There is more to emancipation than the opposition of racism –
“There is more to emancipation than the opposition of racism” Paul Gilroy
This is a quote that I found memorable because I see it’s truthfulness most days. It is especially evident in black footballers.
I only ever hear black footballers draw attention to their blackness when they are reminded of it by a racist. It is rarely a topic of conversation when they are interviewed or when they are seen to be charitable. It is rarely an identity asserted when talking about their pathways into professional sport.
I would argue the same goes for observers too. For them, the premiership is 25% black when there is a race furore. When there is none, it is simply 100% of everyone. Black footballers are footballers first, but so obviously black when treated differently (treated differently in public, that is).
Diversity was meant to be good to us. Multicultralism was meant to be the zenith of our ordeal. But there is nothing multicultural about our best paid professional footballers. White or black our footballers use the same language, have the same education, the same taste in cars, clothes, cuisine, and quite glaringly, women.
You should never judge a book by it’s cover but if you show me your life partner, I’ll hazard a guess at your character. Spray tan, fake hair, trashy handbags, fake tits. A bit ropey looking. What do these women have that they want their children to inherit?
I think Paul Gilroy may dislike the entity that our footballers have become. Absorbed in anti-racism, they think people ‘seeing past their skin’ is enough. It’s a tragedy because they have learnt to see past their own skin too. A wealth of high achieving black figures in society doesn’t mean much to me if those figures don’t think anything of being ‘black’ in the first place.
To return to my earlier point.
I only ever hear black footballers draw attention to their blackness when they are reminded of it by a racist.
They rightly denounce racism at the point it is met, but never relish in pro-blackness at any other point of time. Cornrows and locs do not count.
Yesterday evening maybe a million men fell in love Thierry Henry all over again. He made those men ‘see past the colour his skin’. Louis Saha, due to his poor form, prompted at least one gentlemen to decide he had looked far enough.
This post is about anti-racism and how it does people of colour in Britain no good. By encouraging us to ignore race, we are being told to ignore ourselves. To get us to this stage within two generations is a victory for hegemony indeed. Our race is more than just skin. Our race is history, culture, victory, struggle, science, family, food, life…
I don’t want Louis Saha to tweet about a racist that calls him a n*****. Any black person that hasn’t been called a n***** on twitter hasn’t made their ethnicity obvious enough. I want him to tweet about the times he feels a bit of black, or cultural pride. When he remembers people who went through the physical abuse who he did not have to. When he wakes up and looks in the mirror and loves the colour that is staring back at him.
Oppose racism, yes. Fight ignorance – do it every day. But save some time to celebrate yourself too. If we don’t celebrate ourselves, no one else will.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who lamented the lack of Somali individuals in the public eye. I would advise her to be careful what she wishes for. For all the black footballers (not of Somali descent) cumulatively earning millions and being gifted combined audiences of many millions more, I don’t think we have made any progress. I think things have got worse.
Pardon me, brother, while you stand in your glory
I know you won’t mind if I tell the whole story
Pardon me, brother, I know we’ve come a long, long way
But let us not be so satisfied for tomorrow can be an
An even brighter day