It’s been a great week for racism in sports.
FC Barcelona player Daniel Alves was just doing his job and minding his business when a racist jerk threw a banana on the soccer field. Instead of getting upset, or turning into an angry Black man, he responded with a radiant gesture that’s garnered substantial global media attention.
That’s right. He ate the banana.
In pure mockery, Alves nonchalantly ate the banana with the clear intent of telling the racist asshole “F*** YOU!”
Racism is serious, but sometimes, it deserves no consideration. If a spectator can’t even attend a soccer game without displaying ignorance, then f*** it, they shouldn’t be reasoned with.
There are some forms of racism that require insightful responses. Clippers owner Donald Sterling espousing racism is significant and demands our attention; as an extremely rich and powerful businessman literally in charge of a myriad of talented Black men, he need not hold racist views that threaten the integrity of his players and the millions of fans with Black and Brown skin.
Politicians who represent an expansively diverse collective of people, and who oversee multibillion dollar budgets need not embody racist or prejudicial ideologies.
But an overlooked soccer fan? Puh-lease.
Mockery and public shaming are two of the greatest tools we have in dismantling overtly racist attitudes. When Twitter exposed the absurdity of the “White Man March,” we rejoiced. When social media savagely obliterated Justine Sacco, we chuckled.
And when Daniel Alves literally ate an insult and tossed it aside, we recognized how little power micro-racists have. How micro-racists hide in crowds because they know they cannot individually reverse the tides of diversity and multiculturalism.
Racism is ubiquitous, and it’s not going anywhere. And of course, there will continue to be instances where laughter does not remedy the heartache. But, there are those moments when racism is better overcome with a smile than a tear.