Racism and Serie A: When Life Mocks Art

In an act of irony that even Serie A will find hard to ignore, Maignan and Tomori were subjected to racial abuse on Saturday during Serie A's token "Keep Racism Out" weekend. Literally, there was a horrifically cringeworthy video released ahead of the weekend, signage everywhere, and the players were actually wearing the messages on their sleeves and the captains' armbands. Despite the artistically rendered logo which cost the league who knows how much, players were still abused. It was an obtuse case of when life mocks art.

Are those fans both racist and illiterate?

Racism and hypocrisy in Serie A is a subject that I have written about so many times, and I get more frustrated every time because nothing ever changes. The blatantly obvious irony of this weekend's example has caused a lot more people to be aware and to get angry, but will Serie A actually wake up and do something effective about it this time? When the system is so broken that your very efforts to fix it are mocked and demonstrated to be entirely ineffective, isn't it time to re-evaluate and makes some changes?

Fines do not work. Just two weeks ago, Napoli fans abused Ibrahimović at the end of our match at the Maradona, something which most Napoli fans and even Milan fans didn't even know about. A Napoli news site justified the abuse, saying he was timewasting (because Pioli was subbing him on, which was clearly his fault, so sure, racially abuse him...?!) The league, lumping in the abuse (which they did not even acknowledge as racist) with other acts like throwing objects at Milan players and the referees, earned the club a whopping €8.000 fine in total. Trust me, it will happen again. It's happened before, it will happen again.

He wore more than just his heart on his sleeve...

Ibrahimović and others of certain ethnicities that are not Italian will get abused for not being Italian, but the league will not identify it as racism because their skin is fair. It used to happen to Maldini, in fact, who is of Slovenian decent, despite being second generation Italian. In Italy, racism is literally black and white. Their understanding of what racism is and how it affects people is so backward, it hurts. In fact, as you'll recall, Ibrahimović himself was accused of racism last year, they literally just don't get it.

The FIGC prosecutor has already opened up an investigation into the abuse this weekend, which means that if Cagliari are not fined, they could get a partial stadium ban – suspended, if it's their first offense this year. Stadium bans mean nothing anymore after COVID, when the players are so used to playing behind closed doors (except the losses in ticket sales to the financially struggling clubs, of course.) The newest things for the clubs now is to hunt down the actual offenders and ban them from the stadiums. But that never works, either, because the "few idiots" are always replaced by even more "few idiots." Racism in Italy is a perpetual element of football, and Serie A knows less about how to remove it than they know about what it actually is.

Plugging your ears to it unfortunately does not change the fact that it happened

What racism actually is harms everyone - the players, the fans, and the game. Racism is not just words:

"Singling someone out for being different, even when attempting to do it in a positive way, is discrimination. Abusing someone for being someone or something they can't change is not just abuse, it is also discriminatory, sets them apart, and takes away their power. Racism affects every person who witnesses it. They are not "just words" or something to "just ignore." Until you and everyone else stands up and stops making excuses or even punishing "the few idiots," racism and other forms of discrimination will continue to fester in our society. Maybe you or others are not actively discriminating to others, but if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem."

Serie A is so afraid to take responsibility and actually solve the problem. Stopping matches, physically removing fans during games, docking teams points or forfeiting matches when there is racial abuse are strong statements that would actually make fans accountable for their actions. If not "the few idiots" themselves, then the clubs and other fans for sure would be accountable, because no one else would want their team to face the consequences of "the few idiots" if there were real consequences involved.

Don't forget, Serie A literally commissioned this campaign...

Perhaps Serie A does not see racism as a "real" problem. It is more of a "cause," like diabetes or autism, other things they make signs and videos for. Teams wearing unique armbands? That is a real problem. Matchfixing? Clearly that hurts people more than public discrimination of individuals for things they cannot change in their place of work in front of millions of people worldwide. Little do they know that the joke is on them. On Saturday, millions of people worldwide got to see how impotent and irrelevant the Lega Serie A truly are when fans threw a flaming bag of dog excrement at their carefully planned celebration against racism. That, Serie A, is what happens when life mocks art.

This post inspired by the music of The Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant"

Racism and Serie A: When Life Mocks Art Racism and Serie A: When Life Mocks Art Reviewed by Elaine on 3:15 AM Rating: 5
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