Football exposes inequities

By Linda Edwards

As an enthusiastic fan of the World Cup, I couldn’t help but notice the inequities of the world as reflected on the soccer field.

Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Angola, Togo, France, Equador, Brazil and England fielded teams that were heavily populated with African looking people. For Equador, this was a surprise to me.

The spectators in the stands for these countries, except for Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago, were mostly non-African, particularly in the cases of France and Equador. I did not see a single African face in those crowds.

Were these players just mere gladiators – a different race put there for entertainment, were they merely paid labour? Japan had one African looking person, Alex. Who knew that there were African-looking Japanese people before this?

At one time, the game looked like a game at Brigham Young University in Utah, where the entire basketball team at one time was African looking, but they seemed like the only Africans in the school, run by the Mormons as a private university.

Soccer showed that in the field of human endeavour, eleven men against eleven men, in a ninety minute game, boils down to three things – Skill, Endurance, and Teamwork. Ethnicity has nothing to do with it. The ethnic composition of the spectators, however, still reflects the tremendous inequities of the distribution of the world’s economic resources.

Or, maybe it is that African people in places like France and Equador do not like soccer that much?

In terms of listening to the comments on the game, I soon realized that when watching the ABC broadcast of the game I should do it with the sound off. The Western European biases of the commentators was quite annoying. It was not mere partisanship for Team USA, even where they were not a contender, or when they were no longer contenders, it continued. Teams from non-European countries were fighting an eleven, referees and biased commentators. Thank God they could not hear the commentators.

The inequities of the world remain basically unchanged. We will see if there is measurable change in South Africa in 2010. When I watch France play in the semi-finals, I am watching an African team, make no mistake about that. Seven of the eleven starters are African and if you include the Algerian, eight.

3 thoughts on “Football exposes inequities”

  1. Linda, once again you are right!!!

    Don`t be fooled by all these men and women posturing all over the telvision on BBC, ABC,CNN and any other alphabet soup combination that these supposedly news organisations calls themselves.

    Life in these so called developed countries is hell for the average black/coloured person, worse again if you are a black/coloured foreigner, if you examine the immigration laws you will see what I mean.

    That`s why I just shake my head in utter amazement when I see Indians and negroes being racial to one another in sweet TNT, tell them when you out here you are all ni**ers
    as far as the Europeans are concerned…

    Here endeth..

    One Love,


  2. Well said!! It is not only in football but in almost every facet of life. Blacks make up the majority of the US athletic team – yet they hate blacks! Do they allow them in their Ivy League sports like lacrosse? What about NASCAR or, golf? Remember Tiger’s right of passage?

    As for the Indo and Afro-trinis fighting among themselves… Indians in Trinidad have the percieved notion that they are BROWN and that they are better off than those of African origin; or better off than Africans around the world!

    I suppose that we can either thank or blame the media for the way they have always showcased Africans. For them, there is not a clean or an educated Afican alive.

    If only the Indo-trinis could see their brothers and sisters being ‘spat on’, ‘shouted at’ and generally denigrated to subhuman status – in this part of the world where I work – I wonder if they would be so quick to give the cold shoulder to a fellow trini as readily as they do!

    Let them travel and get a dose of cold reality! Will they ride the public transport with their ‘brothers’? No one else does! It literally stinks as do the places where they ‘live’

    Please trinis learn to live in harmony! Preserve your freedom and the jewels that are T&T!!

  3. Actually, my nephew Alister Edwards is a member of a college lacrosse team. He is the only non-white on the team. He migrated to the US as a pre-schooler, and is their goalie. He was good enough to get a full scholarship to college. With the goalie’s helmet on, you’d have to know him to notice it.

    As for trinis living in harmony, once, we did. In many pockets of the country people still do. You are right though Alison, if more indo-trinis travelled abroad, they would realize that contempt for non-white people, includes contempt for Indians.

    Now I have Indian acquaintances from India, who looked to me for leadership when they first joined our staff, because I understood both the system they came from, and the one in the US. Exposure is exerything. There are too many closed minds in small places, but, there is hope. There has to be hope.

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