Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Times: Balotelli Vs Barwuah

Friday, June 29, 2012, 11:47 by Alison Bezzina
I’m betting my last dollar that there isn’t one single racist in Italy today. With Balotelli’s performance yesterday, he went from mad Mario to Super Mario and now everybody seems to have turned egalitarian and all-embracing of the darker race. It’s incredible how success can make people forget that you’re short, skinny, black, yellow or wear hair clips.
Balotelli was born in Italy to Ghanaian immigrants. After he fell ill as a toddler he was fostered by an Italian family in Brescia. Though he took the name Balotelli from his foster parents, he only uses it on his shirts when playing football. In the beginning of the Euro 2012 tournament it was rumoured that he would use both family names on his shirt; he had also claimed that if he was racially abused during the Championship, he would walk off the pitch – neither one happened – as far as I could see he only used Balotelli on his shirt, and despite the many racist comments, he never walked off.
And now, after his incredible performance yesterday, everyone is rooting for him, no one seems to mind that he’s darker than the night, comments likening him to King Kong have given way to words of praise and God-like powers, and his historic outbursts are on the way to becoming legendary.
Sadly the change of heart had nothing to do with the multi-million dollar anti-racist RESPECT campaign that UEFA has been brandishing all these years.  Unfortunately, it neither had to do with the logical and scientific evidence that proves that whites, blacks and all shades in between are, essentially the same.
Sadly, what has eradicated racism (albeit temporarily) so effectively, is an emotional, illogical and passionate compulsion to win a game that will ultimately make absolutely no difference in anyone’s lives…. except those of the bookmakers.
But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and the best thing about all this is that successful black people like Balotelli cannot hide being black. 
Black success stories cannot pretend to be anything else, so when they make it, it is out there for everyone to see, everyone, including all the ignoramuses who associate character traits, abilities, intelligence and self-worth with skin colour.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about people of different sexual orientations.
With the exception of a few, most gay people in successful positions don’t advertise their sexuality unless asked about it directly. They argue that who they sleep with has nothing to do with their success, or their role in society and of course, in most cases this is entirely true.
But to my mind, keeping your sexuality a secret is equivalent to keeping your wife/husband and children hidden unless somebody asks about them directly.  
It also means that homophobes – those lovely people who don’t think that homosexuals are not equally human and able - keep feeding their self-fulfilling prophecy that homosexuals never amount to much.  
As a result, those fearful parents who suspect that their son is gay, will keep pushing him the other way because they love him to bits and they want him to make something out of his life but have never seen anyone gay who’s really made it.
Their favourite politician is straight, their favourite footballer is straight, their doctor, their lawyer and their architect neighbour, are all straight. The only gay they know is Little Britain’s ‘only gay in the village’ and they’d rather die a painful death before letting their son go down that road.
So, whilst efforts such as the Labour Party’s ‘It Gets Better’ video are welcome, and might go a long way at winning the gay vote, it is ‘the’ gays themselves who will eventually make the biggest difference.
So, please, come out, come out, wherever you are!

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