Racism Comes Out of The Shadows Once Again
Whilst I was growing up, Racism in America was on the television news most evening's and although it was happening in this country, I don't recall it being in the news. I suspect it was one of those things that the BBC and the ITV felt was best kept from our screens. I certainly never came up against it in my own life until I married. My late ex-father-in-law was a racist and it got to the point where I would simply leave the room, when he started insulting those around him, who had a different colour skin, spoke a different language or indeed followed a different religion. I was brought up properly and it never occurred to me to insult a fellow human being.
Many years have passed since then and with the introduction of world travel, multicultural societies became the norm. Everyone was equal, not only in the workplace, but in the sporting world as well. Or so we thought.
In October 2011, the sporting world was rocked by not one, but two race related cases. Luis Suarez was accused of using a word in a racial manner. That word also had several meanings, depending on the company you were in. He was of course found guilty in late December and will now sit out an eight match ban and pay a fine of 40,000.
We were also made aware of an incident involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinard. Again this case has been built around the use of a word or words that have insulted the person they were aimed. The big difference here of course, is that this case will be dealt with by the courts and the sentence will be different. Once the decision is made, it is believed that it will then be passed to the Football Association to ensure it is dealt with by a sporting body.
The fall-out from both of these cases has highlighted once again that racism has been bubbling under the surface all the time. I guess it was one of those things that can be classed under the title - It was only a matter of time. There has been a massive groundswell of opinion from the media, from highly regarded people in football and from the supporters as well. In today's modern society where we are all thought to think for ourselves, you would have thought that is exactly what would happen. It did to a certain extent but then the idiots decide it's their turn to show people how clever they believe they are. The amount of vitriol and foul mouthed insults that have been thrown around the social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter has been disgraceful.
So much so, that with the New Year barely a week in, a supporter who attended the Live, rpool v Oldham FA cup game decided he would ruin what turned into a fantastic match. The player in question was Tom Adeyemi, who became visibly upset towards the game, so much so that the referee decided to stop play for several minutes. During this time Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt proved to the world that Liverpool Football Club is a very caring organisation. At this point nobody had realised that Tom had become the victim of racial abuse and it was only once the game had finished that we were aware of the full story. It appears a twenty year old man, and I use the word man, very loosely decided to let his ignorance rule his head. After a weekend of co-operation from Liverpool Football Club, he was identified and is now on police bail, whilst inquiries continue. Liverpool Football Club will ensure that he never enters Anfield again. So several minutes of ignorance has cost him a lifetime of following his team in their spiritual home - a lesson learnt, in the current climate, I really do wonder if that is the case.
Yesterday it transpired that Everton player, Louis Saha had been the victim of abuse via Twitter. A young man had without thinking, left his phone on his desk and yes, you have guessed a colleague decided to send a racist text to Louis. He has since found out and lost his job - A very harsh lesson learnt, I believe.
Ex-Liverpool Footballer, Stan Colleymore has also been the victim of racial abuse via twitter, so much so, that he has made several complaints to his local police force and a young man has again been arrested and it now out on police bail.
There were calls over the weekend for the government to look into racism in sport and thankfully it was announced earlier this afternoon that the Culture, Media and Sports Committee will begin this task on 6th March 2012. Liverpool Walton MP, Steve Rotherham will be one of those sitting to hear the evidence and it is believed that Kenny Dalglish, Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will be amongst those called to give evidence.
I dread to think when the next occurrence of ignorance or indeed pure stupidity will happen. It seems to be something that has been gathering pace over the last four months and needs to be stopped in its tracks before it damages someone's life so much so that it is beyond repair. So how can we do that, by thinking about what is written below:-
We are all members of the human race.
It does not Matter what Colour our skin is
It Does Not Matter What Language we speak
It Does Not Matter What Religion we Worship
Everyone is entitled to the same opportunities in life and nobody should ever question that.
Everyone is also entitled to be treated with the same respect.
We need to start the healing process by ensuring that people understand why it is no longer tolerated. Those of us with children need to educate them to ensure that they realise that everyone is equal.
If you work within the teaching profession ensure that lessons are immediately slotted into the curriculum. It is one of those situations at the moment that can be dealt with while the iron is hot - so to speak.
Those of you that are members of a large multicultural workforce ensure that your colleagues are made to feel extra special for a while - I dread to think what some of them are thinking right now.
So let's all see it as a challenge and ensure that it one challenge that we can and we will win. We are after all part of a very famous footballing family and that family is Liverpool Football Club, who has supporters spread throughout the globe.