Monday, November 30, 2009

Forza Balotelli!

This is the first (and probably last) time I speak of soccer here, despite the evident passion Italians have for it. And not only Italians. I'm not interested in team sports. Where soccer is concerned, I wholly agree with George Orwell's lucid and incisive analysis, according to which sports in general and soccer in particular exacerbate aggressiveness, rivalry, and ethnic and national divisiveness. This is where he famously defined sport as "war minus the shooting."
Mario Balotelli is a highly-talented player for Inter. He is an Italian, born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, and later informally adopted by Italians. This spring and more recently, some goons who were tifosi (fans) of the opposing team pleasantly addressed the 19-year-old by saying: "negro di merda" (shitty nigger) and "non ci sono negri italiani" (there are no Italian negroes).

Now SuperMario has been known to be obnoxious. Two things: obnoxious behavior is becoming increasingly common everywhere and the kid is nineteen. And God only knows how many times he's heard things like this in his nineteen years.

No matter what someone's behavior is, it is not right to bring up the racial aspect, especially in such repulsive terms. The Italians need to confront their own racism, of which this is just one more example. To the kid I say: Forza Balotelli!