Greg Clarke, the FA Chairman, has fallen on his sword for, among a selection of meek faux pas, describing black people as ‘coloured’.
From that point, everything was going to get stuffed into the fact-mincer. ‘Coloured’ is a problematic term because while it is deemed by many to be offensive, ‘of colour’ is not. ‘Of colour’ is the kind of terminology that Hollywood actresses drop into their acceptance speeches when they are simultaneously assimilating into the mainstream while accentuating their difference. Grammatically, though, there is not a blue Rizla paper between the two. One would be your chosen expression, the other your expression of choice.
So, forget all those bonkers explanations about ‘normative whiteness’ and the ‘colouring in’ of others. It sounds groovy, but it’s the horseshit of race-psycho reverse-engineering.
The potentially offensive quality of the term stems from the historical association of ‘coloured’ from the segregated US and Apartheid South Africa. It’s the same with people in the workplace wanting to get a solid fix in place and everybody grimaces when they mention a ‘final solution‘. Nobody for a moment thinks that the COO is administering genocide at the weekends.
So while the two terms mean the same, one has a historical association that pulls a few (hair) triggers.
‘Offensive words’ – and this is still subjective – are so adjudged by most reasonably grounded people. ‘Being offended’ is as much about how something is received as the words uttered. I am not suggesting for a thought-policing moment that nobody should be offended at what was said – just that it falls into what needs to be sucked up. Deeming it universally offensive brings us back into the very same totalitarian sphere when others tell you what to think.
In 25 years’ time, the term ‘coloured’ will in any event have run out of linguistic steam because most of the people who fall back on it will have shuffled off the mortal coil. Like gramophone and wireless, it will have had its day or run its course.
So this is starting to look like a guy who perhaps hasn’t moved quickly enough with the times, but did that mean he should have gone? If he’d had a rant and chucked a few N-bombs in there, he’d still only be resigning the once.
In previous times, Personnel would have had a word, and that would have been that. No so nowadays, when super-woke HR snakes are slithering all over each other, fork-tongues drawn, and bursting to land the fatal blows that will bolster their standing as the standard bearers of virtue-signalling self-righteousness.
And lest we forget, Clarke has been publicly chastised by a gang of shysters who landscape their gardens, refit their kitchens, and entertain escorts on parliamentary expenses. Sorry – who is the criminal here?
Interestingly, old Clarkey had also pointed out (via an anecdote that was related to him by one of his staff) the dearth of South Asian footballers and the notion that gayness was not innate but a ‘life choice’. Given that the scarcity of sub-continental stars in elite football is something long bemoaned by the FA and beyond, and that the latter is a theory advanced by many LGBT activists and thinkers, were these comments any more than merely facts and opinions?
The most damaging snippet of opinion was arguably about girls not liking being hit with a hard-kicked ball, but this was again a view recounted to him by a coach. In fairness, that has always been a bugbear of all footballers who would occasionally during winter months get one square in the thigh for a ‘red-hot stinger’. The hardest, hairiest ballers would baulk at a stinger, have no fear.
So, where does this leave football? You might conclude not in a better place. The FA has lost all the talent that their Chairman presumably does have on the strength of the tact that he doesn’t. Progress for football – which will not solely rest on political correctness – will now doubtless be thrust onto the lap of some hip tosspot full of right-on gobwaffle, who will not know his ringpiece from a hole in the ground.
Kick It Out, the organisation tasked with eliminating racism from football, have predictably stuck their oar in after the fact and can however at last celebrate kicking something out. The trouble is that it isn’t a racist. Speak to any black player in the game, and they will tell you that the first serious step in kicking out racism will be to kick out Kick It Out.
But as it stands, another one bites the dust, and those who tonight are feeling chuffed with the head honcho’s decision to impale himself (by choice) on his (non-pork) sword are the crowd who have always been happier with a scalp than a convert.
It is why divisions in the game – and beyond – have never been more marked.