The camel-coated brigade



 Racial superiority is a mere pigment of the imagination

Walter Tull, the grandson of a slave in Barbados, was Britain’s second black football star, playing in midfield and on the wing for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town. He was also the first player to suffer racist abuse. 

A mere 90 years or so after Tull’s playing day’s, it would appear that racism and football are still sadly intertwined. Last week it was Liverpool’s Cisse on the end of some vicious ‘monkey chanting’, before that we have seen Wright-Phillips, Cole and Campbell suffer in much the same way. 

In the nineteenth century some scientists went to quite extreme lengths to prove that there were races. These scientists were all white Europeans and Americans, and not surprisingly they felt that white people were superior. Various schemes of classifying ‘races’ ‘proved’ that white people were more civilized and more intelligent than anyone else. 

Taken to their logical extreme, these ideas were the justification for Hitler’s attempts to exterminate ‘lesser peoples’, and for many other racist atrocities. 

The opinion of most scientists today is that there are no races. The attempt to categorize people into races was based on a few physical features-especially, the most noticeable feature of all, skin colour. 

In fact, when we look at other physical features, a very different picture emerges. Blood groups for example have nothing to do with skin colour. There are no clear cut races. 

Although the older and cruder kinds of racism are no longer considered acceptable, a variety of beliefs based on ideas about racial difference survive. One of the most enduring is about sporting ability. 

When Tirunesh Dibaba won the women’s 10,000 meters in Helsinki last week, how many of us reading this now either subconsciously or consciously made a comment or allowed a thought to enter your head about the Ethiopian learning her craft by ‘running away from lions’ or ‘legging it to school every morning because there were no buses’? 


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Games Room

Hand on heart? 
How many of you attribute Kenyan long distance runners talents to ‘big nostrils’ or being ‘born at altitude’? 

How many of us reckon the fact that black people make up 10% of the population in the USA, yet represent 70% of the top NBA players is simply down to the ‘long limbed nigger gene’? 

How many of us only 25 years ago ‘knew’ that black footballers could never be a success in Britain? ‘They couldn’t stand the cold, and in any case their ‘natural’ talent was only useful in flashy wing play; they don’t have the grit and determination to play in other positions. These ideas now sound ridiculous, and they are. 

Yet still racism persists. 
It persists in society and its returning to our national sport. 

The worst thing about the current wave of racism in this country is that more often than not it comes from ‘nationalist’ groups such as the BNP and the like. Groups professing to care about Britain, and to care about its heritage, yet spouting nothing more than vile half truths in order to court favour with the narrowest of minds. 

Ironically ‘political’ groups such as these have done little to but the ‘Great’ back into Britain and contribute nothing to the country they profess to care so much about.

And so back we come to Walter Tull. When world war one broke out, Tull, like many others, put away his football boots and immediately joined the first football battalion of the Middlesex regiment. Tull quickly progressed through the ranks and despite military regulation to prevent ‘any Negro or person of colour being an officer’, he received his commission in May 1917. 

On 25th March, 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Tull was ordered to lead his men on an attack on the German trenches at Favreuil. Soon after entering no mans land he was hit by a German bullet. Tull died that day and his body was never found.

If I haven’t done enough to convince you of the stupidity of racism, and the desperate need to break its connection with sport that appears to refuse to go away, let me end with a simple fact. 

In 1914 shortly before war broke out a British football club were in negotiations with Northampton Town to sign Walter Tull. 

Who were these champions of political correctness, standing up for the founding fathers of afro-Caribbean footballers on these shores? 

Who exactly was it that wanted desperately to sign the black Methodist from Barbados?

Glasgow Rangers. 

Mind how you go. 


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