Monday November 4 2019
Many Italians don't understand racism

Football fans are a mere microcosm of society and what Mario Balotelli faced in Verona reflected a larger issue, writes Susy Campanale.

Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist abuse at the Stadio Bentegodi. This, somehow, is still up for debate in Italy. It is not about Italian football at this point, nor is it helpful to note all the recent incidents of racism in the Premier League, Ligue 1 and most blatantly in Bulgaria.

Calling for entire nations to be thrown out of various competitions is also not going to achieve anything, other than pinning a badge of wokeness on your lapel. It’s not going to happen, we all know that, because it’d be impractical and football is now such a business-oriented sport that nobody will put billions at risk thanks to a few idiots.

The problem I see when discussing this is a more fundamental concern: different nations and people within those countries have very different ideas of what constitutes racism.

I am proud of my Italian heritage, always will be, but I also have no shame in admitting it is a country decades behind Britain and even most of Europe in terms of race relations. Blackface is still shown on primetime television, the most popular quiz show has a regular skit where the host puts on a Chinese hat, pulls his eyes to make them ‘slitty’ and replaces all the Rs in his words with an L. This is a nation where Matteo Salvini and the Lega Nord are realistically now the most popular political party, where leaving a hundred refugees floating on the sea for weeks and weeks rather than letting them board is considered a wise policy decision.

How far behind are Italy? Last week, Parliament voted to institute a new commission to examine and fight hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism. The right-wing parties abstained and then refused to stand for the woman who proposed the commission, Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre, claiming the idea of clamping down on hate speech was “Orwellian” and “Soviet.”

Last month, Juan Jesus received offensive Instagram messages from a Roma supporter – his own club – and that man gave an interview with a major newspaper assuring he did call the Brazilian an ape and say he ought to be in a zoo, but that he was “certainly not racist.” We live in a world where people think they can say racist things and somehow not actually be racist. And they genuinely believe that.

Lazio President Claudio Lotito proudly declared during a speech about battling racism that their supporters weren’t just targeting black players, they also booed “those with normal skin.” And he didn’t see an issue with that wording at all.  

Hellas Verona coach Ivan Juric and President Maurizio Setti argued passionately that their fans were being dragged through the mud because there was no racist chanting towards Balotelli. Helpfully, a Verona fan himself posted a video of the incident just before Balotelli kicked the ball into that very section of the stands, which he assured was proof that there was no racist abuse. The fact the clip contained clearly audible ‘monkey noises’ apparently slipped him by. “Do you hear racist abuse towards Balotelli? Or did the genius just want attention?” It is what the Twitterverse would call a perfect self-own.

Here lies the other problem we are all facing, and I mean everyone all over the world, so get off your high horses about Italy at this point: social media has changed the way people relate to each other. Mob mentalities are created, the false bravery afforded by anonymity, the idea all at once that celebrities have to see our messages – they appear in a timeline, don’t even have to click on your account or single you out – and are at our disposal because we pay to see their films/football matches/gigs, etc.

These are human beings. They owe you nothing other than a performance during the precise period you paid to partake in. You are not owed a selfie when they are going about their daily business. You are not owed a tweet, especially when asked with utter rudeness. And no, the celebrities are not ‘full of themselves’ or ‘forgetting who got you there’ if they happen to take affront to a complete stranger insulting them out of the blue.

Does social media breed racism? Perhaps. It certainly is taking away the thin veil of shame that many people had about expressing those views in public. Just look at the political discourse in Britain and America, those most ‘woke’ of nations who feel smug about the racism of other backwards countries and prefer to ignore the same scourge they face at home. Look at their media coverage of issues like immigration and national identity. The racism is always there, it’s just some nations and individuals accept the need to be politely ashamed of expressing it in public.

Maybe that’s the reason racist abuse is so rife in Italian football – many people in the stands and the media genuinely don’t understand calling someone an animal, something less than a human being, is racist rather than just banter or any other insult. We can’t blame football clubs for that. It’s all on society.

Have your say...
History and geopolitical factors have created a deep rooted sense of racism in Italy. Its adherence to these factors could be solved by an extended period of economic stability and a state sponsored immigration program that allows immigrants opportunities to thrive. At the present moment, most immigrants struggle and the perception of their struggle is misinterpreted.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 8:19pm
@ Phil-who is claiming victim or aggressor here? What I stated is historical fact, nothing complicated about it? It's all a matter of you've got something I want and I'm going to steal it? Poor immigrants to Europe is the same as Europeans to the Americas etc... It's just that the Europeans wanted to steal and murder if they had to, for wealth, today's immigrants to Europe 95% no! That complicated business is just White people lies to cover-up. Thanksgiving day is just the way said, Indian love.
on the 12th November, 2019 at 11:41am
Goooo phil
on the 9th November, 2019 at 7:59pm
@Anonymous said:

"In Europe it’s especially amazing how willingly they give up freedom of speech. God bless the 1st amendment in the USA."

In America's NFL & MLB stadiums, fans are ejected and banned all the time for offensive behaviour using video cameras; *all* fan signage is prohibited from SuperBowl. Players are fined and banned for taking a knee during pre-game anthem. You must get your facts from Pino's AM talk radio show.
on the 9th November, 2019 at 4:10pm
“These Italian stadiums need what premiership stadiums have which is cctv and tracking of exactly who is sitting in which seat. That way the persons i.d. can be tracked and they never buy another ticket again.

Hey thats called technology.”

No, that’s called a police state. Amazing how people willingly give up their liberties. In Europe it’s especially amazing how willingly they give up freedom of speech.

God bless the 1st amendment in the USA.
on the 9th November, 2019 at 12:47pm

"So European should take blame for activities from 100s of years ago?"

Also Phil

"Slavery was started by the Arab & Hebrews was going on well before Europeans joined in"

Your undisputed lack of a functional brain isn't mind-boggling, as I see a lottttttt of humans who can somehow manage to live without an actual brain.

Science would be thankful if you do not reproduce, as the number of toxic jackasses in the entire world is definitely a lot higher than expected.
on the 9th November, 2019 at 7:02am

They are Italian criminal organizations run by Italian people operating from Italian soil right now with full knowledge of the Italian government... Italy is polluting the world with criminals.

Who do you think is responsible for them, the Eskimos??
on the 9th November, 2019 at 1:17am
Go spout your revisionism somewhere where people care.

Your worldview is for fragile people who settle for the most self-serving, comforting explanation possible of complex events because they are afraid to examine themselves, their roles, and too lazy or frightened to read anything that might threaten their biases and beliefs.

It is a cowardly denial of reality and responsibility.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 5:11pm
@Calcio per Sempre

Yes only a idiot would do that what im saying is at least understand why such things are inevitable.


You know Nothing , Slavery was started by the Arab & Hebrews was going on well before Europeans joined in and would STILL be going on if Europeans didnt Outlaw it ( People never like to mention that fact ). My views/words are not extreme you just have no critical thought or thinking...( Low IQ ).
on the 8th November, 2019 at 1:50pm

The problem is its became afew syrian refugees to absolutely anyone who wants to come which is unsustainable obviously. Africa is poor because years of useless policys & socialist / communist regimes which for the most part is self inflicted the only one that needs a history you. Angry ? No just see where this leads.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 1:42pm
@Amo Italy Your Ancestors Sins & Triumphs are not yours to claim Nor do they give you the right to shout victim or aggressor. Most refugees are Economic migrants thats a fact & not current europeans problem who btw supply almost all charity & aid to places such as africa/middle east for least last 70 years.

Ps Thanksgiving is abit more complicated than that.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 1:38pm
So back to the original subject, Brescia's own fans have now sided with the Verona Ultras in the racism row. What a classy move. Whilst the Ultras are so vocal and have such control over clubs, in footballing terms, Italy is a third world country. I wonder if Gullitt/Rijkaard/Weah et al were ever abused like this. I don't remember these incidents in the 90s when Serie A was THE league. Now it's a D league.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 9:24am
You should probably just quit posting in the name of damage control. You are just exposing yourself as gullible fool lacking in wits, empathy, and self-awareness.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 1:10am
@Pino, you're a perfect example of an ignorant fool who has been brain washed by the west media. Bravo!
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:56pm
All they do is paint these contries leaders like vile dictators in the media, and you fools fall for it everytime. It happend in Irak, Libya, and Syria. It's never been about stopping a so called Dictato only a fool would think like that. It's about destabilization. And it's America, Israel, and Great Britain who are the true dictators of this world.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 10:27pm
Damn Pino you are crazy. Ghadaffi gave women the right to vote. Gave women the right to get a driving licence. Gave women the freedom to do what they wanted without permission from a man. Gave all of Libya access to water, and promised to give every libian a house, and their own property. The workings of a dictator Pino says....
on the 7th November, 2019 at 10:20pm
@Pino I don't care about the Libyans. The revolution was their idea, not ours . We just took a side to try and help them have democracy and get rid of a confessed terrorist (see Pan Am Flight 103).

I don't care what the situation is in Libya today; it's up to the Libyans to decide their own future after we got rid of their dictator. We don't owe them anything. If anything, they owe us for helping them out.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 8:40pm
@Giancarlo C's Mom LOL Ghadaffi literally ordered civilian airliners blown up. He was a terrorist and deserved everything he got.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 8:38pm
@SPQR Unless you're being a racist and claiming somehow that all Italians have something to do with the mafia in any of its forms, Italy and Italians owe the world nothing.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 8:37pm

Yes, you are right. Not only is "scientific racism" long and totally discredited, the scientific community does not even use the concept of race anymore at all because there is no biological basis for it.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 5:47pm

"Fighting terrorism"
Lol what a joke. I'm sure you'll leave cookies for Santa on Christmas eve too.

You have no idea what you are talking about.
Libya now is in civil war with open-air slave markets, concentration camps, and 10,000s dead due to an illegal attack by NATO.
I'm sure they appreciate the favour.
Sounds a lot like terrorism to me.

You need to re-examine your worldview. And do some research before you reply instead of parroting blatant state propaganda.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 5:44pm
@Pino, You know nothing about crisis in Libya but you spoke here like you know what's happening in there.In contrary to what you said, Ghaddafi was a great leader.He took good care of his ppl.Go ahead ask Libyan.Libya was a rich country until the West bandits obeyed their master(World Bank) to overthrown him with fake news fake jihadist and NATO.Why? Because he wanted to free his country from economic slavery.Now there's nothing left but chaos in Libya thanks to the West.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 5:31pm
Hey @Pino,

What do Italians owe for Comorra, 'Ndrangheta and Sicilian Mafia --biggest illegal drug, weapons, & human traffickers, extortionists, and money-launderers? They are doing this garbage all over the globe right now, today... I guess the migrants made them do it, ya right...
on the 7th November, 2019 at 4:47pm

Overthrowing Ghaddafi wasn't colonialism, it was fighting terrorism. The West did the Libyans a favor, who had been suffering under him for nearly 40 years.

Italy owes the Muslim world nothing, and Italians owe nothing to anyone, unless they actually do something TODAY, not 200 or 2000 years ago.

What's next, Italians owe the French reparations for Caesar invading Gaul? Where does the madness end?
on the 7th November, 2019 at 3:09pm
You are one of few here who are on to something.

People from these countries you mentioned just regard racism differently, especially compared to way more racism/aware nations like UK, US and CA.

Now Lazio fans have stabbed two Celtic supporters. This might not have anything to do with racism, but it put yet another stain on the reputation of Italian football: of being violent, racist and corrupt.

Why should global football fans care abut Seria A?
Why should big brands?
on the 7th November, 2019 at 1:36pm
Such hypocrisy from my countrymen. ITALIANS operate the worst ciminal organizations in every part of the globe for a hundred years now… yet you vilify migrants and refugees as savages. ITALIAN “caporale” force migrants to work their farms in near-slavery… yet you call the migrants lazy and parasites. ‘NDRANGHETA partner with Nigerian gangs to traffic African women into Europe for prostitution. Racist fans should look in the mirror for once.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 1:10pm
There are people here talking about all sorts of stuff how immigrants have killed UK culture how there is sharia law in London. WTF has this got to do with the point of this thread?Saying these things happen elsewhere does not detract from the point that Susy is making. Going back to your comment that I am making this a black and white thing. Please quote where in my post that I did that bearing in mind that this is a post about racial abuse against black players. Or show me where this article
on the 7th November, 2019 at 12:01pm
denying they heard monkey chants. The old man who said Lukaku to be stopped needed to be given a banana didn't understand that its no longer banter if he meant it in a joking manner. Those are the people I denounced but you come with your cliche ridden "he is aggressive, hes got a chip on his shoulder" crap. He attacks you If someone does not agree with his opinion. What opinion? I aint given no opinion here. I didnt like Dan going on about immigration et al as this is not the forum for it.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:53am
is about racism towards black people, That is what this article was about and you accuse me of making it a black and white thing. If this was about racism in general then you'd have had a point. I said I am happy to meet up with anyone that is of a racist bent and let them make monkey chant. Whether you like it or not there are a few racists that post on here. I was paraphrasing Koulibally who said they do not do it to your face. I attacked people like Juric, Balakov the ultra now banned 4
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:47am
@ITA I have just reread your 1st post going on about an irrelevant rant about Balo as if he experiences no racism at all. Then talking garbage about double standards involving Italians as if anyone said mocking Italians is not racist. Dude you couldn't knock off a chip at KFC and did you really think I'm fool enough to meet up with a random person off the net who might be an ultra bringing with him his mob mentality buddies? Move mountains? Try a mole hill first. This thread is about racism
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:40am

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