the right to free speech, and the obligation to condemn hate speech.
disclaimer: this is an op/ed that does not reflect the views of anyone but myself. this is coming from the perspective of a black American man who has encountered his fair share of racial vitriol. but only a fraction of what my mom experienced, which was a fraction of what her mom saw. if you have any questions, please ask.
the infamous quenelle is the product of a French satire comedian-turned right-wing extremist. almost like a bizzaro Jon Stewart on the wrong side of history. it has subtext in anti-Semetic leanings, likened to a reverse Nazi salute. in the aftermath of Anelkagate, at least two well known soccer players, Nasri and Sokho, have had photo evidence of the same salute come to light via social media. sort of like bigoted planking for millionaires. if Mr. M’Bala, the creator of this pose, is as famous as reports let on, these players know exactly what the meaning is. naturally, there’s no way to prove this, but ignorance can only go so far.
antisemitism seems to be the open wound that won’t heal for Europe. like America’s crumbling, yet still gasping for life, racial caste system, people are still reminded that we always have progress to make. if it’s not Ajax’s nickname, originally meant as a pejorative, or the “Y-word” controversy just a couple months ago, it’s CSKA Moscow’s supporters forgetting that the Nazis they salute burned their grandparents’ land down to cinders. to be fair, American TV stars equate fellow humans to beasts and worse, so we’re no better.
Anelka’s mistake wasn’t making the gesture. it’s not playing coy. it’s being stupid enough to do this in a game. if he holds the same political views as M’Bala, my guess is that something stupid would have happened anyway. but as an outside player now, no longer the superstar he once was, it wouldn’t have broken Twitter. with the English game broadcast across the planet, millions (ok, for a WBA match hundreds of thousands) have now Googled the salute. whether it’s “anti-system" or antisemitic i’m sure some Semites, and goyem, were involved with the system that got Nicolas Anelka PAID.
political statements in sporting arenas aren’t always bad, but one has to be prepared for the fall out. Tommie Smith and John Carlos knew what was going to happen when they did this. they were accused of being racist, because logically, if white power means screw everyone else, black power must mean the same thing (it doesn’t). with decades of hindsight, most can appreciate this for what it was: a need for the world to know that the United States was broken and killing its own people for not being white. i somehow doubt that’s what we saw this past weekend.
twenty-thirteen has be a pro class on racial impropriety, starting the Schalker Kevin-Prince Boateng being slurred off of the field at A FRIENDLY while playing with AC Milan. we’ve had partial stadium closure, bananas, weaksauce fines that don’t bother these clubs in the slightest, and still, we have a governing body that does absolutely nothing about it. oh yeah, everyone’s darling Suarez doesn’t talk to blacks. it seems some have forgotten.
if the quenelle means what some say it does, Nicolas Anelka needs to get the Paula Deen treatment. it’s unfathomable that hateful speech and actions could go unpunished in the public eye. bigotry cannot hide behind religion or “not knowing it would hurt so many feelings” (that’s for the blackface celebrities that creep up every Halloween) or “this is what we do all of the time in my country.”
where i live, you have the right to say whatever you want. but there are consequences we all face for that right. Mr. Anelka isn’t American, but i’m sure he still has some consequences coming his way.
John Brown II