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Black Britain, Racism, Sport

Lewis Hamilton

Once again Spanish sports fans have lived up to their nasty reputation of being a bunch of racist imbeciles. This time its not football but Formula 1. Yesterday fans blacked up their faces and donned black wigs with the words “hamilton’s family” written on their white t-shirts.

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According to the reports in the Independent and Guardian the Spanish motor racing authorities have “condemned the racist taunts” against Hamilton. Condemning their actions is easy, actually doing something practical and meaningful is worth a thousand words of condemnation. Why were the racists not physically removed, banned from ever attending another racing event and even arrested for disturbing the peace since the Spanish do not have any laws against inciting racial hatred. The same goes for racism in Spanish football. We only ever get to hear about the high profile cases such as in the 2004 international game with England and the Spanish national coach who described Thierry Henry as that “black shit“. He was fined a measly 3,000 euros (a day’s salary), and Real Zaragossa were fined 9,000 euros when their fans racially abused Samuel E’to of Barcelona. These three incidents do not in any way reflect the real level of racism in Spanish football and the wider Spanish society. The F1 authorities must ban Spain from holding the two Grand Prix’s due to take place in Barcelona and Valencia then maybe the fans will think twice before hurling racist abuse from the terraces whether in F1 or football or any other sporting event.

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9 Comments

  1. I think situations like this is good because it forces Europe to talk about racism (of course it would be even better if the racism didn’t exist but…) Europeans are notorious for avoiding the elephant in their living room and incidents like this encourage a dialogue, although it ends up sounding something like this: “Those damn Spaniards!” (so says the white brit) instead of using this as an opportunity to examine oneself. I do think that the subject of race is coming up more and more in Europe as a whole, but watch out, mark my words–it’s gonna get a whole lot uglier before it gets good. I hope I am wrong, of course.
    Blackgirl on Mars!

  2. Hello Sokari,

    My view exactly, the punishments for racist abuse at sport events have not been severe enough to be deterrents.

    This event should not be taken in isolation but in the context of general Spanish racist abuse.

    I am sure there are other countries who would be more welcoming of a Grand Prix event and treat all participants with respect and kindness.

    Would the FIA act decisively with Max Mosley at the helm? Let’s wait and see.

  3. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    LA Brown @ this post does sound a bit like “those damn Spaniards” but I know what you mean. The self-righteous Brit newspapers reporting on the incident and the Sports Minister’s comments, do so without questioning their own racisms in their own country. Yes the terraces here are relatively racism free when compared to Europe but that is not to say that it does not go on because it does. The “Kick Racism out of Football” is still working hard to kick it out.

  4. acolyte

    What’s more ironic is that thanks to the Moors is that Spaniards have alot more black blood in them then the rest of Europe hence their dark husky features.

  5. What do you expect?
    It’s all lip-service to an age long problem.

    Like it or not, they are all hypocrites and are all racist rats in their living rooms but come out to sing another song.

    No punishment can eradicate it, we can as well live with it. Is it because it is Lewis.
    What about the average Joe that gets abused everyday on the streets of Europe,America and Asia? Even the way you are treated by your Asia Corner shop owner smacks of racism. how about the work place, where you are not good enough despite your qualifications, experience and knowledge.
    Common guys! can we talk about something else? There are no saints out there.

  6. Racism in the US and Britain are not considered socially acceptable. This certainly doesn’t mean that racism is non-existent, but usually it tends to be more subtle. The fact that large numbers people in Spain would feel comfortable enough to put blackface on or make monkey noises at a Cameroonian footballer means that racism’s not even to the point in Spain where people feel like they have to be subtle about it. Stripping Spain of its Grand Prix(es?) might send a message.

  7. As a long-time F1 this needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand. During a race or event Hamilton is unlikely to notice such taunts (even in Spain) and the only once’s who’ll notice at British fans who may take offence.

    Still, the F1 authorities have been more heavy-handed than soccer ones, and Alonso or Spain may pay a very expensive price for the acts of a few hooligans.

  8. Spanish society has a general tendency of overlooking racist outbursts, and treating it as unimportant.

    They must, however, be made accountable, as every racist should. Pulling out the Prix would be a good start.

  9. To those who say that those are isolated incidents of a few stupid sports fans, I have to say this is a broader problem in Spanish society. Being a Spaniard myself it saddens me, and I have to agree with Brian in that Spain most people don’t feel like they have to be subtle about being racist. I wrote about another example of how Spaniards are not embarrassed about racist comments here. For those that don’t undersand Spanish: during a recent visit to the DRC, Spain’s Foreign Minister said some words in Lingala and was consequently mocked and parodied by media, bloggers and people in general.