Racism is very much alive in sport, despite it being one of the few remaining public spaces for anti-racism, and new forms of racism are emerging. So said Professor Ben Carrington at a Europe House discussion on racism in sport held last week, in partnership with Runnymede. So, is the debate actually progressing and how can we move forward?
Even football-phobes cannot have failed to notice the recent Euro 2012 tournament (won, predictably, by the pre-eminent Spanish side), and the many programmes and articles highlighting the racist abuse of players by fans. Add this to the recent high-profile cases of (alleged) abuse by players on other players – such as Luis Suarez being banned for abusing Patrice Evra, and John Terry being stripped of the England captaincy while under investigation for abusing Anton Ferdinand – and you can see why racism in sport has been so widely-discussed of late.
Former footballers Paul Elliot CBE and Paul Mortimer spoke at the event, giving affecting accounts of the abuse they received, including from their own fans and teammates. Many see footballers as huge egos, grossly overpaid for playing a kids’ game. Paul Elliot helpfully emphasized that the football pitch is the footballer’s workplace and everybody has the right to work in a place free from discrimination. Racism in sport is about rights.
Today's blog post is written by Klara Schmitz, a research and policy analyst at Runnymede. This piece also appears on the website of the UK Race and Europe Network (UKREN).
Greek left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras has today accused European leaders of “playing poker with European people’s lives”, by insisting on austerity measures, whilst David Cameron is due to tell French President François Hollande that austerity is working and “we are moving in the right direction”, when they meet tomorrow. Austerity has been the main prescription across Europe for dealing with the continent's nearly three-year-old debt crisis, but what impact is it having on ethnic minorities and anti-racism work across the EU?
Back in 2010 Amnesty International’s Annual Report demonstrated that the economic downturn had led to a rise in racism and xenophobia in public discourse in Europe. Earlier in May, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published their Annual Report claiming that the economic crisis was fuelling the rise of racism and intolerance in Europe. It said that the lack of economic opportunities and welfare cuts are pushing ethnic minorities into poverty, and feeding negative attitudes towards immigrants.
ECRI has recently reiterated its concerns about the persistence of racist violence across Europe, and the economic crisis is often seen to be fuelling fears among the general public that can lead to racist attacks on ethnic minorities and migrants. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of racist attacks in many countries, including Italy, Malta and Greece.
Today's blog post is written by Klara Schmitz, research and policy analyst at the Runnymede Trust
In the past few months several developments have reignited concerns about the prevalence of racist murders and the role of the far-right across Europe.
Firstly, the passing of Holocaust Remembrance Day and the six month mark since attacks in Norway at the hands of far-right sympathiser Anders Breivik, have both renewed calls to tackle right-wing extremism in Europe.
Secondly, some influential figures have recently highlighted the urgent need to combat racism, both in the UK and across the continent. In the wake of the convictions for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, mother of the victim Doreen Lawrence has called for the UK government to do more to tackle racism in the UK. In addition, Europe’s human rights commissioner Thomas Hammarberg recently stated in a speech to the Council of Europe that not enough political leaders in Europe are taking a stand against racism and xenophobia in their countries.
Today's blog post was written by Runnymede's deputy director Sarah Isal
Any general election or presidential campaign is interesting for many reasons, not least the fact that this is the time when different parties and candidates lay out their plans, vision and aspirations and put forward their case for being elected. The upcoming French presidential election campaign is particularly important to keep an eye on from the perspective of race equality and immigrants’ rights.
This is partly because ever since 2002, when Jean Marie Le Pen, then leader of the extreme right party Front National made it into the second round of the election at the expense of socialist Lionel Jospin, French politicians, especially on the right, know all too well that they need to capture his electorate to win the election. In order to do so, they have to make sure that certain themes are central to the campaign, namely immigration, law and order and of course more recently Islam and Muslims.
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr spoke in London at St Paul's Cathedral on his way to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Runnymede is delighted to have supported an anniversary lecture on 4 December on how we can end racism today and work towards Martin Luther King's dream.
St Paul's have written up the event here, with Runnymede's Director putting it in current context here.