Since last Sunday (21), the world, not just football, has been mobilized in the face of yet another racist attack directed at Vini Jr. What differentiates this one from all the others suffered is the wide open way in which the Brazilian was treated both inside and outside the four lines. Since making his debut for Real Madrid – which for many is the biggest football club on the planet – Vini has suffered all kinds of persecution; even before reaching the age of majority, he was already suffering from nicknames and nicknames uttered by the considered specialists of the Brazilian sports media, as in the case in which he was called neguebinha (in reference to striker Guilherme Pinto, known as Negueba) by comedian Lopes Maravilha.
Leia: Attack against Vini Jr. is ‘clear warning of the prevalence of racism in sport’, says UN
This was not the first, nor the last attack that the attacker would suffer, but it was especially marked by the fact that his talent, still 16 years old, was already being put to the test, as if he already had to be a “made man”. without even having the chance to grow up first, something quite common when we think about the process of subjectivation and socialization of black men, continually seen and closed from an anticipation of their adult phase as a tool of whiteness to legitimize anti-black discourses towards young people peripherals.
In the years that followed, Vini was pursued on the field, he was beaten like few players in the history of football, breaking records of fouls suffered to the exact extent that his talent was questioned; they said he didn’t know how to finish, that he didn’t make good decisions, that he was immature and, in one of the most iconic episodes in the recent history of football, he was even accused by his teammates of “playing against us” (in the words of Karin Benzema to Mendy, during the break of the match against Borussia Monchengladbach). Was he still being questioned, anticipated and his answer? Always the silence of words that were only made in form through football.
:: Without lowering your head: Vini Jr. has a firm stance after a new racist episode and takes on a leader ::
At that point, he was only 20 years old, and, on his back, the responsibility of taking over the gap left by the greatest idol in Meringue history, Cristiano Ronaldo. He didn’t reach that position, but he ended up taking on the role of running the wings to distribute the offensive game that made him establish himself in the starting lineup for his main footballing brand, which, in addition to his ability with the ball at his feet, was exactly his ability move on and try again. A young black man who, even without making a single word about fulfilling himself in the world in the way that Brazilian blacks commonly learned to survive, with insistence and resistance to continue existing.
:: Vini Jr.: We need anti-racist practices with exemplary punishments, on and off the field ::
The peak of the attacks, at least until then, took place in the derby against Atlético de Madrid, where what was seen in the vicinity of both the stadium and the city as a whole, was a real persecution against the Brazilian. Spread banners, racist chants and a doll with his already legendary shirt #20, hanged from a viaduct, with the words Madrid hates Real, and Real, at that point, was Vinicius Júnior. The passionate about the game, who months before had been persecuted because of his irreverence and joy on the field to the point of trying to prevent him from dancing in their celebrations, generating a mobilization around the #bailavinibroke the silence and said that he would continue dancing and doing what he knows best: playing the game.
As much as he is one of many blacks in the madridista squad, Vinícius Júnior embodies everything that the racist cannot see as potentially possible for a black man to possess: talent, attitude and, above all, the active voice to go head-to-head with whatever violence of a racial nature that he suffers. Round after round, he is hunted on and off the field, as if he were a black man who escaped from the mill, who is constantly being crushed into words, songs and even violence by his co-workers within the four lines.
Leia: Brazil contacts Spanish authorities about cases of racism against Vini Jr: ‘Ya basta’
Your reaction? Continuing to exercise his talent as he always did, dancing and being mean, the way the streets of São Gonçalo taught him to be; but the reaction to his reaction has not been consonant, quite the contrary. He continues to be beaten in the field, and if he complains about the persecution, he is usually the one who is punished. It is curious to say the least that in La Liga he has one expulsion and fifteen yellow cards, while in international competitions he only received a single yellow card – for tactical fouls, it is worth mentioning.
It is curious to see how the phenomenon of racism towards Vini reminds us of two issues that are often forgotten, especially on this side of the Atlantic. The first and, perhaps, most important, is that as much as Europe sells itself as the center of civility in the world, a self-proclaimed perfect humanity, this is, in fact, a den of difference, violence and, mainly, racism; Vini reminds me of the young Fanon who, in his contact with the French-speaking world, discovered early on that no matter how hard he tried to become French like the French, he would never become one because he was an inferior category of human in the eyes of Europeans, he was Black.
The continuous incursions against the young Brazilian player only show that the civilized image of the continent from which the caravels that enslaved African blacks left cannot be sustained when passed through the sieve of reality. Europe is racist. The country of Franco and Salazar is, above all, a product of fascism in its facet of radicalization in the anti-black discourse, a process that is not exclusive to Spain. It should be noted that, on a global level, as Fanon rightly emphasizes, racism is not exclusive to Europeans or Americans, but a cancer that structures capitalist society.
:: Eduardo Paes curses the president of the Spanish football league after criticizing Vini Jr. ::
And it is because of the need for differentiation with which it was founded to legitimize the colonial enterprise: the invention of race. The second question is precisely related to the invention of an epidermal differentiator that justified the interdiction of the black body as a commodity, inhumanized and impossible to be seen as a potential human being. Race functioned as a hierarchical differentiating operator, which accentuated a humanity in whites to the exact extent that blacks were relegated to the role of merchandise subject to all kinds of violence. The present colonial wound, as emphasized by Alexandro de Jesus, is present to the extent that black bodies continue to be managed from the consolidation of race as an ontological category through the formalization of the differentiation generated by colonialism.
By denying Vini’s right to reply, even accusing him of “provoking the racism” that he himself suffers for complaining about the attacks, which is the same as saying that a young black man shot by the police wanted to be shot because of his skin, we relegate the young player to a position of not only being inhuman, but also causing his own harm. One more colonial wound still open, the place of the black person as the cause of his own misfortune, as if he suffered the interdiction in torment, instead of being a consequence of the way in which society is structured on a foundation that sustains itself in differentiation.
I feel that we are losing football to the extreme right. Vini is, above all, our bastion of struggle in the dialogic field of representation in media evidence; I understand that many of us continually die in the streets without cameras to film their suffering. But if not even the rich black man is unscathed, what will he say about us?
With a few exceptions, such as Kaká (the last Brazilian to be elected the best male soccer player in the world) and Alisson (the goalkeeper elected by FIFA as the best archer in the world), all Brazilian men and women who have reached the top of soccer are black. The King and Queen of football, Pelé and Marta, respectively, are black. Didi, Mané Garrincha, Romário, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Neymar. And now, Vinícius Junior. Brazilian football has always expressed itself in glory for the color black, but it insists on sublimating from its history the value of those who raised not only the buildings but also carry on their backs the weight of the carts that made us carry under the yoke of the whip.
There is no room for “buts”, Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior, passionate about football and dancing, who is no longer one of the juniors in the world of football, does suffer racism. He lets the kid play. We’re together Vini! #bailavini
Read too: After Dino suggests applying the Brazilian law, Spain arrests at least 7 attackers of Vini Jr.
* Guilbert is a Clinical Psychologist, psychoanalyst and researcher at PPGFil – UFPE
** This is an opinion article. The author’s view does not necessarily express the editorial line of the newspaper Brasil de Fato Pernambuco.
Source: BdF Pernambuco
Editing: Vanessa Gonzaga
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