Italy’s Culture of Racism – or is it Misplaced Nationalism?

Italy’s culture of racism exposed by fans’ abuse of black football star

The songs are varied, offensive and, in at least one case, openly racist. “If you jump up and down, Balotelli dies” is a favourite with supporters of arguably the most famous Italian football club, Juventus.

“A negro cannot be Italian” is the chant that explains the vitriol. The target of the abuse is 19-year-old Mario Balotelli, a footballer with Italian champions Inter Milan and a rising star of Italy‘s Under-21 national team.

In England, Germany or France, Balotelli would be making headlines in the sports pages as one of the most exciting young prospects in the national sport. In Italy, his treatment at the hands of a minority of hostile football fans is turning him into a symbol of the country’s seeming inability to embrace a multi-ethnic identity. Last Monday, Juventus were fined for anti-Balotelli chanting at a match for the second time this season. Continue reading

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