Oh, Those Sophisticated Europeans

Per the NY Times:

As he left the soccer field after a club match in the eastern German
city of Halle on March 25, the Nigerian forward Adebowale Ogungbure was
spit upon, jeered with racial remarks and mocked with monkey noises. In
rebuke, he placed two fingers under his nose to simulate a Hitler mustache and thrust  his arm in a Nazi salute.

In April, the American defender Oguchi Onyewu, playing for his
professional club team in Belgium, dismissively gestured toward fans
who were making simian chants at him. Then, as he went to throw the
ball inbounds, Onyewu said a fan of the opposing team reached over a
barrier and punched him in the face....

Players and antiracism experts said they expected offensive behavior
during the tournament, including monkey-like chanting; derisive
singing; the hanging of banners that reflect neofascist and racist
beliefs; and perhaps the tossing of bananas or banana peels, all
familiar occurrences during matches in Spain, Italy, eastern Germany
and eastern Europe.

I am sure many American black athletes still have stories to tell about encountering racism, but didn't we at least climb out of this kind of pit of overt racism forty years ago or so?  While European sophisticates have looked down their noses at US racial problems, European monocultures seem now not to be ahead of us but behind us in dealing with ethnic diversity.  Though there do seem to be plenty of Americans who long to take our country back to being a monoculture.


  1. bird dog:

    I usually agree with you, but you are mixing race with culture. A functional nation requires a single culture - an agreement on basic societal assumptions. But race itself is a stupid subject -nobody cares about race anymore except idiots.

  2. Max Schwing:

    Well, the racial eastern germany is not only a product of the Soviet rule, but also of the union of Western (wealthy) and Eastern (poor) Germany. But it is also a product of deeply criminalizing right wing parties and expressions (censorship), which actually only increases the need for those parties to express themselves through violence.

    However, as an American the danger from German left-wing wackos is ultimately bigger.
    A few weeks ago, an Attac terrorist commando demolished the car of a professor of economics at the Hamburg University (Straubhaar), because he was an apologetic for "neoliberalism". Those kind of attacks on "servants of the neobliberal propaganda of the US" have increased by 50 % in the last year!

    So, as an American, I'd be very careful of both, right wing and left-wing extremists, while the latter is neglected by the media and more likely to risk outrage during the WM.