Sunday, June 04, 2006

Race, Soccer & Europe

From We Live Our Lives Among Giants, an interesting post about how soccer in Europe has seen increasing racial tension.

Blogger Logan, for example, quotes the New York Times:
As he left the soccer field after a club match in the eastern German city of Halle on March 25, the Nigerian forward Adebowale Ogungbure was spit upon, jeered with racial remarks and mocked with monkey noises. In rebuke, he placed two fingers under his nose to simulate a Hitler mustache and thrust his arm in a Nazi salute.

In April, the American defender Oguchi Onyewu, playing for his professional club team in Belgium, dismissively gestured toward fans who were making simian chants at him. Then, as he went to throw the ball inbounds, Onyewu said a fan of the opposing team reached over a barrier and punched him in the face.
We find incidents like these interesting not because we want to taunt Europeans about their racial problems, but rather because they can be thrown in the face of people claiming that American society is somehow particularly racist.

Our motto is: use information like this as part of a counter attack, but never for a first strike.

It’s true that for most of the last 200 years, Europe has had a more benign racial history than has the U.S. But then it’s easy to avoid racial problems if your nation consists of only one race and only one culture. Widespread immigration has caused the same problems in Europe that racial diversity has in the U.S.

In the long run, we think that the United States is better equipped to deal with racial diversity than Europe, because of our more individualistic political culture, and because of the less generous welfare state here.

The notion that immigrants are “horning in on” welfare benefits they haven’t earned is a key element of anti-immigrant feeling. It certainly exists in the U.S., but appears to be worse in Europe, as welfare entitlements are large there.


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