Reflections on last night: #eng #racism

We did an incredible job getting to the final, scenes not seen for a generation. A diverse team championing what England aspires to be, a progressive collective moving toward a shared goal. Each earning more than their keep.
I applaud each of them, but special mention must go to @BukayoSaka87 , @MarcusRashford, and @Sanchooo10 who have not only represented a community of people under duress from common people and elites alike, but shown that ascendence to greatness is individual.
Reading the words of @GarethSouthgate from earlier this year, it is clear that the @England team is very much forward-thinking in tackling #racism and he, himself, a great and empathetic leader, is forthright in tackling, against potential anger, this great cause.
I remember my earliest years being about football. My grandad, a plumber, also coached. I played in my town team and at school. I had all the football strips. I cried in 1996 and 1998. I felt the passion that competition brings, but later also the unity that love for sport does.
These players are not only players, but fonts for the shared common dreams and aspirations of people regardless of a nation, but at the same time can feel the brunt of anger when these dreams are not met. But each of us has a responsibility to look to the good.
As a youngster of 12 I would not understand the #political utility of three black players missing a penalty, but I would understand the racism. I would understand that 'those different' would be targeted. I would understand because a child knows racism, he knows hate.
A child sees hate every day. He sees it in bullying, he sees it in the news, he is rarely complex enough to find reason or patterns other than the obvious. To him, hate is understandable because it is often a function of being juvenile, a fear of the different.
Those in power @BorisJohnson , @pritipatel who did not condemn the booing of #taketheknee, who benefited from the myriad expressions of racism and xenophobia that plagued #brexit, who tolerated hate for their own expedience, you are part of this. The 12 year old sees it clearly.
Last night's events are just a spotlight on a systemic issue, where those of black skin (and others,) will continue to be the scapegoats of society, when, in many cases, they are the very ones that make us who we are. England enjoys so many freedoms, hard fought.
When I consider #blacklivesmatter and #GeorgeFloyd, the passion of millions, and the political resistance. I see not sense, but fear of a privileged class who may lose their power. Not their money, as this is safe in offshore accounts, but their tools of trickery.
A government needs scapegoats to justify their selfishness, they need 'an other' to displace blame for their manipulations. And they need to convince the populous of a moral need to hate. It does not matter if a black man is a doctor or a cleaner, it is felt.
Hate, psychologically, is designed to protect us. We think in tribes, our ancient minds ill-adapted for modern life. But we are all essentially the same, we all love, fear, covet, dream and feel. Our countries of birth do not remove this.
Culture differs, but in the end, these are expressions of history, social value, and survival. Some we may agree with, others not. But most people, regardless of country, would agree with you on most things. The big things that separate us are usually created and used by power
There is no doubt that last night's events are simply fueled by political mirth, exploiting the results of government betrayal of people and scapegoating those who are most vulnerable. They are vulnerable because the government keeps them so, it is useful to them.
But these three players, as well as the team, have shown us that #football can not just be a unifier of those dreams the common man has, but an opportunity to see that passion and aspiration are as individual and possible as each their own story.
Rashford stood up for poor children, filled their bellies. He combated negligence. He did more than 300 white politicians. He did this because his heart reflected what most of us agree on, common values. He showed love before himself.
Those who abused these players yesterday are victimisers but also victims, manipulated but also responsible. I do not forgive them their actions, they are not 12, they are not beyond reproach. These are adults, and their choices are theirs.
All we can do is challenge the system, learn and educate, champion black voices (and others,) and have #zerotolerance for abuse. Football has rules, as does society. And society is moving forward. Racists will be left behind.
England are a team, and those who are abused are part of that, but they work hardest. They stand shoulder to shoulder with us, They share our dreams, rights, and privileges. To blame them is to shortcut ourselves and betray our values.
We are not childish minds, we do not need hate to survive, we do not need to blame others for what they are absolved of, we do not need to to play the game of elites who hold us down. #racism is a product of political utility, superstition, and nonsense.
To those who abused our men, let it be known that you will need to prove yourselves worthy. To learn that the differences you see are a reflection of you, not them. To take responsibility for your learning, your improvement, your place in society. All you project to them is you.
In the meantime, like our boys at #wembley, let us work together toward a common goal, and not let the uncouth action of malcontents ruin our progress. I stand with #rashford, #saka, and #sancho. I stand with #BLM. I stand with progress and unity. And I stand against #racism.
Let our youngest dream that colour means nothing beyond their own identification, that unity and passion are enough for aspiration, that your birth does not inherit your limits, and that forgiveness and empathy mean more than hate. We can do better.
My 12-year-old self would be nodding along, as he knows that despite the complexity of my 32-year-old prose, the message is right. He would wear his strip proudly with 'Rashford' on the back. He would care only for his hero. Let us be heroes, and see them for the heroes they are.
And as an aside, there is nothing more English than missing penalties in a tournament. It is as English as tea and biscuits.

And to the media and pundits looking to feel good for endorsing racism, fuck you. We see you.

Please #retweet


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