Tackling discrimination

 So yesterday Kevin Coleman from Kick it Out came to talk to us in a kind of mock press conference.

I had never heard of the campaign before but he explained how it trains football referees and clubs from the grassroots teams including university, community and school teams about racism in the game and discrimination from both players and supporters.

Sporting knowledge

Personally, I’ve never really had that much interest in sport up until I was pretty much forced to watch rugby at university because basically all of my guy friends were members of the university teams and loved the game.

But apart from that, I had little knowledge about sport apart from how it is portrayed in the media. And from my preconceptions through the media I could see football is riddled with bad press from hooliganism.

It has come to my attention in the past when England has played abroad that our supporters have received complaints from the local residents who accused them of being yobbish, loud, drunk and disrespectful.

And so hearing Kevin talk about the campaign he was working for, it was good to hear that someone is doing something about it.

Release

He brought up a good point that Indian players are more predominant in nonprofessionals leagues and white men are more prominent in professional leagues. He claimed some people attributed this to education but I think he was right after stating that he could not pin point the exact reasoning behind it that it was due to football being perceived as unwelcoming.

And I can completely understand that. Sport is a way of relief for so many people and so, even though society may have moved away from prominent racism or homophobia in recent years, it may be easier to victimize someone who is different on the pitch in the same way it is easy to provoke someone whose flaws are more obvious than others.

The Kick it Out campaign is obviously a big success in creating awareness for victimized players but I think they may be able to achieve more if they were actually able to take action themselves on people who abuse other players or supporters.

Channelling energy

Sport is often recommended to people in order to channel some of their negative energy. For example those who have bad tempers or don’t know how to control their anger.

It’s a simple way of funneling excess energy or emotions. But that doesn’t mean people have to take out their aggression on people who are different to them, those from ethnic backgrounds or who have homosexual tendencies.

I thought society was moving away from all of that but without the help of campaigns such as Kick it Out, there will always be a group of people who find it acceptable to take out their aggressions on easy looking targets.

Cowards

But quite frankly that’s not the way it should be. Everyone is human. Regardless of their skin colour, background or sexual tendencies. No one should deserve to be treated disrespectfully because they are different.

I think people who are racist are cowards. I think that when they see someone who is different they aren’t quite sure how to respond and have preconceptions about a certain group of people because they have made generalisations from one person they have met or simply don’t know how to react.

But shouldn’t we be passed all of that now? Why is society still having to make exceptions for ethnic minorities or homosexual people?

In the 21st century we should have reached the stage where differences do not matter any more. Where we shouldn’t have to think twice about who to hire or who to talk to because we feel the need to compare people by race etc.

No, that should be over now. It is clear that everyone is different, even if it is not obvious on the surface. People should be judged on their character not their background or sexuality.

Hope

However I can’t deny that we have come far from the days of bus boycotting and separate education, not to mention the historical icons such as Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King.

But there is always that inevitability that discrimination, stereotyping and prejudices will continue over generations and tackling that is going to be a difficult matter.

Chances are we will never successfully rid society of discrimination entirely but with the help of campaigns like Kick it Out and increased awareness about the problem: even by publicising the benefits of all types of people, all strengths from different walks of life, there will be more acceptance of variations.

Slowly but surely we are getting there.

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About Daisy Bambridge

I am a student at Wesminster University studying a Masters in Broadcast Journalism. I recently graduated from Southampton University after studying Politics and International Relations. I have a strong interest in social issues such as crime,drugs, alcohol, eating disorders. I am also deeply fascinated by terrorism, after the disasters of 9/11, as can be seen in my unergraduate dissertation on anti-terror legislation and human rights.
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