Argentina’s too-white football team falls on woke radar in Qatar
Now that Western virtue-signalers have successfully hoisted the LGBTQ flag over the World Cup, they have decided to turn their critical gaze to race.
While the people of Argentina celebrate the ongoing success of their national team in Qatar, a left-wing writer for the Washington Post chilled the festive atmosphere by dropping a race bomb: “Why doesn’t Argentina have more Black players in the World Cup?”
The response over Twitter from the South American nation was every bit as swift as it was devastating: “Because we are a country, not a Disney movie.” Another tweet from the same account stated, “We are not going to allow any ignoramus to accuse our beautiful country of being racist. Cheap progressivism has no place in Argentina.” That pretty much sums up the general attitude to the woke warriors who won’t be happy until their divisive message reaches the four corners of the planet.
Because we are a country, not a Disney movie. https://t.co/k8Lps8PgW2— La Libertad Avanza (@LLibertadAvanza) December 10, 2022
The piece, authored by Erika Edwards, an associate professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, wasn’t helped by the initial incorrect statement that “roughly one percent” of Argentina’s population of 46 million is black.
The Washington Post later issued a correction, saying it was an editing error and noting that “while the number of black people cited was accurate, the percentage was actually far less than one percent and the piece has been amended to state that.”
In other words, there were just 149,493 Black people living in Argentina as of the 2010 census, and that figure alone should make it more understandable why the 26-member national squad is made up entirely of ‘white’ players who, incidentally, the Post writer goes to great pains to argue are not really white after all.
“This history makes clear that while Argentina’s soccer team may not include people of African descent, or perhaps people that most would view as Black, it is not a ‘White’ team either,” Edwards writes in her article, which is in essence a history lecture pegged to the most popular sport in the world.
Essentially, her argument is that once upon a time, Argentina had been made up of many more black people, yet years of European immigration and other government initiatives worked to “erase Blackness from the nation.” Like any colonial nation, Argentina received its initial influx of black people when they were brought in as slaves. Over the centuries, black and indigenous people chose to increasingly mix with, and pass off as, white to escape marginalization, resulting in a country with a rich and colorful mix of people from all over the world. The skin color of these disparate Argentinian racial groups has historically included descriptions like morocho (tan-colored), pardo (brown-colored) and trigueño (wheat-colored).
Edwards points out that Argentina’s most famous football player, Diego Maradona, was a “non-White” morocho who went on to become “the face of Argentine soccer” and, ironically, a “White nation.” Yet when has that fact ever bothered the implicitly xenophobic home crowd? Never.
Is it fair to assume that Argentina is a rabidly racist place, as Edwards seems to believe, because the black population assimilated with the ‘whites’ over the course of centuries? Furthermore, isn’t assimilation between the races, going by the logic of the virtue-signaling mob, an inherently positive thing, the opposite of marginalization and segregation? After all, the depiction of mixed-race couples in commercials, films, and other media are celebrated as promoting equality. Yet the end result of all this mixing and matching is inevitably the ‘erasure’ of ‘blackness’, as well as any other ‘race-ness’. It’s something popularly referred to as a melting pot and seen as a good thing (incidentally, this description is often debunked as a myth when applied to the United States).
Sweden, for example, has allowed millions of migrants from the Middle East to settle in their country, where they have been marginalized into crime-infested ghettos on the outskirts of major cities. These people are not assimilating into Swedish life, and this has become a great embarrassment, if not a national security risk. In fact, the Scandinavian country has just elected a far-right, anti-immigration government to deal with the issue. Again, if the assimilation of minorities into a culture is the ultimate goal, then all this talk about ‘black erasure’ sounds very strange. If and when Arab assimilation occurs in Sweden, will future woke activists decry ‘Arab erasure’ in the land? Perhaps this is what frustrates so many people about this left-wing criticism: Whites, assuming they even exist, seem doomed to condemnation no matter what they do.
But even if Argentina were a country made up of 90% black people, why would it automatically be assumed as racist if no blacks were on the team? As in any profession, athletes should be chosen based on their individual merit and qualifications, not because they fill an equity quota.
Finally, if the racial makeup of Argentina’s national team has not provoked any questions from the people of Argentina, why must a professor from a woke university department in the US make it her business? Perhaps the most galling thing about social justice warriors is that they automatically assume that what appears to be a problem for them must also be a problem for the people they are examining from the safety and isolation of their ivory towers. All this does in the end is sow divisions between people where there are none.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.