Monday, May 22, 2006

In Germany, Concern Over Racial Violence at World Cup et al

In Germany, Concern Over Racial Violence at World Cup - Washington Post

Germany to Beef Up Patrols During World Cup - AP

A Transatlantic Conference Tackles Migration's Challenges - WashingtonPost

Britain's Goal: Hooligans Don't Get Past the Local Pub - WashingtonPost

German far-right in spotlight as World Cup looms - Reuters

It might initially seem reasonable for Blacks to look at the racism in Germany, revealed in the rise of neo-Nazi activities, and simply think of it as what happens with the unrestrained attitudes of Whites. After all, this view is consistent with 'Whites as racists' and the rest of a German history, which delivered two world wars and the holocaust.

However, before we become too attached to our superiority over the obvious hatred preparing to play it self out on dark-skinned world-cup fans in Germany, let us switch the ‘shoe’ to the other foot. What would happen if millions of, mostly White, soccer fans descended on California, or some other state-side host?

Instead of 'no-go' areas around Berlin, we would expect the warnings to extend to places like South Central Los Angeles, Compton, East Oakland and Richmond. Might we fear the version of our own violent dysfunction that we are now contemplating for Germany? After all, the violent crime rates in these parts of California, at times, feels like war.

We might also worry that our criminal element might too easily coax from their home turf, beckoned by the thought of so much ‘easy’ prey. Police departments would be on heightened alert. Civil liberties would certainly take a hit, in the name of keeping the lid on the ‘boiling pot’. These thoughts are not so far-fetched.

It is true that the street gangs of California would probably be more interested in profit from any crime they might commit, rather than the satisfaction a racist beating provides for a neo-Nazi skinhead, but that distinction is most likely unimportant, in either venue, to the recipient of the violence, or worse, their bereaved families.

So as we approach, with hope, the next month of world cup soccer in Germany, let’s remember that no place has a monopoly on problems or solutions, and that our ‘shoes’ are more interchangeable, in this world, than we sometimes first consider.

James C. Collier


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