The London 2012 Olympic games has barely begun yet two racist incidents have already been reported by the media including a Conservative MP who referred to the opening ceremony as “leftie multi-cultural crap”, and a Greek female athlete who has been expelled from the team after tweeting, “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food.”
Whilst the British media is trying to present an image of racial diversity and unity to the world two racist incidents have already occurred which the media has chosen to report.
The first incident took place before the opening ceremony. Greek female athlete, Voula Papachristou, a 23-year-old triple jumper was expelled from the Greek team after she tweeted, “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food.” (London 2012: Greek athlete ‘very bitter and upset’ over racism ban: Reuters/Guardian: Thursday 26 July)
Papachristou told the Guardian that the punishment was extreme and she believes she was made an example of her profile. Yet, Papachristou re-posted a tweet by Ilias Kasidiaris, a politician with the political far-right Golden Dawn part, which criticised the immigration stance of the current Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras.
Papachristou told the Guardian, “After so many years of hurt and sacrifices to try and get to my first Olympics I am very bitter and upset. But what has upset me the most is the excessive reaction and speed of the disciplinary decision.”
It can be argued that if she was a professional athlete she would have been training rather than insulting Africans and immigrants on Twitter. The Greek Olympic Committee made the right decision which sends the right message to their athletes, that they are here to compete in sports not spew far-right views on forums.
The second incident involved Conservative MP, Aidan Burley, who is the MP for Cannock Chase, who criticised the opening ceremony as “leftie multi-cultural crap…” on Twitter. (Tory MP Forced To Say Sorry Over Olympic Gaffe: Sky News: 28 July)
Apparently Aiden Burley was opposed to the historical references to the creation of the NHS and the Jarrow march, a 1936 protest against unemployment in the North East. He was supposedly also opposed to the number of Black and minority ethnic faces shown as part of British history in the opening ceremony.
Burley has since been forced to apologise for for what Sky News refers to as a ‘gaffe’, which means a clumsy error, when in reality he was speaking his mind, there is no mistake about what he uttered.
Burley’s views are shared by many who showed support for his speech on Yahoo comments. Lesley wrote on Yahoo comments, “Gavin Barwell MP, I dont think most londoners are happy with the diversity. They are really worried about what will happen next.“
Closs writes, “I agree with him – you cannot have any event in this country now without loads and loads of ethnics who, let’s face it, are far from welcome by most of us. Multi culturism? Give me a break…..”.
Sir “Jock” Strappe wrote, “I really enjoyed watching the opening ceremony on TV. Throughout the program I couldn’t help thinking that Black people were hugely over represented all in the name of Political Correctness. For example the black industrialist from the 19th century dressed in stove top hat along with Brunel. Just an observation nothing else.”
How long can the British media keep up the pretence that many whites celebrate and embrace diversity and multiculturalism when clearly even MPs and athletes cannot hold back their contempt for Black and minority ethnic populations in their country?
Burley and Papachristou are only mentioning what many others dare not utter publicly. Actor Mel Gibson, X Factor judge Danni Minogue, and singer Miley Cyrus have all been involved in racism incidents which made headlines. (Read Actor Mel Gibson’s racist comments caught on tape and Black TV presenter called a ‘nigger’ at the Baftas)
The truth may be that we do not know how many musicians, actors, politicians and sports men and women hold similar views. The media controls what we read and hear about, but it can be safely concluded that racism is far more pervasive than we are being led to believe.
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