The tricky thing about racism is that when you allow and approve one type of racist thought you tend to get more than you originally authorised.
The alleged racist abuse suffered by Rangers player Maurice Edu should not come as a surprise to anyone with any knowledge of the Ibrox sub-culture.
The possibility that some Rangers supporters had been involved in racist activity towards someone from an ethnic minority didn’t exactly challenge my worldview.
This is what Rangers is about for many of the Ibrox faithful. It is what defines them as a human community.
A specific type of racism lies at the heart of the bedrock support of Scotland’s establishment club.
The Irish community in Scotland and the Irish in general have a central place in the Ibrox belief system as the bete noire. The Irish who settled in Scotland are the enemy within par excellance for the followers of the Ibrox club.
Several things of this story are worth considering. The method of transmission. It was straight form the player himself via twitter.
The traditional media galloped to stay up with the story as it was disseminated via supporter’s message boards long before the print editions of the dailies had been dispatched in delivery vans.
Those in the “old media” who sneer at the digital age are increasingly sounding like defensive craft guilds that are rapidly being pushed into a form of cultural Luddism.
Twitter was one of the main conduits for information during the Iranian election crisis.
This technology can’t be referred to as the future.
It is here now.
With the Edu story people reading the back pages the next day already knew the basics of the story.
This makes it harder for a craven group of onside hacks to deliver for a vested interest.
Edu himself said that a “couple” of Rangers fans had racially abused him.
In the club statement it was ONE fan.
The tabloids faithfully followed the lone racist story.
Of course what cant happen in the Scottish tabloids is for their to be an analysis of why this incident should happen and could be connected to the overall identity and belief system of many thousands of Rangers supporters.
Throughout the “Famine Song” controversy members of the press in Scotland effectively wrote permission slips for those thousands of Rangers fans who were singing it throughout last season.
The “Famine song” has continued to be heard from Rangers supporters this season.
This is after it has been established in case law that it is racist and ipso facto illegal. The response in Scotland from the governing party and the soccer authorities apropos this ongoing anti-Irish racism is highly instructive.
Compare this to the swift and appropriate response to the racist abuse of Maurice Edu.
I have little doubt that the Ibrox club are embarrassed by this behaviour towards one of their own players.
Moreover I am also sure that those who have authority at Rangers FC would also pursue any of their own who behaved like this to a player from the opposing team with equal vigour.
The Rangers supporters trust whose spokesperson David Edgar had referred to the “Famine Song” as “a rather tasteless chant” was swift to issue a statement condemning the abuse of the young American.
There are no different types of racism, or different grades of racism
Racism is racism. Once Xenophobia is at large as part of an approved culture then it often finds new victims.
It is not up for debate that asylum seekers ands economic migrants into Northern Ireland have, in the main, received the most hostile response for the Loyalist community.
Although the central tenet of the Ulster Loyalist sub culture is a hatred and fear of the native Irish the Afrikaners of Coleraine are adaptable in the targets of their hatred.
Failure to condemn the “Famine Song” as a manifestation of anti-Irish racism and the disgraceful abuse of Maurice Edu are not unconnected.
If Rangers the supporters involved in this incident are to be rightly taken to task for abusing one of their own players (because of his skin colour) then the Ibrox support at large should also be challenged about their appalling attitudes towards the Irish.