Thursday, December 16, 2004

When terms are defined too broadly

Here's an interesting post from the blog TAPped, linking to a Washington Post article and adding commentary about the ugly atmosphere towards black players in some of Europe's major football stadiums recently. Our own view is these analyses go astray when they attempt to insert the racist chants into the context of the strained relations between white Europeans and immigrant Islamic communities, because of the obvious problem that the Islamic immigrants are mostly Arab but the players being booed are black. This is not to say the the fans are rational beings -- it could of course be that the hostility towards Arab immigrants manifests itself as xenophobia with blacks bearing the brunt of the reaction.

But to lump all these influences as "racism" gets into the same imprecision as America's various Wars -- on Poverty, Drugs, and Terror. We'd posted a year or so ago about the Football Association of Ireland's lumping of a somewhat convoluted sectarian booing episode under the "racist" category. At the minimum, we'd be interested in seeing some role acknowledged for the group psychology and inherent us versus them nature of football, especially in the European context with regional and national loyalties strongly defined.

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