Liverpool Anti-Racism

20 May

This iconic photograph of John Barnes, one of Liverpool’s most famous black players, shows him as he backheels a banana off the pitch that had been thrown by a racist fan.

Liverpool FC is one of many clubs in England that have taken steps towards addressing the issue of discrimination in football. According to the Equality Standard established by Kick it Out, Liverpool is still in the preliminary stage. However, I am very pleased with the work that they have done so far and would like to share two films with you that demonstrate that Liverpool is moving in the right direction.

The first is a one-hour documentary called From Gayle to Babel: The Black Contribution to LFC that premiered in 2008 and celebrates the contribution of black players to the club’s success story as part of  Black History Month. The documentary features revealing interviews with a host of stars describing their experiences as black players from the 1970’s through to the present day. The documentary brings together Anfield’s first black footballer Howard Gayle, together with contributions from John Barnes, Emile Heskey and Ryan Babel amongst others. I’ll admit that I’m not a Liverpool supporter and knew very little about the club’s history but still found this documentary very insightful and worth watching. It is especially interesting to look at this issue through a historical lens and to examine the changing situation of racism in football. In particular, the film covers how each black player paved the way for the black player of the next generation.

“The documentary shows pride in our diversity and celebrates the work of these footballers and the impact they’ve had at England’s most successful football club,” claims Rakesh Daryanani, Diversity & Inclusions Officer at LFC.

The film is available for free from Liverpool’s website and can be accessed through the link below

http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/eseason/History/Post-2000/From-Gayle-to-B-13911.php3

Another poignant film that Liverpool has to offer is called Colour Blind. The 20-minute drama was inspired by the 1970 comedy-drama Watermelon Man and shows a racist white family turn black for the day. The film was created after the gruesome murder of Anthony Walker, which was racially motivated. The murder jolted the Liverpool community and brought the issue of racial discrimination to the forefront of discussion. Four years after the murder, Liverpool FC chose to honor his memory  by teaming up with the Anthony Walker  Foundation to create the film.

David Okoro, Chairman of the Anthony Walker Foundation said: “By combining a very serious subject matter with comedy, the film manages to reach out to the same young people who are the focus of our education programme. If we can make just one person stop and think twice about the issues raised in the film then it can certainly be called a success.”

In response to the film, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says, “I think we are moving in the right direction as far as racism is concerned but we have to stay on top of it and keep drilling the message into people and society as a whole.

The film is available for free and can be accessed through the link below

http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/eseason/Features/Colour-Blind-13910.php3

Sources

http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/stadium/anti-racism

for more about the Anthony Walker murder read:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/merseyside/4477156.stm

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