it tells you anything about racial composition or ethnicity.
One wikipedia page talks about black, white, asian, … as ethnicity. France and Spain don’t have ethnicity. Spain is composed of European and Nordic groups. Look at other countries, and ethnicity is what religion people have or what tribe they are a member of. I’m Canadian, the first people were aboriginal. Originally, they all got labelled Indian. While Indian tribes are known a little (Cree, Blackfoot, …), I think the first real recognition was that the aboriginal in the arctic are different than the aboriginal down south. Oh, except in our desire to step on people, we decided that people that were part Indian and part European were Metis. I had always heard that Metis was restricted to Indian/French mixing, so I learned it was generic European (one of my better friends in high school was Metis, but we never discussed backgrounds; he was really good on snow shoes).
The northerns are now called Inuit, except that some northern people refuse to be called Inuit and want to be called Eskimo. About 45% are in Greenland, 45% in Canada and the remainder nominally in Alaska/Siberia (the trouble makers that want to be Eskimo 🙂 ). I’m not seeing Tribes, there are 14 dialects spoken.
The southerns are now called First Nations for the most part. If I could see dialects from a map, I see about 12 for regions not Inuit.
The peoples coming into the Americas either over the land bridge, or skipping along the coast, or other means, were not limited to the 26 (12+14) dialects found in Canada. There are aboriginal or First Nations people in the USA, Mexico, Central America and South America who are at best distantly related to those in Canada.
I mentioned above that one of my friends in high school was Metis. One of my better friends as an adult was an “indian” from South America. There are 3 Guyana’s on the north coast of South America, he was born in the British one. Moved to Surrey as a child, and eventually became one of those ManU supporters before he moved to Canada.
The feeling I get from most western Canadians, is that all “indians” are drunken, lazy bums. I point out that a well known hotel chain is owned by one of these lazy, drunken indian tribes. It doesn’t help, they spend a second to purge it from their memory, and on they go discriminating against indians. There were an awful lot of bridges and skyscrapers built by “Mohawks”, tribes around the intersection of Ontario, Quebec and New York. How they can walk out on the naked steel I cannot fathom.
Rodeo’s happen on the Great Plains, and other places. The place I went to high school has a fall fair with a rodeo. There were dances on Friday and Saturday nights. Inevitably, these dances turned into brawls more or less split on cowboys versus indians. I tried to stay away from those, never been in a fight in my life.
And I still don’t think that a person can afford to report every incident of racism. But maybe it is just people like me that can’t. I don’t read people worth a darn, and maybe you need to be able to read people, to report things a lot?
Once again, it is social class that matters, and low socio-economic groups are ripe for discrimination.
What makes things complicated is that, in some/many areas, low-class whites are used to intimidate blacks.
The entities who take advantage of this situation, such as the deep South, are entities that benefit from:
Low wages across the board! It is the “economy” or lack thereof, and many find their way out by escaping…
This includes joining the armed-forces, going to a different part of the country… Same as everywhere else.
Josif brings excellent points. I am an Arab Christian from Northern Syria, and I am indeed a white male, so:
When I lived in France, I was “tolerated” far better than my similar-looking friends who were Arab Moslims.
We spoke the same impeccable French, were all Catholically French-educated, and had similar backgrounds, but:
Being an Eastern-rite Catholic gave me a huge edge over them, and job offers, which I declined; I left France.
Here in the USA, you need good lawyers. OJ Simpson got away with murder, but the judge allowed too much leeway.
The OJ Simpson lawyers utilized the media, and the jurors could not ignore the Rodney King beating by the LAPD.
As a result, OJ SImpson got away with murder, ad the lawyers got away with his fortune; money can buy you that.
The city of Los Angeles, we were told, was on the brink of “another” cycle of violent riots, hence the verdict.
Once again, skin color, gender, religion, social-economic status, body odor, and team you support in the Prem:
These are some factors that can make you the object of discrimination, and a huge reason I support the Arsenal.
Classless low-class Chelsea fans deserve their John Terry. Luis Suarez should have never been a transfer target.
We also accept that the media are against us; we must be proud of the fact that these vipers write against us.
Finally, we have to make sure that there is hating of other fans among our fans, just ironic / sarcastic banter.
Typo on the last line: ‘NO hating of other fans” obviously.
Very fine article , Boo , well done .
Some people don’t like you just because your strength reminds them of their weakness.
Don’t let the hate slow you down.
Your Rotherham example supports my point rather than oppose it as you think.
Crimes were being reported but because of the discomfort of the WHITE people in authority with racism, they chose to sweep the matter under the carpet rather than deal with it on MERIT as other crimes would have.
This is what I have been saying. It shouldn’t change anything that these crimes were committed by non-whites. All crimes, including racial ones should be treated on merit without casting aspersions on the motives of the complainants. The notion that white people in authority are scared of ethnic minorities is ludicrous. Thank goodness Jimmy Saville was white!
It is also ridiculous and pro racial discrimination to suggest as Gord has been doing on this thread that one would be playing the card too much by reporting every racial discrimination incident that one experiences. If you get mugged 10 times you should report 10 times and the same should apply to being stopped from entering a train by a bunch of racist thugs.
Bootoomee – I wouldn’t say it supports your overall point exactly, as I don’t think it would discourage a person of colour from reporting a crime/incident. I think what I was getting at is that it’s not all one way, that white people could also be discouraged from reporting crimes for similar reasons, brought on by going too far in the racial sensitivity direction.
“The notion that white people in authority are scared of ethnic minorities is ludicrous”
But that’s what the Rotherham case showed, at least in that particular instance. I’m not saying it stands as a general rule at all, but it did happen there.
I’m a little unclear on what you mean about Jimmy Saville. He got away with what he did because no one listened to his accusers, because he was a man of enormous standing in the community. I don’t think it had anything to do with race?
I haven’t been following Gord’s comments but yes I agree. It’s absolutely important to report racial discrimination to the appropriate body and if someone is attacked or clearly mistreated in that way, then it’s not “playing the race card”, it is what it is.
Racism – how sad is it that antisemitism shows colour prejudice where white Jew hates black Jew. It was there for many years but didn’t make the headlines until now.
Another bit of sad news is that the great Jimmy Greaves is in intensive care after suffering a stroke. On behalf of all Arsenal fans I hope he is pain free & safe in Gods hands.
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