It was Nelson Mandela who said the following on the topic of racism “racism must be consciously combated and not discreetly tolerated.”
He would no doubt approve of Ghana-born, former German international Gerald Asamoah’s recent comments stating that education against racism needs to start with children.
“We need to reach out to the children, our future and tell them that this shouldn’t happen again.” he said when referring to the abuse Danny da Costa suffered from 1860 Munich fans in a second division game in Germany. “A small child in the stadium hears what his father shouts. The father, in his mid forties, you can’t change, people like that have a screw loose, but we have to reach out to the kids.”
“We are in 2013 and the fact is we still have to talk about this is a shock, It’s unbelievable, but its not just about football. If you decide to live in a country, you belong to it, no matter what your colour.” Asamoah said.
Aged 34 and playing for Schalke reserves Asamoah was the first African born player to play for Germany, and appeared 43 times for his new home between 2001 and 2006. Like most players of colour he too has suffered racist taunts throughout his career. “I will always talk about racism. I will never keep my mouth shut.” He said.
Maybe we need more players like him to speak up, as well as white players to stand alongside their team mates and show a united front in order to stamp this out. As he says we are in the year 2013 and in a world where people are more migratory than they were in the past. Each city is a potpourri of cultures, colours and religions, we should have a better understanding of these different cultures and religions but few of our children do. May be our educators are at fault and that is why it filters through into sports. Asamoah is right if we are to stamp this out, it starts with the children.
When one hears of incidents such as that which befell Danny da Costa one has to ask if the “Kick Racism Out” campaigns are more about tokenism rather than actually being effective. As Mandela said racism should never be tolerated, not even discreetly.