SRtRC responds to Morelos article in the Daily Record

Keith Jackson recently wrote an article in the Daily Record talking about Jonne Lindblom as the ‘deal broker who first trafficked a teenage Morelos’. Pertaining to the trafficking comment , a recent BBC documentary highlighted that people are now the second most lucrative criminal commodity after drugs in Scotland.

Imagine leaving your country for a better life, placing your trust in the hands of people who promise to get you to a better life and then are sold in to human trafficking. Imagine your life being sold and imagine being powerless and unable to change your situation. Thousands of people a year are thought to be victims of human trafficking right here in our own bonnie Scotland.

Jackson then said ‘there may be better established routes across the continents than the one with which Lindblom smuggled Morelos into Rangers FC from Pablo Escobar’s home town’. Show Racism the Red Card is unclear on what these better routes are? Thousands of Economic Migrants and Students come to our country a year, while thousands of Asylum Seekers are fleeing persecution, war and are looking for safety. They are so desperate that they risk their lives and families lives looking for that safety.

Jackson then went on to say ‘yes, other more obvious Colombian products are available’. .. ‘He’s attracting sniffs from a cartel of English clubs…’

While an individual may get lost in the fervour of watching television on various media platforms, for example Narcos on Netflix, the aforementioned references propagate a stereotype and discredit the hard work, skills and ability Morelos has, which has seen him rise to the top. Moreover, Colombia is a story about land grabbing, eviction and intimidation around the expansion of the roads infrastructure and plagued by extreme poverty, armed conflict, drug trafficking, violence and the presence of guerrilla and paramilitary groups. Moreover, our Chief Executive Ged Grebby recently told us of his trip to Colombia last year where young people were provided with football kits. These young people were so grateful for these football kits, that they wore them for the two weeks Ged was there. Unwashed.

Every human being is a unique individual with many varied and complex elements to their identity. Labelling someone and applying stereotypes to them is extremely unfair as it doesn’t allow that person to be truly who they are, but confines them and often misjudges their potential and ability.

Even if there is no obvious or immediate victim, none of our words, actions or behaviours are without consequence. We each have an individual or collective responsibility to ensure that we are not contributing to an environment where racism and other forms of prejudice are allowed to flourish and try to effectively challenge it when we see, hear or feel it. We will all feel disgusted and outraged by the act of genocide – the ultimate expression of prejudice, and we may feel like we would never consider physically hurting someone or attacking them for their skin colour, nationality, religion or culture, but by accepting these stereotypes and telling racist jokes, we are actually providing support for those few who do.

People in the media, should take their responsibility seriously and take out opportunities to send out positive messages of inclusion and equality.

The article fails to see the very harrowing, real human conditions that Colombian people are currently living in, as well as the difficulties that ethnic minority people face here on a daily basis.

We cannot forget our fellow humans. We cannot forget the impact our words have on their experience of life.

While we do not believe that Keith Jackson is racist, his words propagate racial stereotypes and serve to entrench divisive ideas about marginalised communities. It is however, a mistake that is easily made, we see it often in our workshops with young people and adults alike and that is why education is important, to dispel misinformation and give a person the opportunity to understand why something is wrong as opposed to simply telling them it is wrong. Not all of us have had the opportunity to receive anti-racism education and people just simply aren’t aware of what constitutes racism.

In his book The Nature of Prejudice psychologist Gordon W. Allport a pyramid of prejudice. In order to explain or clarify what happened in Nazi Germany.

The base of the pyramid is made up of the below:

1.      Spoken Abuse—the base of the pyramid of negative actions is speech. This often takes the form of talking or joking about a group as if all members of that group were one personality or had one set of features. Spoken abuse includes all of the following:

• Degrading names

• Verbal attack

• Stereotyping

• Music/songs that are degrading

• Jokes

• Rumours