#8. RACISM: The rather large, intrusive, and disgusting elephant in the room
My shift has changed from dawn til 3pm to 2pm til 11pm so at least for this month I have the mornings to myself. So what did I do today? Put the radio on on my phone and switched between Joy SMS and Citi CBS. But my mom loves Sweet Melodies so the kitchen radio is locked on that station. I removed one earphone from my ear to keep in touch with what was happening around me and that is how I managed to catch what was the most asinine thing I have every heard on the Sulley Muntari – Pescara racism case.
“I don’t understand why this Sulley Muntari has been given so much mileage that even the former president is tweeting about it. I mean come one, lets talk about the President meeting other West African leaders and discuss what this means for West African trade. Let’s talk about important things.”
What the actual fuck.
And on a popular Christian radio station too.
I picked up a bowl full of dirty water and as I strode outside the kitchen I said “Wait until you travel abroad and some random white person calls you ‘nigger’ then you will understand the significance of it.”
But a very small magnanimous part of me understood him. His name is Yoofi, probably a typical Fante, probably never traveled beyond Ghana, probably was never stared at for his colour, asked inane questions about his accent or asked whether they knew somebody named Kojo Boateng in Kumasi (when he lives in Accra). He’s also probably never been passed up for a job because he is black, never been served last at a restaurant because his waiter didn’t think he deserved to be there in the first place. He’s never enjoyed that queasy pleasure of being followed in a boutique by a mall cop, or have a white woman shrink into a corner of an elevator and clutch her purse at the sight of you. He’s never had to work twice as hard to get half as much acknowledgement.
All the hatred in the world is wrapped in those little words that can cut and sting and bleed.
But what really surprised me when I heard about the case was the man at the center of it all. And how everyone involved got off lightly. Don’t your remember Sulley? Fight-first-think-later Sulley? Sulley who smacked a GFA official so hard that I ‘m sure the man still has nightmares thinking about it. Sulley who once played for EPL side Portsmouth and earned his marching orders barely ten minutes after he entered as a sub.
You don’t mess with Sulley, his temper is the stuff of legends. Mario Ballotelli thinks he’s got the bad boy role sorted out but Sulley is the Godfather.
So for him to try and sort it out with the referee first was…surprising and admirable.
But Italian football is Italian football and the club wasn’t going to let the issue slide like that. The nigger had to be put in his place; after all no one forced him to play there. He should suck it up.
Thank God Fifa Pro and the UN stepped in to vocally protest. Thank God fellow footballers showed their loyalty to their friend and brother. Thank God there aren’t too many Yoofi’s in the world who still think racism isn’t a significant topic and shouldn’t be given so much leeway.
In this centuries old fight against Aryan racial superiority idealogy and the fight against black cultural appropriation and the (closer to home) fight against the insidious effect of neo-colonialism, I thank God for the little blessings. And then pause and continue fighting.