Roy Hodgson should choose his words more carefully
As black journalists, we have a responsibility to try and interpret public debates about race, racial identity, and racism in an informed and informative manner.
It is right to say no-one can know what Roy Hodgson meant, other than Hodgson himself. But at the same time, we can draw on decades, if not centuries, of academic and popular discourse on why language is so heavily and inevitably loaded, whatever the intent.
We can also talk experientially of the impact a word like “monkey” has when used in the context of football and black players. Let us not forget, nobody is accusing Roy Hodgson of racism.
He is not a racist. He is a very good football manager. He has just managed to qualify England for the World Cup finals with a team of multiracial Englishmen who are all proud to play for their country.
But we cannot escape the fact that the words he used on Tuesday, while intending to perform an honourable function and motivate his team, have a hinterland.
And it is the responsibility of every English person, indeed, every Briton – all of us, journalists, too – to talk about this in an intelligent and informed way, without blame, just desire to understand.
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