Just a few seconds after the football player Bugadesaka A penalty was missed in the European Cup final on Sunday, leading to Italy’s victory, a change in the atmosphere that swept England.As the game progressed, the weeks of celebrations and national spirit that seemed to unite the entire country were washed away Racist comments Against the three black penalty shooters: Saka, Marcus Rashford with Jaden Sancho.
Looking through Saka’s Instagram account after the game, it felt as if I had traveled to England 50 years ago. The comments were full of emojis of monkeys and bananas. He was told to “get out of my country” and even mentioned using the n word. Although I am shocked, none of this will shock me. This is just a stark reminder of the unresolved culture of racism prevailing in England.
During the game, blacks joked on social media that if England loses, racism may appear. There are humorous tweets instructing black people to withdraw from the bar and lock the door if Italy wins. We all made these comments jokingly, and we didn’t expect that we would wake up the next morning to see the reality of racism.
In the aftermath of England’s loss to Italy, fans posted fierce racist comments on the players’ social media, and Conservative MP Natalie Elfik accused Rashford of “playing with politics”-referring to His campaign to end child food poverty -Instead of spending more time “perfecting his game” in WhatsApp messages to other MPs, it destroys the mural of the Manchester Westington player where he once lived.
As expected, this racism was met with almost ridiculously ironic messages from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of the Interior Pritty Patel. Johnson talked about how “horrifying” the abuse was and told racist fans to “ashamed of themselves”. Similarly, Patel “condemned the violent minority attacking” the players on Twitter. Neither Johnson nor Patel saw that they were directly responsible for creating this environment and how this racist response reflected their government.
Considering their long history of racial confrontation and insensitive record, it is difficult for anyone to take their words seriously.Johnson is the same person Compare Muslim women to “mailboxes”, Describing black Africans as “Piccaninnies” with “watermelon smile” He also stated that the problem in Africa is that Britain “is no longer responsible.”
Patel—she herself is the daughter of a Ugandan-Indian refugee—is not much better. Last summer, she labelled the “fate of black people” protests as “terrible”. Implement some of the strictest immigration policies And armed the police with greater legislative power, without taking any measures to solve the widespread problem of institutional racism.
Especially in this week’s racist incident, Patel has directly inflamed the flames of racial hatred through her systematic comments on the players’ knees in recent weeks.After hearing football fans booing on the England team kneeling to protest racism, Patel felt necessary Mark kneeling as “gesture politics” And openly defend the right of fans to boo. Now, she seems to be trying to keep her distance from the person she dotes on a few days ago. Frankly speaking, it’s too late.
Sadly, this kind of racist backlash needs to happen before England can once again face the harsh reality of the very real racism it so desperately denies. Racism in this country has been documented since ancient times, but our society refuses to recognize its existence or seriously discuss ways to combat it.This is perfectly proven by the British government Untrustworthy reports on racial and ethnic differences, Published in March this year. In that controversial report, racism was greatly downplayed, and Britain was hailed as “an example of other white-majority countries.” Tony Sewell, chair of the report, even refuted the idea that there is any evidence of actual institutional racism, and pointed out: “We no longer see the British system being deliberately manipulated against minorities.”
If this is the case, how do we explain the racist attacks this week?
In the past few years, the British government has created a culture war around “true” British values, with controversy surrounding slaver statues and flag waving. For Johnson’s Conservative Party, this is just a campaign strategy. However, as we have seen the rise of racist hate crimes, these man-made culture wars can have real and dangerous consequences. Therefore, Johnson and Patel’s tepid behavior towards racist fans this week can only be seen as hypocrisy.
Those in power should not make a performance statement against racism, but should reflect on their actions or lack of behavior and take responsibility. This need for action also extends to social media organizations that make huge profits but fail to implement effective protections against hate speech posted on their platforms. Only by fully and frankly acknowledging the existence of racism at the institutional level and accepting the complicity of the person in charge can the problem of racism be resolved.
The old saying goes well, the fish head is rotten. The racist attack on the black players of the England team is a more complicated issue than the sporadic acrimony of a few. Racism is pervasive in our society and is the result of our historic failure to resolve its core social and political problems. If this dialogue disappears from the news cycle and national dialogue after this week, we will find nothing.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.