7.11.2013

Hey, monkey! Have a banana! (uhh, no)

Yeahhhhh.  I know.  Long time, no post.  For weeks, I've been busy with school assignments and my two part-time jobs, then all my time was occupied with getting ready to return to America (not permanently!  I'm back in Houston for a visit).  After a terrible (bad food - first world problems, I know) flight and a week of fierce jet-lag, I'm finally settled.  I thought I'd get down to business with a post.

As a huge soccer fan, I'm aware that heckling, name-calling, boarder-line offensive nicknames, etc. are common occurrences in sports.  For example, Per Mertesacker of Arsenal is known as the BFG (Big F**king German).  However, I feel that some fans are using this norm as a way to promote their racist agenda, and it's frustrating that they aren't being punished harshly enough for it

The following video is from The Young Turks about an Austrailian-rules footballer, Adam Goodes of the Sydney Swans, who was called an "ape" by a 13-year-old spectator.  Oh yeah, he also happens to be aboriginal.

The incident happened a little over a month ago, but when I think about it and the commentary on this video, it still hits a nerve (though to be fair, there was some siding with Goodes...mainly from Jayar who happens to be black, but anyway.... Without hesitation, I would have done exactly what Goodes did.  I would have asked for her silly behind to be kicked out as well.  What upsets me about the video are 1) the arguments about this girl's age, and 2) whether "ape" or "monkey" is racially charged or not. I think it's upsetting that thirteen isn't "old enough" to know what racism is and that we do not call POC "monkeys".  Sure, she probably said it because of the way she was raised, but let's all think back to when we were that age.  I'm sure a lot of us knew about bad words and racial slurs.  Thirteen is not a child.  It's not like this girl was arrested or something, so it's quite annoying that arguments were made concerning the fact that she was being embarrassed on national TV in front of thousands of people.  Perhaps she should have thought about it before.  And what about the way she made Goodes feel Secondly, why are we still discussing the racial implication of "ape" or "monkey".  Seriously?  When people taunt in sports, they usually boo, throw out a "stupid" or "idiot" here and there, but no rationally thinking individual would call someone a "monkey" without wanting to hurt them Now, Goodes did respond at length to the taunt.  (A long but well thought-out response; he's a lot more forgiving than me).
People have said that Goodes should basically suck it up and move on.  I mean, how can a 13-year-old hurt a grown man?  Well, from personal experience, it does hurt when a middle schooler points to you and says, "What is that?!" It hurts just as much as when an adult says something insulting. Around the same time of the Goodes "ape" incident, famous soccer player Didier Drogba was taunted with a banana in Turkey during a game The former Chelsea frontman visited the house of the country's Sports Minister Suat Kilic following an incident between his club and Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce in which two fans were photographed holding bananas and making allegedly making racist gestures towards the Ivorian.
That was not the first time in the world, it happens. I am really happy in Turkey and I know that it was just an individual act," Drogba, who joined Galatasaray earlier in 2013, told Hurriyet Daily News.
Kilic claimed that it had not crossed his mind that the fans had the intention of being racist but, in hindsight, was upset by the actions of a tiny proportion of Fernerbahce fans.
“When I was watching, I thought that he would just throw the banana on to the pitch, I did not have the slightest idea that it was a racist gesture. The incidents saddened us like you,” the politician said. 
Fenerbahce attacker Pierre Webo, a Cameroon international, scored both his team’s goals in the club's 2-1 win over Drogba's Galatasaray and appeared to claim that ignoring the problem is the best course of action. 
He said: "I think it is best not to speak of it. The more we speak, the worse it gets. That was just not right. We know what racism is but we are very comfortable in Turkey."
I think it's sad when both a player and those in charge recognize an incident of racism but choose to sweep it under the rug.  I feel like this cases like this happen the most in the soccer world, especially in countries like Russia (who will host the World Cup in a few years), the Ukraine, Italy, etc.  It seems like more bananas are being thrown on fields in front of black players than tossed in breakfast cereal.  There are monetary penalties that can be levied against clubs with racists fans in some competitions, but harsher punishments (like excluding a club entirely) are often discussed but never implemented.
 
Inter Milan fans waving a plastic banana at Italian-born Mario Balotelli.
Source: The Telegraph

In my opinion, wanting to ignore this horrible trend, even when one knows what's happening is wrong, goes with this endless strive I've been noticing lately to be as PC as possible.  C'mon, just call it was it is - a racial slur/gesture/whatever.  Then punish people properly for dragging their backwards views into something that's supposed to be enjoyable for everyone.  
But that would be too much to ask, right?

9 comments:

  1. Awww man I read about Adam Goode a month ago.I'm glad to see that it had made it here.

    If I read about another person not wanting to be held accountable for their actions I'm going to scream.I'm tired of the centuries old excuse by telling people like Adam to swallow it.Yet, Trayvon Martin was 17 and this racist critics are praising his death.This girl is 13 years old. She know better and she shouldn't be given a pass for what she did. He's Aboriginal and she White. She called Adam as racist name.She knows that. So don't want to hear it.

    I agree that it is sad that some of these players suck this kind of racism up which isn't good .I remembered reading about a soccer named Kevin Prince Boetang who walked off the field because of what happened to him .He deserved a round of applause for his actions .I probably would have done the same if I would have endured what he did.

    I don't think racism should be ignored at all. Swallowing it up is another way of silencing POCs and keeping it alive.

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    1. "I remembered reading about a soccer named Kevin Prince Boetang who walked off the field because of what happened to him."

      I heard about that. His team followed him off the field and they didn't finish the game (with a score of 0-0 to boot!). So the other team's fans shelled out money just to fuck up their own game. I love it! It's exactly what they deserved.

      ... I wonder if the offenders went home and told their parents/friends/whoever that, uh, "somebody" was yelling slurs so the game was forfeited. Hmmm

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    2. I think a lot of players suck it up because they're more concerned about the shiny pay check they're getting. I heard about Boetang, and I'm glad he did what he did. It seems like no matter how many time players are made to give anti-racism speeches before soccer matches, racism still plagues the sport.

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  2. I think it is best not to speak of it. The more we speak, the worse it gets.

    Sure. And if we don't talk about misogyny, it'll go away. Same thing for homophobia. And hunger. And poverty. And crumbling infrastructure, and the declining quality of education -- oh wait. I forgot.

    Silence only works with racism.

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    1. I wonder why the mere act of being vocal is so scary to people, especially those in the marginalized group. They must really enjoy their second-class status.

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  3. I am sick and tired of the excuses when someone from the alabaster clan shows their racist ass. When it's not how young they are, it's how old they are and that they're from a different time. Or they were drunk. Or they were being robbed at the time. Or they're from (insert cardinal point and geographic location here), and that's how they are. I do not give a damn! THIS is why this sore will never heal, because people would rather make excuses and dismiss the behaviour instead of seeing that there is something stink and rotten in their midst - oh, and make the targets of racism look like the ones causing the problems.

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    1. You're right, there always seems to be some sort of excuse for why they're not culpable. That and the constant victim blaming rearing its head. I like how people want to make it seem like Goodes was bullying her for no reason or something.

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  4. Adam Goode did the right thing in calling out the girl's racism. 13 or not, stupid is as stupid does. At least at that age she can still come to her senses, it's not too late. But the racism in football has been going on for ages. The Euro 2012 hosted by Ukraine & Poland is one good example. But I suppose for some people ignoring it is a better option than confronting it outright, for whatever reason. But like you point out Nicolette, it helps none =/

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    1. He definitely did. I feel like it never ends. I do remember watching Euro 2012, there was so much drama around that. It seems like FIFA handed Russia the 2018 world cup because they haven't had it before, but there's a *reason* for that. So much racism in the Russian league. Why let them host a competition which will attract people from all over the world?

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