A footballing thought experiment

A footballing thought experiment:

  1. This is prompted by Alvaro Morata’s request for Chelsea fans to stop chanting the “Y-Word” https://twitter.com/AlvaroMorata/status/906579973443608576
  2. (The full wording of the chant is available here: https://twitter.com/BenXin16/status/906602917918109696)
  3. Some point out that the term can be an indicator of more than just “football banter”. https://twitter.com/craig4589/status/906606002778370049
  4. A point also made effectively made in this short video by @kickitout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIvJC1_hKt8
  5. Inevitably, some have pointed out that Spurs fans chant the same thing…

 

 

  1. …and so argue that Chelsea fans should not be reproached for doing so. https://twitter.com/Murphy90_/status/906853400255528960

 

  1. Some say the term is used as a form of abuse against Spurs fans only, not against Jews… https://twitter.com/jaspermather26/status/906601677528223744

 

  1. …although Jewish fans of other clubs point out their dislike of the term. https://twitter.com/lu1820/status/906581267155701767

 

 

  1. However, some Spurs fans remain proud to refer to themselves as “Yid Army” https://twitter.com/stephenpollard/status/833353372786896896

 

  1. They argue they are reclaiming the word from opposing fans who initially chanted the term at them, and/or that it’s just a bit of fun.

 

  1. I don’t buy that: it normalises a racist term. @DavidHirsh explains why here: https://leftfootforward.org/2013/09/spurs-yid-antisemitism/

 

  1. Now for a comparable situation from history. Not a perfect analogy, but some parallels.

 

  1. Back in the ‘80s, John Barnes became the first black player to sign for Liverpool from another club.

 

  1. At derby matches, Everton fans chanted “N-rpool” and proudly asserted, “Everton are white!” https://megabackup.com/g/vvgt

 

  1. It is hard to imagine cruder or uglier racism.
  2. Such vile language is still used today as part of a broader racist discourse: https://megabackup.com/g/148v8

 

  1. Imagine Liverpool fans, purporting to show solidarity with Barnes, had adopted the “N-rpool” term for themselves or had started chanting “N-r army.”

 

  1. Would black Liverpool fans have initiated or welcomed this? (Doubtful)

 

  1. Would racist fans of other clubs have justified themselves by saying, “It’s what they call themselves”? (Probably)

 

  1. Would those racist fans have said to the black fans of their own clubs, “You’re following the wrong team, go and support that lot”? (Probably)

 

  1. Would black fans of other clubs not have pleaded Liverpool fans to stop using that term? (Almost certainly)

 

  1. No serious antiracist would think twice about denouncing the use of such language, either then or now. https://twitter.com/anfieldhq/status/575680093076484097

 

  1. I’m sure you can see where I’m heading. The time has come for fans of all clubs, including Spurs, to stop using the Y-Word.

 

  1. Some may object: “But the 80s was v different, we’ve come a long way since then.”

 

  1. They prove my point. Use of racist language about other ethnic minorities at football matches (and elsewhere) is now frowned upon.

 

  1. The use of racist language about Jews now needs to be treated in the same way. No matter who uses it and what their intentions are.

 

  1. @AlvaroMorata is to be commended for his appeal to Chelsea fans to stop using the Y-Word.

 

  1. Spurs fans need to stop using it too. Perhaps we now need a Spurs player to say the same thing as Morata. (End)

 

 

 

 

 

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