My knowledge on South American culture and slang is very weak, however I do know, about the mechanics of confrontation. Even when I play Sunday League level, I’ve had verbal rows and faced up opposition players from all over leagues in London and Cornwall. Also as a fan, I’ve exchanged insults with rival supporters from all over London and Manchester. That’s just seen as football related stuff. In real life, I’ve witnessed riots, squared up to police on picket lines and fought fascist bully-boys, well at least that’s what I tell my friends.
What have I learnt? Not much, but enough to know that if I’m having a row with a another person and I make a reference to their colour, they are going to think it’s a racist slur.
Luis Suárez, Liverpool Football Club and masses of their fans seem bewildered that the word ‘negrito’ directed at a Evra in the course of an argument would lead the individual concerned to believe that he had been racially abused.
Nobody would refute that the argument between Suárez and Patrice Evra was acrimonious. Nobody would deny that the word ‘negrito’ makes reference to dare I say it his colour of his skin. So where would Suárez’s grounds for defence come from?
Some linguistic experts tell us that ‘negrito’ is not a derogatory term. In fact, it appears that it is a friendly phrase in Hispanic culture. In one defence of the Liverpool striker, they kept referring to the hearing a young, white woman with a dark complexion being referred to by the same term during a business transaction in Buenos Aires.
The problem with this is that Evra is not a young white woman, nor is he Hispanic. So whats that example got to do with him. He is a short, black Frenchman, who, from his perspective, appears to have been called something similar to “little black boy” by someone he was having a argument with. Suárez, quite clearly, was not being friendly. He was winding up Evra on the pitch in the heat of a Liverpool v Manchester United game. No wonder the defender felt racially abused.
Overall, if Suárez was trying to be affectionate to a United player during a game, the club should crack down on him. And the FA’s eight-game ban is rightfully justified as if a worker used that slur on another colleague of fellow professional, surely that would be a sackable offence?
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