The World Cup – or when people accidentally become stupid and racist

Oh the World Cup. I won’t lie – I’m a big fan of this every-four-year ritual of rooting for men kicking around a ball and feeling a renewed sense of national pride (or national embarrassment, when the French team goes on strike again).

What I’m not a big fan however, is that, apparently, it’s also  a time for many people to lose all common sense and become racist.

First in line, Delta Airlines, via Twitter, celebrated the US’s win over Ghana with this awesome graphic:

Delta Tweet

via BuzzFeed

Lovely photograph of that giraffe – they might have wanted to google whether or not there were actually giraffes in Ghana first. Hint: there aren’t.

Then we have the Guardian’s “Tech” twitter account:

via Africa is a Country

via Africa is a Country

Apparently no one at the Guardian saw how that tweet could go wrong …

And then we have my all-time favorite thus far: Global Post’s masterpiece article, entitled “Here’s what World Cup teams would look like if immigrants weren’t allowed to play.” Many people have posted on Facebook and other social media as this great, let’s highlight how people who are anti-immigrant are stupid article, but if you stop and think about it for just 2 seconds … well frankly, it’s beyond shocking. Here’s why.

First off, “broadly defining “foreigner” as anyone with at least one foreign-born parent,” which the author says in the introduction, is wrong. There’s no other way to put it. The author then goes on and makes it worse by equating that definition of foreigners with “Immigrants” (with the article’s title), which is not only wrong but extremely dangerous. Broadly and vaguely defining “immigrants” and “foreigners” is exactly what extreme rights wings party do to justify their xenophobic policies.

The French team, minus "immigrants," according to the Global Post

The French team, minus “immigrants,” according to the Global Post

Speaking with regards to the French team, the majority of the players labelled as “immigrants” in the article were born in France (which, by the way, includes Martinique) and thus are not immigrants. The only 2 who were not born in France are Patrice Evra (who was born in Dakar, Senegal, and came to France at the age of 3) and Rio Mavuba (who was born on a boat in international waters and apparently didn’t have a nationality at birth). All others were born in France and, I will repeat this, are not immigrants.

Rather than highlighting the idiocy of those who want to kick immigrants out, this article perpetuates the stigmatization of individuals because one of their parents was born in a different country. It labels someone as “immigrant” not because they have themselves immigrated anywhere, but because one of their parents did. There is enough existing racism against football players who have different names and different skin colors without needing this article to wrongly label them as immigrants.

I’m sure there are many more examples out there of stupidity and racism rolled all into one but frankly, I don’t want to go out looking for them.