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Blog // Thoughts
October 1, 2007

Racism’s Edge, Or A Strategy For Not Listening

It’s an ugly spectacle; watching your football team collapsing under the weight of public rancour and outcry. Chelsea’s home performance against Fulham on Saturday was not the worst I’ve ever seen from the boys in blue, but they were clearly bereft of ideas – playing a simplistic brand of football. What brought back dark memories […]

It’s an ugly spectacle; watching your football team collapsing under the weight of public rancour and outcry. Chelsea’s home performance against Fulham on Saturday was not the worst I’ve ever seen from the boys in blue, but they were clearly bereft of ideas – playing a simplistic brand of football.

What brought back dark memories was the anger being expressed by the Chelsea fans – chants for the former manger and loud boos at the end of the game. I recall the resentment expressed in the home matches that immediately followed Gianluca Vialli’s dismissal, but it was clear this time round the bitterness was greater, because now Chelsea had lost a far more successful and accomplished manager.

Given the depth of the problems, it was both surprising and frustrating to see the Chelsea management seeking shelter behind the claim of racism. Apparently some Chelsea fans may have expressed their anger in terms that were racist or anti-Semitic. Sadly, this kind of vulgarity is still a problem in football.

However, the clue to what is going on appears when the management descibed the comments as, “…a few which could be seen as racist and anti-Semitic,” which the BBC described as “bordering on racism.” Sorry, racism has no border – someone either is, or is not racist. A comment either is, or is not racist.

Claiming a limin, or border for racism is nothing but a variation of the “I’m so offended” strategy – you’ve said something that “offends” me, so I no longer have to engage with the content of what you have said. It’s a game we well educated western liberals play when we want to behave like narrow minded fundamentalists by not listening to our interlocutors.

By playing this game, the suits in charge of Chelsea do not have have to engage with the deeper substance of the resentment; namely that the new manger is simply not good enough.

[tags] Chelsea, Racism [/tags]

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Responses
Paul 13 years ago

yes it is a bit miserable to watch chelsea shoot themselves in the foots! Why sack moriniho without another big name to replace him? Is putting a yes man in the dugout really the answer? Then again was building an offensive team around drogba and lampard much of a heritage to leave? whatever happened to the glorious 4-3-3 with the likes of robben and duff roaring up front??? Back then chelsea were exciting now they are pretty much a grind it out team…

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