Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2018-07-01 04:57Z by Steven

Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race

The New York Times

Cleuci de Oliveira, Brasília-based reporter

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, center, celebrating a goal with his teammates during Brazil’s World Cup match against Serbia on Wednesday. Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ever since his “It’s not like I’m black, you know?” comment, Neymar has served as a focal point in the country’s cultural reckoning with racism, whitening, identity and public policy.

Years before he became the most expensive player in the world; before his Olympic gold medal; before the Eiffel Tower lit up with his name to greet his professional move from Barcelona to Paris, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, the Brazilian forward known to the world simply as Neymar, faced his first public relations controversy.

The year was 2010, and Neymar, then 18, had shot to fame in Brazil after a sensational breakout season. During an interview for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, in between a conversation about Disneyland and sports cars, he was asked if he had ever experienced racism. “Never. Not in the field, nor outside of it,” he replied.

“It’s not like I’m black, you know?”

His answer was heard like a record-scratch across the country. Was this young man in denial about his racial identity? Particularly when in the same interview he outlined his meticulous hair care regime, which involved getting his locks chemically straightened every few weeks, then bleached blonde.

Or was there a less alarming explanation behind his comment? Could Neymar merely be pointing out that, as the son of a black father and a white mother, his lighter skin tone shielded him from the racist abuse directed at other players? Had he, at least in his context, reached whiteness? Whatever the interpretation, Neymar’s words revealed the tricky, often contradictory ways that many Brazilians talk, and fail to talk, about race in a country with the largest population of black descendants outside of Africa

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Walter Tull should get Military Cross, says Tottenham MP David Lammy

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2018-03-24 01:14Z by Steven

Walter Tull should get Military Cross, says Tottenham MP David Lammy

BBC News

Richard Conway, BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent

Walter Tull died on the battlefields of northern France in 1918

Walter Tull – one of England’s first black professional footballers – should be awarded a Military Cross 100 years after his death, says Tottenham MP David Lammy.

Tull, who played for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town, died aged 29 when he was shot on the battlefields of France during World War One.

He was Britain’s first black Army officer to command white troops.

“His service on behalf of this country was immense,” Lammy said…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Early Afro-Brazilian Soccer Stars and the Myth of Racial Democracy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-04-11 01:38Z by Steven

Early Afro-Brazilian Soccer Stars and the Myth of Racial Democracy

Sport In American History

Zachary R. Bigalke
Department of History
University of Oregon

Carlos Molinari, “Time do Bangu em 1905,”, via Ludopédio, Francisco Carregal is pictured seated front row and center in the photo.

The ideology of racial democracy cast a long shadow over twentieth-century race relations in Brazil. First popularized by influential Brazilian scholar Gilberto Freyre, this theory presumed a level racial playing field that was paradoxically dependent on the whitening of the populace. Rather than helping to drive the country toward a multiracial future, racial democracy shrouded the structural issues that remained as a legacy of Brazilian slavery.

Throughout his corpus of writings, Freyre portrayed Afro-Brazilians as sexualized Dionysian figures with a florid talent for bodily movement, expressed not only through capoeira and samba but also on the soccer pitch. Freyre used soccer as a foil for his theories of racial democracy throughout the course of his career, assigning certain attributes such as surprise, skill, cleverness, speed, and spontaneity on a racialized basis even as he tried to claim racial syncretism both in soccer and in broader society. Journalist Mario Filho furthered this discourse in his 1947 book O Negro no Futebol Brasileiro, for which Freyre wrote the introduction. Freyre and later Filho lionized certain players while glossing over others to create the myth that soccer exemplified multiracial harmony within Brazil’s racial democracy.

The career arcs of two key soccer players—Francisco Carregal in Rio de Janeiro and Arthur Friedenreich in São Paulo—offer a lens to evaluate the extent of Afro-Brazilian agency during the early decades of soccer’s growth in Brazil. The stories of their respective careers and historical representations illustrate the extent to which the myth of racial democracy was contingent on the process of whitening, in soccer’s case less through manipulation of behavioral traits and physical appearance.

To better understand these individuals and their status in Brazilian soccer as vanguards for future generations of Afro-Brazilian players, let’s look at both men through the context of their careers as well as their portrayals by Filho in his landmark text…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Soccer Led Me To Embrace Every Part Of My Multiracial Heritage

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-01-10 21:23Z by Steven

Soccer Led Me To Embrace Every Part Of My Multiracial Heritage

The Huffington Post

Geneva Abdul, Publicist & Writer
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Born from the marrying of British and Trinidadian cultures, I defined my cultural identity through soccer when I decided to play for Trinidad and Tobago at the age of 14.

Growing up, my parents had never imposed their cultures on me — my cultural identity had always felt like a decision between Canadian, Trinidadian and British. It wasn’t until I had recently retired my soccer cleats when I’d realized I had never had to make the choice, that I could be all three.

As a woman I oscillate between essence and existence. As a woman of colour I participate in a more complex rigmarole of types. The quotidian experience of being asked “what’s your background” or being told “you’re pretty for a brown girl” and “I didn’t know brown girls were athletic” served as a set of ongoing reminders that constantly interpolated my cultural identity…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 18:24Z by Steven

The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

The Telegraph

Jim White

Tony Collins became England’s first black manager at Rochdale in 1960 Credit: Jon Super for The Telegraph

When he managed Rochdale back in the early Sixties, Tony Collins earned £1,500 a year. Fifty-four years on, as he sits reminiscing in a care home in Manchester, there are two managers in the very city where he is speaking who each earn £10 million a year. But he is not remotely resentful.

“I don’t begrudge them getting good money,” he says. “Because we were exploited. Oh dear, were we exploited. When I was a player, if Stan Matthews was in town, you could guarantee the gates would be locked. The crowds flocked to see him. Or Tom Finney, or Wilfy Mannion. What players they were. Artists, entertainers. But they never got the money.”

Things might have changed financially from his day, but one thing has not: ethnic minority managers remain a scandalous rarity. In that respect, Collins was a pioneer. The assumption has long been that Keith Alexander was the first black or mixed-race manager in the Football League when he took charge of Lincoln City in 1993…

…Collins’s story, told in a new book co-authored by his daughter Sarita, is an extraordinary one. He was born in Kensington during the general strike in 1926, his 17-year-old mother refusing to identify his father on his birth certificate. One thing was immediately obvious, however: his dad was black. Mixed-race children were an unusual sight in London in the 1920s. But his mother’s parents adopted him and brought him up in the then tough environs of the Portobello Road

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Tony Collins: Football Master Spy

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 17:54Z by Steven

Tony Collins, Football Master Spy

Book Guild Publishing Ltd
270 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781910878934

Quentin Cope & Sarita Collins

The English Football League’s First Black Manager

This is the story of the English football league’s first black manager. Tony Collins was a young man, born into disadvantaged circumstances, in a time period between two world wars where nothing was certain, except the kind of reception a black man would receive when attempting to move into a slightly brutal but reserved world of top class white sportsmen. After becoming the very first Black English Football League manager in history, Tony went on to be one of the most influential ‘backroom boys’ the game has ever seen, being labelled ‘The Teacher’ and football’s ‘Master Spy’ by the National Press. The story falls naturally into three distinct parts:

  • Part I: His early life as a child in London, his schooling and army life in Italy.
  • Part II: His career as a football player and time as a manager.
  • Part III: His time as a chief scout for the top teams of the day and the England side under well-known names as Revie and Atkinson.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Focus on world’s first black football star

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 21:21Z by Steven

Focus on world’s first black football star

The Voice

Poppy Brady

Dr Tony Talburt decided that a book on Guyanese-born footballer Watson was seriously overdue, so he set about researching the background of this exceptional pioneer of the beautiful game

HE WAS the world’s first black football superstar, but the name Andrew Watson is not on every football fan’s lips – and that is why a book has been written about him to give him the spotlight he deserves.

Writer and education adviser Dr Tony Talburt decided that a book on Guyanese-born footballer Watson was seriously overdue, so he set about researching the background of this exceptional pioneer of the beautiful game.

As Dr Talburt so eruditely puts it in his book Andrew Watson – the World’s First Black Superstar, had Watson been born more than 100 years later in the 1980s, he would most certainly have been considered a sporting celebrity.

“What Watson achieved in the 1880s was probably the equivalent of contemporary legends such as Lionel Messi of Barcelona or Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, captaining both club and country” said Dr Talburt.

“In more ways than one, Andrew Watson was truly a remarkable footballer and sporting hero.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 19:19Z by Steven

Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Hansib Publications
136 pages
216 x 138 mm

Tony Talburt

Foreword by Lord Herman Ouseley

Today, seeing Black footballers playing the game at the very highest level is considered very normal. This, certainly, was not the case one hundred and forty years ago, and this is what makes the story of Andrew Watson so remarkable.

It seems hard to imagine that a Guyanese-born Black man could head the Scottish national football team in 1881 in a game against England. Not only was he captain, but he also led them to a 6-1 victory in London – an achievement that still ranks as England’s heaviest ever defeat on home soil. If this were all that Watson had been able to accomplish, most people would agree that he should be commended for being the world’s first Black person to captain a national football team. But there was so much more. He was the world’s first Black football administrator, as well as the first Black player to win three national cup winners’ trophies.

During the 1870s and 1880s, when Watson played, he was regarded as one of the finest players in Britain. The word ‘pioneer’ is often used to describe certain players, but this would certainly be a most fitting expression to encapsulate the remarkable achievements of Andrew Watson.

This book reflects upon the legend, legacy and pioneering endeavours of a truly great Black British football superstar.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How Soccer Helped Brazil Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-04-07 01:02Z by Steven

How Soccer Helped Brazil Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Zócalo Public Square
Santa Monica, California

Joshua Nadel, Associate Professor of History
North Carolina Central University

Brazil—as two recent book titles point out, and almost any kid kicking a ball anywhere in the world can tell you—is the country of soccer. While the modern sport’s actual birthplace is England, Brazil is the spiritual center of the sport. Brazil, whose beloved canarinho team is the only one to play in all World Cups and to have won five, perfected the English invention, inspiring a more poetic, fluid version of the game. And while Brazil made modern soccer, the extent to which soccer made modern Brazil is often underappreciated.

The sport landed in Brazil (and throughout Latin America) at the moment of the creation of the modern nation state, in the late 19th century. As a result it tied into the historical narratives—the stories that Brazilians crafted about themselves—that underpinned the nascent nation. Soccer helped to knit Brazil together into one country in the early 20th century and played a key role in incorporating people of African descent into the polity.

Soccer arrived in Brazil in the 1890s, brought by British workers and Anglo-Brazilian youth who were returning from school in England. At first played in elite social clubs like the São Paulo Athletic Club, the sport soon diffused downwards to the masses, and by the first decades of the 20th century was already the most popular sport in the country. Most soccer histories in Latin America suggest two separate “births”—the foreign birth marked by arrival of sport and the dominance of expatriate teams; and the national birth, when the local youth began to beat the Europeans at their game. In Brazil a third birth exists: when Afro-Brazilians enter the field in large numbers…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Kang Soo-il’s drugs ban ruins inspirational tale for mixed-race Koreans

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-08-13 20:49Z by Steven

Kang Soo-il’s drugs ban ruins inspirational tale for mixed-race Koreans

The Guardian

John Duerden, Asian football correspondent

The striker with an American GI father was on the verge of a dream debut for South Korea after a lifetime struggle against discrimination when he tested positive for an anabolic steroid he blamed on moustache-growing cream

Claiming that you have failed a drug test because of the application of moustache-growing cream is sure to amuse and there are plenty of internet memes of Kang Soo-il with facial hair that would put Dick Dastardly to shame. But it really wasn’t that funny and ended a football dream that meant more than most. Few players had gone through such hardships to appear for their national team but just hours before it was actually, finally, going to happen for the South Korean, the negative news of the positive test result came through.

Instead of leading the line for his country at the start of qualification for the 2018 World Cup, Kang is banned for much of the season, his international career likely over before it started…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,