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Ignorance Of Racism Is Still Racism

Ignorance Of Racism Is Still Racism

It’s a new angle on the racist defence but Wayne Hennessy’s credibility-stretching recent claim that he’d never heard of the Nazi’s was incredible. What was even more incredible was the fact that it worked. Its either an indictment of the low opinion we have of footballers Intellectual capacity or more likely, a willingness of the club to believe any excuse that means their valuable asset won’t be devalued.

For anyone not aware, the Crystal Palace goalkeeper was snapped at a team meal with his right hand extended at shoulder height and his left hand across his upper lip in what looked remarkably like an impersonation of Adolf Hitler. Hennessy claims it was not a deliberate pose and rather just an unfortunate moment captured by the camera. In fact he couldn’t have been doing it deliberately as he has no knowledge of Nazi Germany.

Let’s for a minute assume that his claim is true, that somehow a person growing up and being educated in the UK and consuming a diet of western popular culture never encountered anything about 1940’s National Socialism - should this not also be seen as a crime? Shouldn’t such an admission by a role model for thousands of kids around the world be also a sackable offence? Is it very different to the claim in post-war years by German citizens that they hadn’t realised there was a genocide taking place?

The simple fact is that every westerner, particularly those of white heritage, has a responsibility to learn about these atrocities and the other atrocities carried out on indigenous people worldwide. This is one of the key steps in starting to address white privilege and the advantages it bestows on the descendants of those criminals. 

Nobody, particularly white westerners should be allowed to opt out of this. We can’t let these things be forgotten or we risk seeing them repeated. The forces of the far right and white supremacy are on the march across Europe and in America. They have been lent a political legitimacy we could never have thought possible only a few years ago. They would love to see the crimes of the holocaust watered down and eventually forgotten.

With this is mind Wayne Hennessy is guilty, either of glorifying anti-semitism or being dangerously ignorant of it. Both crimes should come with a similar reprimand.

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