If , like me, you keep an eye on the British media and the way that it reports race, then you will not have let events of December 2011 go unnoticed.
Seasoned observers of the media will recognise that headlines seem to be on a perpetual carousel, every now and again racism rears its ugly head. This December there were four prominent articles regarding racism all at the same time. The way the media handled each one was different let’s take a look.
Firstly, we had the race row that erupted during the football match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United. In this match Mr Patrice Evra said that Mr Luis Suarez racially abused him Mr Suarez denied the claims the press would very quick to side with ever, was this right ? you look at this later .
Then we had the re-trial of the suspects accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence back in 1993 back in football, we had John Terry accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Then in the world of politics. Labour MP Diane created a storm amongst voters and political opponents with a very foolish tweet.
The way that the media handled all of these cases was completely different.The reason for writing this post so far after the facts is simplyt to look at the hypocrisy that exists within the British media, and to reflect on how some of us in the British public seemed to just love to go along with it all.
People of colour have been subjected to racism for years, it’s nothing new to us. that doesn’t make it right. However, if we are to remain credible all cries or claims of racism have to be objectively substantiated. If someone cries racism and that accusation results in someone being punished because of that claim, then it is paramount that claim must be true, it must be proven to be true, by the presentation of facts. In the absence of facts, all we have is our memory, our account, however accurate is not evidence or proof.
Presenting our account without facts, should really be completely invalid as evidence in a court or tribunal. Anyone who cries racism when there is no proof of racism, is only making a statement, they are retelling their version of events.
To have someone punished on the basis of a claim of racism without any substantiated evidence seems to me completely bogus. Would you want to be convicted or found guilty of committing a crime when there was no evidence other than an unsubstantiated claim of someone who said that you did something.
Racism in Football
The Evra / Suarez case is particularly unique because none of the other footballers on the pitch heard any racial slur come from Mr Suarez It is my opinion that this counts as one man’s word against another. So many people condemned Suarez before the Official report even came out. When you read the F.A’s report Suarez admits saying the word “Negro” (Neg-ro). I think that it is important to get the use of this word into context. We must be clear that the Spanish use of “Negro” (Neg-ro). The way the Spanish use (Neg-ro) is not the same as the word The British and Americans use the word Negro (knee-Grow).
The crux, in this case basically rests on the fact that Suarez made reference to the other players colour. That is what got him bang to rights, this is what made him guilty, it wasn’t about whether he meant offence, whether the word was offensive in his country or in Britain, but the fact that he made a reference to another players colour. To claim that this was racist is not correct in my opinion, What were his motives, check Luis Suarez’s family history, his own grandfather was black. Maybe you have already made up your mind based on the facts presented by the media. I’d recoment that you read the Report, and then search around the Football Forums and make up your own mind. I enclose a link to the FA’s report:
Terry V Ferdinand
Then there was John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. Apparently John Terry, the England Football Captain racially abused Anton Ferdinand of QPR. People posted video footage online claiming it as evidence of abuse. The CPS are taking this allegation seriously, Terry has been charged and will appear at Magistrate’s Court. Yet Prior to the notification by the CPS did you notice little the F.A said about this perhaps it is because John Terry is the England captain. Racism in this case has not been proved yet but it’s surprising how much vitriol Suarez recieved from the press as opposed to Terry. Is it because Suarez is from Uruguay and Terry is English? It certainly seems like double standards to me.
I am of course glad that the F.A is now taking a more robust stance on racism. I remember Everton fans throwing bananas at John Barnes, in the 1980’s, and we have all seen the disgusting treatment England’s black players get when they travel to Eastern Europe. Yet I can’t help thinking that the suarez verdict was a perfect way for the F.A to cock a snook at Sep Blatter’s disgusting dismissal of racism. I only hope that if John Terry is found Gulty, that he will recieve the same treatment as Suarez. Should he be found innocent, he should be supported by the F.A and not thrown to the baying mob.
BBC News – Terry -Ferdinand – Disputed Remarks
Stephen Lawrence Trial
Then we had the conviction of the Accused Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, 17 years ago at the bus stop in Eltham. Finally these two were back in court, again charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence, this time they were found guilty and the press went to town. Despite their crowing. very little was said about how despicable it is that it took 17 years to bring the killers to justice. At least they are behind bars now, yet it will be interesting to see if the media keep the pressure on the existing suspects because there are still several members of the original accused who are still at large.
Dianne Abbott causes Twitter Storm
If that wasn’t enough news on the Race category, Hackney MP Diane Abbott got herself into a storm over making “racist” comments on twitter she tweeted that “white people love to play divide and rule”, is it just me or was this a stupid tweet? If miss Abbott thinks white people love to play divide and rule she would be sensible to keep such thoughts to herself, given that many of her constituents are White. A politician should not be seen to be discriminating against any racial group. In her defence Miss Abbott said that the tweet was taken out of context, but she is an intelligent woman who holds a degree, and is an experienced a politician. Opposition politicians, the press and the Twitterati called for her head, she was lucky to have survived and to have kept her place in the shadow cabinet. As someone who no longer cares about the political parties in Britain, it is my conclusion that Ms Abbott has damaged her credibility, she is quick to vocally attack racism when ift affects black people, yet seems to think that making sweeping generalisations about the white race can be somehow excused.
When it comes to racism we black people have to be objective. It is no good sticking up for Diane Abbott when she makes stupid mistakes, she shames herself and ridicules the cause of anti racism. It is no good crying “racist” without providing evidence to prove that someone behaved in a racist manner. It’s simply degrades the cause and fight against real racism.
We live in a country where racism is supposedly dead. Yet it is telling indictment upon our society when we read the reason why Neville and Doreen Lawrence buried their son in Jamaica because they were so scared that if they had buried him in England his grave would have been desecrated by those who would glorify the acts of the racists.
As a final though if only the media only taken a stronger stance on racism before the 1990s Stephen Lawrence may still be walking amongst us today. It took his death for the establishment to open one eye.