Is Controversy All That Italians Care About?

It seems as though all that matters to Italians is the amount of attention they can obtain and the people affected are none of their concern.

At the beginning of the month Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport published an article with the unnecessary headline ‘Black Friday.’ Underneath the headline was an image featuring two black football players, namely Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, former Manchester United teammates.

The headline left many people outraged although not surprised. The Italian Serie A has had many cases of abuse directed at black football players over the past seasons. Italian football fans are notorious for directing monkey noises at black players during games. However, it’s astonishing that no real action is ever taken to get them to stop.

More recently the Italian topflight has also come under a lot of criticism for the recent anti-racism artwork it released on Monday. The artworks were three paintings done by artist Simone Fugazzotto. Each of the three was a different colour monkey that according to Fugazzotto was intended to show that there’s no difference between humans and apes.

“I’ve always been painting monkeys for five to six years, so I thought I’d make this work to teach that we’re all apes.

“So I made the western monkey — white with blue eyes — the Asian monkey — with almond eyes — and the black monkey in the middle, which is where everything comes from, this is what the evolutionary theory tells us,” Fugazzotto told reporters.

“The monkey becomes the spark to teach everyone that there is no difference. It’s not that one is man and one is monkey. At this point, we are all monkeys … if they really feel the need to tell a black (player) that he is one.”

Although Fugazzotto’s intentions are innocent it isn’t fair to say that they’ve helped the cause in any way.

 In response to the artwork anti-discrimination organization Fare stated that, “these creations are an outrage, they will be counter-productive and continue the dehumanisation of people of African heritage.” “It is difficult to see what Serie A was thinking, who did they consult? It is time for the progressive clubs in the league to make their voice heard.”

AS Roma and AC Milan are the only teams to have recently spoken out. AC Milan tweeting that, “Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism and were surprised by the total lack of consultation.”

The Serie A will need to work on improving the issue of racial discrimination in a more purposeful manner. Their use of controversial art is no different from the actions of Corriere dello Sport. It’s nearly impossible to believe that those responsible didn’t expect a response similar to this one.