Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Racism Today - Europe's Jackie Robinson Moments

is largely absent from US culture in general. (Yes this is one undeducated southerner's opinion.)

But what about overseas?

...15 minutes before the end of a soccer match last month between Spanish Primera Liga leaders Barcelona and rivals Real Zaragoza when Samuel Eto'o decided he'd had enough. Shouting "No mas!" the Barcelona striker turned abruptly and began to walk off the pitch. The chorus of ape noises from the stands at Zaragoza's Romareda stadium, which had sounded each time the Cameroon-born striker touched the ball, erupted louder than ever. Although the referee, other players and his coach eventually persuaded him to stay, Eto'o knew what he was doing. "This is a struggle beyond the football field," he said at a press conference a few days later. "I made my decision because fans attacked me for my color."

And this is just one such incident. France's Thierry Henry was slurred by Spanish national coach Luis Aragones last year. There are plenty of others.

Europe is at a cultural crossroads in this ignorant American's opinion. America has been overcoming this for a century now and in my opinion is way ahead of our European brethren. Whereas a slur or insensitive comment (or sound) doesn't necessarily equate to racism, it is uncalled for. Unfortunately, all of Europe is full of sports fans that are just as awful as our Philadelphia fans. But even our Philadelphians don't go there.