Anorak | Liverpool fan arrested for calling Manchester United’s Patrice Evra a monkey? Call the race police

Liverpool fan arrested for calling Manchester United’s Patrice Evra a monkey? Call the race police

by | 29th, January 2012

AND so it came to pass that one man in the stands saw fit to grunt and make monkey noise towards Patrice Evra, the Manchester United captain. Yesterday, we asked why Liverpool fans booed Evra. Their reasons are many. Liverpool versus United in the FA Cup was the first meeting between the clubs since Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was found him guilty of racially abusing Evra.

Today we wonder why one fan made like a monkey. This seems to be racist abuse. Polcie are talking the matter over with the 59-year-old from North Wales.

Chief Superintendent Jon Ward said:

“We can confirm that specialist officers are reviewing match footage, as a result of a picture posted on Twitter. This matter is now under investigation by specialist hate crime detectives.”

Yep. The police have a specialist team that watches twitter to see if one man at a football match making monkey noises is a hate crime. (Emma West might laugh.)You see how seriously the enlightened anti-racist police tackle racism? No, neither do we. This is about PR. The police are not anti-racist. the police are as prejudiced as the rest of the country’s elite institutions. It’s just that football is seen as a thing to be controlled, the fans re-educated lest the predominately working class fans shame the country and do bad things. Forget reforming the House of Lords, the upper classes or the police – just get at football.

The Macpherson Report, written in response to the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, re-defined racism. It was no longer just about inequality. Racism, as Macpherson noted, “can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people“.

His report recommended that racist incidents should be defined as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person“.

So. If Evra says he was booeed because he is black, then Liverpool fans who booed him are racist. Such is the desire to hunt out racism that any abuse can be couched in it. Did Liverpool fans boo Evra because he’s black? Is it always racist to boo a black player? No, of course not. But racism has moved. It a Manchester United fans says the abuse was racism, then the police must investigate. Forget that the United fan may just want to tar and feather Liverpool because he is prejudiced against them. Racism must be bigger than any tribal factions. When Evra accused Suarez of racism, he waved the imaginary yellow card. He demanded justice and retribution. He wanted the referee to do the work of the police. Were Suarez’s comments racist or just ignorant? Well, the police say it’s racist. So. It is. Suarez is damned.

Racism is now about the individual. Evra gets booed. But black players playing for Liverpool do not. Liverpool cannot legislate for one fan. They cannot place a moral compass beneath each seat. Liverpool is not a racist football club.

Racism is now rare in football. It is rarer in football than it is in many other areas of society. Black players have proven by talent and hard work that they are the equal of any white players. The danger is that when you can call man a racist for being thoughtless or ignorant, you undermine the real racism, that biting, deep-seated hatred and suspicion that enables the tabloid press to use words like “swamped” when talking of dark-skinned foreigners and not be put out of business…


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Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring during the English FA Cup fourth round soccer match against Manchester United at Anfield, Liverpool, England, Saturday Jan. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)

Posted: 29th, January 2012 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comments (23) | TrackBack | Permalink