Where do you draw the line

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by MyHouse!, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. MyHouse!

    MyHouse! Member

    Mar 12, 2000
    Tallahassee
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In light of the discussion on the goal celebration elsewhere in this forum and the comments of Juan Aragones about Theirry Henry, I have to ask of my White European brothers and sisters...

    Where exactly do you draw the line? What does it take for something to be termed racial abuse in your eyes.

    If someone called me a Black piece of shyte as Aragones did Henry, they'd have a fight on their hands. ARagones, as people always do, immediately talked about how many Black friends he has and how it was just a joke etc. But even most White Americans wouldn't do or say something to that effect and not expect a confrontation.

    It was interesting reading the differing opinions on the goal celebration of the Brazillian who celebrated in front of the Japenese club's bench with faux karate chops. The Europeans thought it was ok, the Asians didn't.

    I'm curious what it takes, in the eyes of a White European, for something to be termed racist because obviously it's a much different standard there than it is in the US. Does it have to be a banana, or the use of the N-word or calling a west Asian a "paki".

    Why are monkey sounds at a soccer match acceptable and not considered racist but spitting on someone as what happened to Robbie Russel in Norway not?

    Are certain words ok but others not?

    Help me understand this, I'm really curious.
     
  2. tpmazembe

    tpmazembe Member

    Jun 13, 2002
    The Midfield (S.Fla)
    I hope you get some thoughful responses. In the 2 years or so on these boards I've asked myself the same question.

    You've got the guts to ask, hopefully you'll get some answers...
     
  3. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    I think you can't generalize about "people", which is part of the problem. I don't know who, for instance, thinks that monkey noises are OK.
    I do know that I was startled by Aragones's comment, but would be curious about the opinions of a black Spanish speaker - someone Dominican, to take one example, as to what those words would mean to him. Spain has no long standing history of racism, so certain things we take to be almost certainly offensive, they would not think about. Its a different mindset that's sometimes hard to understand.
    As for the karate chops, I thought that was a bit offensive, yeah. But did most Asians? Its a tough call.
     
  4. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    I see no line.
     
  5. sendorange

    sendorange Member+

    Jun 7, 2003
    Bigsoccer.com
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    To use the term 'Europeans', as though all the countries in Europe view things the same way is inaccurate.

    Racism is any act which discriminates against people according to their ethnicity/race. I think this holds true in virtually every country in the world. Whether it's calling someone a name, or throwing a banana at them. I think the karate chop thing is also racism, although maybe more culturally insensitive and ignorant than anything else.

    Monkey noises are clearly racist and result in fines and stadium closures by UEFA, although in general it is viewed that they do not go far enough on these matters as an organisation. This particular problem is mostly from fringe elements in Eastern European countries, it's important to bear in mind they do not have multicultural societies yet and therefore the exposure to other races and cultures. Every society and region in the world, yes western Europe and including the good old USA as well, has had racists to varying extents and continues to do so. Most Western countries have managed to work to solve this problem and have multicultural societies, but it's unrealistic to expect every society to be at the same point and have no problems. The only cure for racism is education and exposure to other ethnic cultures, in this respect I can understand UEFA not being too harsh on the clubs, as it's a problem that needs to be solved by society, not by a footballing body whose harsh actions may antogonise people by tarring them all with the same brush and creating a culture of Us vs Them.

    As for this Aragones thing, it was a strange situation, on the face of it the statement when translated to English was clearly racist and Aragones should be out of a job like Ron Atkinson. But then it's a translation and has been subject to hype by the media, so I'm not entirely sure if it's as bad as it sounds at first. As Nicephoras rightly said (can't believe I'm saying that) it needs a spanish speaker to clarify, and most spanish people didn't seem to view it that way.
     
  6. MyHouse!

    MyHouse! Member

    Mar 12, 2000
    Tallahassee
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    and nor did I mean to imply that they do. The Aragones quote was more widely condemned in England from what I read than in Spain. So of course there are varying views on just how offensive it is.

    But why, is it acceptable, for example that specify someone as a "negro de ************". Here in the US (which is still a country very troubled by its racist past and present) you wouldn't even refer to a person's ethnicity if it (the ethnicity) didn't matter. Why is that cool in certain parts of Europe?
     
  7. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    Did he indeed say negro de ************? When I last commented on all this it was apparent from the earlier posts that he hadn't likely said that, that the swear word had been added by the translation. That would obviously be an insult and likely racist.

    As for why it's ok to refer to someone's ethnicity if it doesn't matter, well if it doesn't matter then it's ok. Language/culture are very difficult things to understand or justify. If in one group of people saying "negro" is understood as a way of identifying the person such as blonde or tall, then that's what it means - people outside the group in question can't really add meaning to it.

    The best example is in the US. Among one group the n-word might be unacceptable and one of the worst possible words in the language. Among another group it's an acceptable way to refer to people. Meaning is agreed upon by those who speak the language/dialect or even sociolect, not by outsiders.
     
  8. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    Sorry about that guys. I left my computer logged in at uni. :mad:

    I'll post my real thoughts later on.
     
  9. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    This is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Everybody is different, different things are acceptable in different societyies, of which there are many in Europe.

    Seriously, if I were to call you a "black bastard", would you be so much more offended than if I called you am "American bastard"? And if you would be, why?

    I have to say, I would not be offended by any statement of my ethnicity. If someone was to call me a "white bastard" or a "scottish bastard", I would laugh at them. To me, it just is not an insult. I do understand that in Europe and America, black people have been much more racially abused than white, but from what I see nowadays, it's just not an issue, that's just my opinion.

    I thought the karate chop thing was a bit of harmless fun, however, if he'd done something like make slanty eyes, that would have been going too far IMO. Bananas and monkey noises are unacceptable, however, if I was racially abused like that, I would almost enjoy it, I would use it to spur me on and get it right up the minority (and that's what it is) of these neanderthals.
     
  10. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    I know this wasn't addressed to me, but as a Black American, I'll give an answer for myself, and maybe you can gain some insight from it.

    I probably wouldn't be very offended at all if you called me an American bastard, but if you called me a black bastard, I'd be highly offended.

    First, the order/level of importance will always favor my race. A jab at my nationality isn't really personal, because while I know I've never done anything as an American to offend anyone from another nation, some of my countrymen likely have. I'd probably think "He's upset about US foreign policy/Americanization of his country's culture in some form or fashion", and that I could understand. But there's no reason for anyone to be upset about my ethnicity- any comments they made on that level would originate from their prejudices alone. Big difference.

    Second, the process of claiming full citizenship and humanity in America took centuries, and was/is opposed by some people to this day. The struggle here is reason enough for me not to get bent out of shape because of a blanket stab at Americans.

    Well, I'd never use such a slur, except in response to one delivered at me. I've been guilty of returning fire on more than one occasion. But given the different position of the races on the food chain, I can see why you'd laugh it off.

    Not trying to begin a debate here, but why do you see a difference? The karate chop is, in this case, associated with Asian culture. Slanted eyes are associated with Asian physical features. Bananas and monkey noises say, "Black people are apes". The intent -to insult/demean the opponent's ethnicity- is the same.
     
  11. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    Fair enough, I do understand that black people would be more offended by an insult to do with race, I was just interested why it would be so much worse.


    I suppose it is a totally different situation for a white Scot and a black American. In an ideal world, everybody should be able to laugh off insults like that.


    I'm not exactly sure why I see a difference. As I've said, the banana/monkey noises are unacceptable and an embarresement to those concerned. I think everybody would agree that making a slanted eyes action is definately out of order but the karate chop is more of a gray area. Why exactly do you think it is offensive.
     
  12. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Well, as I said before, the intent is the same. People make monkey noises to show their belief that Black people are apes. Similarly, people make karate chops to demean some aspect of an Asian player's ethnicity. Of course, martial arts training and practice are global, but the origins (IIRC) are Asian, and so any such reference can be considered an attack on the player's ethnicity. Again, we're talking about intent. Imagine a Lazio-Arsenal match where Lazio fans made karate chops whenever Henry touched the ball. That's not going to happen, as Henry isn't Asian.
     
  13. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    A. I did not think he did say "negro de ******". I thought it was simply negro.
    B. And again - in the US that would definitely be taboo. But if, lets say, you said "you can do better than that Scottish bastard" here, I don't think it would get the same response. We just aren't emotionally invested in racial/ethnic slurs against Scots. In Spain, that may be true of black players. Had he called, say, Guardiola a dirty Catalan, that might be far more offensive in Spain. (I don't actually know that, btw.) However, that'd produce no reaction here. So I think if black Spanish speakers don't see it as a problem, I can only assume that Aragones said something that's offensive to us because of our preconceived notions, not because he meant to say something offensive.
    I haven't run out and asked anyone what they think, but the reaction I've seen from most Spanish speakers has been to downplay the incident. That's what I'm going on, really.
     
  14. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    Truly, the apocalypse is upon us. :p
     
  15. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The next time the US plays South Korea I hope we give up a goal.

    This way, the South Korean goal scorer will celebrate by trying to emulate a gymnast on the horse and break his neck on the dismount.
     
  16. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    It's a tough one to call. I don't usually see anything wrong with most "insults". It just doesn't bother me that much. Obviously there is a line somewhere to distinguish between an insult and blatant racial abuse. Where that is, I'm not too sure because it differs defending on the region. The key issue is consistancy in my opinion. You could say exactly the same thing to people, but by changing white to black, you are almost instantly transformed into a racist. Since there can never be a set line, the debate should instead be about trying to find this consistancy.
     
  17. MyHouse!

    MyHouse! Member

    Mar 12, 2000
    Tallahassee
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    But why are insults, in your view, acceptable.
     
  18. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    Insults will always happen. There;s no point in getting worked up about it.
     
  19. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    Exactly. They will happen regardless. Why bother getting all worked up about what some idiot has said. That is being incredibly weak and allowing them to win.
     
  20. MyHouse!

    MyHouse! Member

    Mar 12, 2000
    Tallahassee
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So someone insults me by calling me niqqer or some other racial name, I'm NOT supposed to be upset? In Europe, what is the difference an insult and racial abuse.
     
  21. Almogavar92

    Almogavar92 New Member

    Aug 17, 2001
    USA
    Club:
    Galatasaray SK
    Nat'l Team:
    Korea Republic
    How f***ing gratuitous is this comment? What the f*** does this have to do with the question posed in this thread? So we celebrated by referring to a speedskating decision... and what does that have to do with race?

    It's funny to see how people respond to ape/monkey noises as being immediately condemned as racist but gestures mimicking karate punches/chops are seen as "harmless" by some or "irrelevant" by others. To make monkey noises somehow implies that blacks are of the same species and thus this is wrong, so why is the karate chop gesture not seen as the same attempt to imply that every Asian (from either China, Korea or Japan) practices martial arts? Sure, a lot of our kids do participate in these martial arts (and a lot of them are good at it). But one form of stereotype shouldn't be seen as more/less harmless than another. In the case of the "karate chop" scenario, the celebration was done after a goal was scored in front of Jubilo Iwata's bench...pure provocation. But with some of the responses here, you'd figure that Asians get too uptight when we fail to see the humor in this.... Imagine an Asian side playing an African club side and scoring a goal and then start to leap about mimicking monkeys in front of that bench? Celebrating goals and even a little provocation make football interesting (not fun all the time because of some backlash). But when it's taken to the level of mocking one's ethnicity it's going far.
     
  22. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    It was never about "getting worked up". No reason this discussion can't be held without animosity or excitement.

    But in this very thread, certain ways of demeaning other cultures (karate chops) have been dismissed as harmless while others (making "slant-eyed" faces, monkey noises, and throwing bananas) are considered over the "line". The thread's topic simply asks where the line should be drawn. No one's given a reasonable answer.

    What I hoped when I saw the thread's title is that someone would provide a clearly enforceable code regarding denigration of other cultures. That hasn't happened yet. If we were to simply abandon all morality and suggest that it's an individual issue, even the monkey noises and banana throwing (I consider the "projectile" issue to be separate) would be acceptable, because obviously, some people do it. If we were to insist that all players be treated as human beings, even while they're on the pitch, that would probably alienate some "fans" who excuse their particular brand of racism by attaching higher levels of offensiveness to what others do.

    To their credit, no one here has suggested that "anything goes on an individual level". But neither has anyone here given a good clear reason for accepting any of it, other than to say that it cannot be prevented entirely. (I'm not sure that's the case- this crap is practically nonexistent in American football, but that's for another thread).

    So, where do we all draw the line, and how do we insure that the line is not crossed?
     
  23. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    That's a personal insult to you, I'm talking about insults in general. I don't generally have a problem with human beings abusing other human beings, as long as it's not taken too far.
     
  24. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    It's probably viewed differently because, making a monkey noise to a black team is demeaning their whole race, whereas the karate chop was not aimed at an actual race, but one or two countries. If a slanty eyed face had been made, it would be a slur on that race.

    IMO, there is a difference.
     
  25. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    I know, but it's quite silly to talk about stopping insults all together or trying do away with all insults, personal or otherwise.
    If you read my previous post, you'll see why I think that is. Nobody here can give you a straight answer, certainly not a straight answer, as people have pointed out, what is insulting to one person is not to the next, different cultures abuse different types of people and have different values regarding this.
    As I've said, nobody can give you a straight forward code of conduct. Nobody is saying this is an individual problem or that it's fine to let it go on. But what do you want to happen? Create a body which rates all insults at football games and punioshes those involved accordingly? That's impossible. Education usually does a good job of stamping this out. In the 80s, when black plaers first started appearing in Scottish football, there was a lot of racism going on at the grounds, 15/20 years on, it dosen't happen on a large scale. I'm not saying that ignoring it is the best policy mind.

    ?[/QUOTE]
     

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