- 26 Jul 2009
Absolutely, bob on.Is it racism? Or, perhaps a better (and more nuanced question) is it just racism all of the time?
The difference in treatment is clear and that’s not the issue, the issue it seems to me is what causes it.
A good example is Marcus Rashford’s victory in relation to free school meals. What he did was massively important and is widely, and reasonably, regarded as having led to a U turn in government policy. There was no let up in the praise that was lavished on him, and if there was a serious problem with institutional racism perhaps you would have expected some of the praise to be qualified or more grudging than it actually was. Especially in media outlets that normally support the government, but I don’t recall anything of that nature.
It seems to me that the difference between the coverage of (say) Sterling’s fight with Gomez and MacGuire’s fight with Greek plod is more likely to have everything to do with the colour of the shirt they wear rather than the colour of their skin. The on line media knows exactly how many clicks positive stories about red shirted players get, and how many clicks positive stories about City get, in contrast to how many negative stories. They know how to write stories that are calculated to maximise clicks. Contrast for instance the media’s stance that there’s an appeal in the pipeline so all bets are off and we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the conviction in relation to MacGuire, and the complete absence of any equivalent thought in respect of City’s FFP appeal.
On the other hand, when you look at the reporting of Phil Foden’s purchase for a house for his mum, and Tosin A doing exactly the same thing, it’s hard to conclude that there isn’t institutional racism, bearing in mind the difference in tone.
I suppose what it comes down to is that the commercial media exists to generate profits for their shareholders, and the BBC have chosen to operate on the same level. The mail on line knows articles written in a sniffy tone about a blinging black player throwing his cash around is likely to garner more clicks with their particular readership than a positive story about a young man buying a house for his mum. On the other hand, you can bet your bottom dollar that a similar story about Marcus Rashford would have been written in the same tone as the Foden piece, because they know that even racists amongst the daily mail readership want to read positive stories about a young black man provided he plays for the rags.
So I suppose I would agree that there is a degree of institutional racism at play, but it seems to me that this is not the only factor at play.
Whether it’s bending the truth to chase clicks, or racism, or a mixture of the two, it’s pretty disgusting whatever it is.