This year’s World Cup festivities in Brazil have been one of the most thrilling on record, with a strong showing by Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars. However, the ugliness of racism has reared its head at the Cup, prompting international football’s top governing body, FIFA, to investigate a group of men who came to a match in blackface, which is the racist practice of painting oneself black in order to mock Black people.
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According to reports, this Saturday, a group of German fans arrived at the stadium wearing blackface. A viewer of the event saw as many as eight attendees in blackface and posted the images in disgust on Instagram with the hashtags “#Germany.#racism#racists#worldcup.”
A Fifa spokeswoman said they would take any evidence or submissions to their disciplinary committee: “If they see any grounds they will open proceedings. Then it is up to the disciplinary commission to take the decision.”
During the 2-2 draw, a German fan with pro-Nazi messages written on his body invaded the pitch and was led away by the Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari.
The European anti-discrimination network Fare had previously submitted a complaint to Fifa over several neo-Nazi banners displayed at matches involving Russia and Croatia.
FIFA claims that it is doing all it can to stamp out occurrences of racist propaganda, but some observers feel the organization is doing poorly on that front. FIFA claims they are exhibiting zero tolerance of any display of racist signs or acts.
Blackface, a form of theater where a White actor paints their face dark to represent a Black person, took hold in America in the late-19th century. The actors played shuffling, subservient roles, speaking in exaggerated accents and involving themselves in buffoonish acts. It was a prominent part of the American theater. Blackface wasn’t much of a global phenomenon at the time, but it has resurfaced of late with White Europeans making a mockery of Black skin by painting their faces as well.
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