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You think your people are better than their people? Ask for your school fees back

Parts of European football have a racism problem. When a black player is on the pitch, some fans in some countries will start making monkey gestures, or throw bananas on to the pitch.

Picture this: a grown man in the crowd starts jumping up and down, aping an ape. He makes primitive sounds. He does this in order to feel superior to another man, a man on the pitch, a man who is a finely tuned athlete, who works hard every day in training, a man who is probably paid hundreds of times more than the man behaving like a crude beast.

Yet the man in the crowd feels superior to the man on the pitch. Over the small matter of skin colour.

Whenever I come across this phenomenon, I am left puzzled. The idiot is clearly the buffoon hurling infantile insults. The man of accomplishment is clearly the footballer. Yet the former is the one mocking the latter. One has to resist the temptation to slap the gibbering fellow in the crowd around the head with his own bananas. Sadly, there are quite a few oafs like him around.

That underachieving drunks should feel they are better than well-paid athletes is interesting. It reveals that this base racism is not based on a thought process, but on ignorance and lack of intelligence.

But before we in turn start mocking the man doing the mocking in the football stadium, let us see the same evil in the people around us – or even in ourselves. Way too many of us are unable to see the particular, only the assumed generalization. Way too many of us don’t see a person first, we see a skin colour, a tribe, a religion first. Regardless of the merits of the person before us, our preconceptions of the traits of that person’s community rule our thinking.

Where do these preconceptions come from? Not from any objective analysis, or rational observation of people. No, this poison is imbibed early in life. No one is born a racist or a tribalist, we become that way. Someone has to sit you down when you are young and gullible, and tell you about those people. Most often, the person doing the stupid brainwashing is a parent, a teacher, a friend. Someone who equally was brainwashed by someone else. And so it continues.

If you don’t have the capacity to reason for yourself, you will swallow any ill-reasoned bile put your way. That people of Jewish or Indian extraction are money-mad; that black folks are dissolute or lazy; that a foreskin or its lack is a meaningful indicator of mental traits; that Muslims are naturally inclined to terrorism; that…I’ll stop there. It’s all gibberish.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many counter-examples are presented to the bigot – the brain only accepts the generalization, and fails to process the particular person before it.

While I can understand (if not forgive) the uneducated having these delusions, I am unable to be as charitable for those who actually went to school and university. If, after years of education, you still think your people are inherently superior to their people – please ask for your fees to be refunded. They were completely wasted.

Humanity is a totality. Our ethnic differences are only there to make us interesting, not better or worse. If you can’t see that, the problem lies with you, not the people you observe. We limit our lives hugely by confining ourselves to narrow groups and never seeing further than our noses.

The next time you catch yourself making assumptions about people because of their ethnicity, remember the idiot in the stadium making monkey sounds. That could be you right there.

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