Why is this not racist

The Voice, a newspaper for people of coloured background… African Englishpersons… whatever – has compiled a list of the most influential black people in football. Surely this is racist? Can anyone imaging the outcry if the BNP published a list of the most influential white people in football?

Can’t people just see past skin colour? Can’t we just have a list of the most influential people (should it even be needed), regardless of skin colour? Is it so ******* difficult for people to see past a skintone?

****’s sake.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

ultimitely it is an exercise in pointlessness – do you really care about which footballers are the most powerful? black, white, yellow, pink, purple, orange , whatever – it’s a way for a newspaper to fill inches.


Judging by the type of paper it is, it’s a way for them to fill pages. And issues. And volumes.

Dewi Morgan

Black, White, Welsh, Geordie, Scouse – people make lists about ’em. Why’s it a problem? I have never understood the kindof “anti-racism” that says you cannot acknowledge your history, your culture, your peers, your language, your background, your skin colour, your hair colour, your gender, and that all these things are unmentionable and we must all pretend to be blind to these differences.

BULLSHIT! You over there! You’re black! You, you’re Welsh! You’re a woman. You’re a fat, white, middle-aged man in a suit. You’re a jock. You’re a geek. You’re a goth. She’s an emo over in the corner, or maybe it’s a he, hard to tell with that hair.

Should ANY of you be ashamed of that? Even the emo kid? Should we all strip ourselves of our surnames, so that we aren’t differentiated on the basis of heritage, and never make lists of “The ten most important Morgans”?

So here you have a newspaper for people who share an trait, and are interested in that trait, containing a list of prominent people who also share the same trait. Would you be offended if there were a list of the top ten philatelic footballers in a stamp collector’s magazine?

And no, I wouldn’t be offended by “the top ten white footballer” lists. Only problem with it is that the category is so broad as to make the list largely meaningless. In top-flight football, the same is not (yet?) true for black people. Or philatelists. Or Welshmen. Or Morgans. Or…


If the list were of the top ten black people (how come we can call them black in the UK, but not the US?) who’d made some major difference to something, overcoming all odds to get where they are and make a major difference… then yeah. I can go with that. Martin Luther King. Malcolm X. Cassius Clay (not within boxing, but as an anti-war spokesman and incredibly intelligent individual).

But footballers? Influential? Horse-pucky. They didn’t overcome jack ****. They were/are just better at punting a ball around than anyone else. Their skin colour is – in this case – utterly meaningless.

On the BBC discussion, one person is trying to argue they’ve gone through harder times and been sworn at more by fans. Racial abuse and so on. Horse-****. OK, it’s probably true – they’ve been abused for their colour. But another player will have been abused for his accent. Another for being gay. Another for shagging some slapper who sold the story to the tabloids. Or a granny (stand up Wayne Rooney).

As far as football’s concerned, teams will pick and purchase the best players they can regardless of colour (on the whole) because they want to win.

I’m all for someone saying that one black player may have been influential because he was the first… in a country where racism is rife. The first black *baseballer* I would find more interesting as that event occurred in a country with a much worse record (at the time) for segregation. But trying to claim that a player is influential for *being* black, or being influential and happening to *be* black is – frankly – ridiculous

Dewi Morgan

Google “influential footballer” and you get Maradonna, and Cantona, listed as the first hits. And it’d be hard to argue that Beckham didn’t influence a generation of kids. To be influential, they don’t have to change the world, or bring in a radical new potential cancer cure: just have an influence on the game, and the fans.

So, no, your argument that the term “influential footballer” is meaningless fails.

What are the ten most influential red-headed footballers? Or are we not allowed to make that list, not even in a magazine called “RedHead”, because it would be “biased against red-heads”?

Seems a bit ridiculous that the BBC thinks it’s news that in a newspaper by blacks for blacks they’re… omfg wow, talking about famous black people. But at least the BBC isn’t condemning these reporters for doing their job and writing about stuff relevant to their audience.

What list would you prefer to see on the sports pages of the Voice? A list of the most influential footballers, regardless of skin colour? How would that be any more relevant to their audience than a list of onelegged golfers, or tennis players with a Q in their name?


The term “influential footballer” in the context of skin colour is meaningless. As you said, we could get a list of most influential footballers who collect stamps. Or the most influential ones who pick their nose. Or who have surnames beginning with “G”.

The fact is they’re all pointless factors when considering an influential footballer. As, I believe, is race. Race is influential when it’s a factor in making it difficult for a person to *be* influential in that field… and skin colour isn’t. As I said, is a person’s good at football then a team will pick them up regardless and they’ll be influential (possibly) regardless, despite of and with no factor being attributed to their race. And this is how it should be.

If someone did draft a “most influential white footballers”, the sad fact is that it would quite likely seen as racist as the author would “obviously” be trying to exclude blacks from the list. At least, that’s the view I have of the militant “we can’t be seen to be racist” reverse-racism brigade.

I just don’t *like* to see people being singled out – positively or otherwise – for being black, white, red, skinny, fat, old, young… unless the reason they’re being singled out is because said factor created an additional challenge they had to overcome.

Jesse Owens in the German Olympics – his colour is a huge factor in the story relating to his success (and a sickening indictment of home country which virtually ignored his success).

Are there any newspapers in the UK for white people only? Geared at white people, advertised as being for white people and refusing to cover anything not directly related to white people? If there was, don’t you think it would be decried as racist? So why shouldn’t The Voice be treated as such?

I have *no issue* with the publication per se. I just hate the way that everything’s swung so that being pro-“minority” is acceptable, but as soon as we try to promote or glorify white people, it’s racist. Not just a problem with newspaper publication but the UK in general.

Going back to one of your earlier points, people *should* be proud of their history (unless they’ve got good reason to be ashamed, but on the whole) and the fact that we’re all different… but by having something like The Voice kinda says to me that the readers feel that they’re different or separate – and they shouldn’t be. They’re black people… they’re *people*. First and foremost. And in this day that should make bugger all difference.

Trite phrase to round up – we’re different, but we’re all the same.

Dewi Morgan

So the only influential thing black people can do is fight against racism, as opposed to, say, change the face of football in some other way? So Jesse Owens is worthwhile and black footballers are a waste of time, ’cause they were just doing the best they could as footballers? That’s a very… different point of view.

Seems like you’re saying “You aren’t allowed celebrate footballers who’re members of your group – and none of your group can possibly be as ‘influential’ as their peers unless they underwent even greater trials than those peers, and did something magic about discrimination, and could rub their tummy and pat their head at the same time, and any other conditions I feel like placing on them.”

When I was in Greece, there were newspapers for the English ex-pat community. But there were no newspapers for the “born in Greece” community. Was that discrimination? Or was it because that group was so large as to be meaningless? I think the latter. Same thing for white newspapers in the UK.

Should we have lambasted the ex-pat editors if they printed a “most influential ex-pats in cricket” list? I don’t think so. I think such a list would be relevant and on-topic for an ex-pat newspaper.


Jesse Owens was “worthwhile” at the time because of what he did *in that time period* where blacks were horrendously treated. he stood out as someone saying “Look? See? Black *and* an impressive athlete. And proud of my country, despite how you’re treating me and my people.”

Nowadays he’d be just another impressive athlete – his colour would be irrelevant. being good at something and being black is no longer proving anything as there’s nothing to prove (outside of redneck territory etc) as any right-minded human knows that black people are just as good, bad, indifferent, whatever as any white person.

Dewi Morgan

As I understand it, you have three arguments. If I’ve misunderstood any, then I’m viciously savaging a strawman:
* “‘Influential footballers’ is a meaningless category.”
* “‘Black British footballer’ is a meaningless category”
* “Even if both categories exist, it’s meaningless to rank the category ‘black British’ by their influence on football”

Your first argument seems to be “‘Influential footballers’ is a meaningless category.”

Let’s make sure we’re using the words in the same way here. Here’s how I understand them.

* “Most”: When everyone has a trait, like having an influence on the field in which they work (which everyone does), this word means those who have more of that trait than others.
* “Influential”: Influential in their field. Not influential for something that’s totally NOT THEIR JOB, like race relations.
* “Footballer”: Someone who’s field is football.
* “Black British”: one of many possible subcategories of “British”.
* “Most Influential Black British Footballer”: Every footballer will have an influence on the game. Maradonna, Beckham, Cantona… these have lots. In any group of footballers, including Black British ones, there’ll be “most” and “least” influential members of that group.

So unless you use the words in a different way, yes, “influential footballers” is meaningful for any subcategory of “footballer”.

“‘Black British footballer’ is a meaningless category” – you’ve yet to show why you think a list of “black British” footballers is not suitable in a black British newspaper’s football section. To me, all three words appear perfectly relevant.

* “Even if both categories exist, it’s meaningless to rank the category ‘black British’ by their influence on football” – but you’ve yet to show why it’s OK if you’re not splitting it into a subcategory, but not if you limit it just to blacks. I mean, if you have the group “black British footballers”, how would you pick the ones to list? The ones with the the ones with the nuttiest hairdos? The ones with the darkest skin? Or the ones who have the greatest impact on their field? I can’t think of any ordering which is MORE relevant.

But none of those three arguments seem like you, so I suspect I’m strawmanning all three, and you actually mean something else, which I’m missing.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x