As thousands of English football fans stood with bated breath to see history be made, none were prepared for the wave of racism that was to follow. English football has since long been marred with the occasional scenes of rampant racism and the casual arrogance from English media that borders on insulting.
The fact that the media only follows the usual English nonchalance and misplaced superiority complex can be traced back to its colonial history.
One would think that colonial hangovers only existed in prior colonies of the Western colonizers, however as we look towards Britain, a curious case of said hangover becomes a bit more apparent. Moreover, it ceases to be a show of standard patriotism for one’s country but seeming distaste for any country or state that is not England.
To put matters into perspective, the English have deemed even their sister states of Wales and Ireland, predominantly inferior to the mainland. Thus, it is only fair to delve a bit further into the entire cavalcade of the British’s superiority complex and their racist tendencies through the ages.
What Happened At The Euro Cup?
As 19-year-old Bukayo Saka gave an exasperated sigh and lined up for the single most important shot that would decide the fate of English football.
The fifth and final penalty that would seal the deal for England and mark England’s maiden Euro Cup haul, rested on the nubile teenager who had never taken a spot-kick professionally in top-flight football.
As could be expected, Saka succumbed to the pressure of the penalty and his shot was a mere shadow of what it could be as Donnaruma equalled the effort and latched onto it.
Amidst the tears and cries of the English team, the grief-stricken face of Saka became the face of national ridicule. However, it was not only Saka who was caught in the flames of vile social media venom but also his equally young teammates, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who faced the same wrath.
Racist abuse, no matter the scenario, can never be condoned. Many took to supporting the three youngsters, however, the racial abuse provided the entirety of the world with a glance into the state of affairs in Britain.
England’s Racism In The Euro Cup
In a nation where your worth as a national is weighed upon the scales of the whiteness of your skin, one can only wonder about the state of England’s society. This, unfortunately, is not an isolated incident, as English fans have been known to not take too kindly to any form of racial protest.
The prime example of the British not taking too kindly to a show of racial solidarity is the instance of the entire stadium booing as the players took the knee to protest against racial injustice. The boos and jeers saw a safe haven within Britain’s government itself as the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, commented;
“I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture politics.”
Upon being asked if the fans had any right to boo the protesting players, she vehemently said that the fans had a right to protest against that.
Instances of racism don’t stop at basic social media jeers or stadium-wide hiss of sneering fans, the Euro finals pose as the best example of the same. The English fans proved to the world yet again that they cannot deal with defeat, especially against ‘foreigners.’
The English fans blocked the Italians in as they tried exiting Wembley stadium, the venue of the game. As Italy sealed the game with a 3-2 penalty victory, the English had different plans. The toxicity was no longer limited to the internet. It had pervaded through and had become exceedingly fatal and the disrespect was towards Italy as a nation.
Through these instances of astute racism, the FA was quick to issue a statement condemning the acts of racism posed towards the young players, Rashford, Sancho and Saka, stating;
“The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.”
However, it will still be a long way away, when we see a country for everyone, as racism only goes back in time through heredity.
England And Its Racial Bias
Through ages, it has been proved time and again that England suffers through a form of colonial hangover that it does not want to move beyond.
From the Royal Family showing concerns of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s progeny being of a darker complexion to shaming and racially abusing a German kid, their sense of superiority only takes centre stage. The British bias has been portrayed over and over again.
“They are a beastly people with a beastly religion-” this statement was made by Winston Churchill in reference to Indians during the times of the British Raj. Churchill is still celebrated as a master strategist rather than the mass murderer that he actually is.
Most of the British people still live with the perception of being the saviour of the masses through its colonial tendencies.
The education system hails the colonial masters as heroes rather than the villains that they were. Most British are still unaware of its colonial past and the amount of destruction they had brought.
Especially so, when it comes to recounting the disasters they had brought about in India, including the millions who had died of the manmade Bengal famine.
Furthermore, it must be recounted that the British hinterland was going through an extremely Anti-Paki sentiment during the 1960s through the 70s. This period was marked with sporadic attacks on English citizens tracing their origins to the Indian subcontinent. Fun fact, Freddie Mercury was one of the many victims of this sentiment.
According to recent happenings, the sentiment still exists and just as strongly as could be seen during Brexit. Social worker Ciaran Thapar’s partner was called a “f***ing Paki,” over and again on the streets, during the Brexit vote.
Through these instances, it is only fair to state that England’s racism can be traced through its history, unfortunately, not many care about it and most would rather grasp the romantic ideals of a British morning. However, if you are not ‘sufficiently’ white, maybe it is time to rethink your idea of (not so) Great Britain.
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