There has been quite a hubbub going on in the American sports world over NBA owner Donald Sterling's racist rant, which made it impossible to ignore his viciously racist past. Players protested through the mighty act of wearing different socks or inside-out t-shirts. It is generally agreed at popular and corporate level that the NBA should punish Sterling for being a racist. The question is only whether he'll be fined or made to leave the league.

Meanwhile much of Europe writhes under a deep-seated and undying racism that runs deep and bitter. From Spain to Germany to Albania, the struggle to hide and suppress this very normal side of football hooliganism continues.

Last week Brazilian Dani Alves exploded on world-wide social media through his graceful handling of having a banana thrown at him as he prepared to take a corner. He peeled and ate the banana, and took the corner, with seamless grace. The banana, in case you missed the obvious, was meant to inform Mr. Alves that he is a monkey.

The fan was found out and given a lifetime ban, but generally FIFA and UEFA (world and European football organizations) have been very milquetoast in their reactions to racism. After all, entire clubs and fan groups (which are often extremely well-organized and centralized) are virulently racist in their behavior; there is no lack of targets. But FIFA and UEFA do not want to anger their fans, so they dance between the bad press of having many of their best players be subjected to attacks, and the bad press of only wrist-slapping racist behavior.

NBA players, as I said, wore black socks to protest Sterling. World football's response to the Alves incident has been much more elegant and amusing. Everyone is eating bananas. For all that football's reaction seems to me more substantive, they will be ignored, while the NBA will surely react swiftly and strongly.

These pictures were posted to what is, as I write this, one of the hottest hashtags on Twitter: #weareallmonkeys. There's also #SomosTodosMacacos, #TodosSomosMacacos, #NousSommesTousDesSinges, and etc.

And now we get to the reason I'm writing this.

Far be it from me to be a hater, my friends, far be it from me.


We are all monkeys? I understand the rhetorical judo appeal of the phrase, but really?

Here is Brazil Rugby's bit of support for the social media campaign (in case you're wondering what their mascot is, they are Tupi Warriors). The first hashtag is obviously Portuguese for "we are all monkeys". The bottom hashtag might appear to say "we are all equal", but would be better translated as "we are all the same". 

Both, within the rhetorical world of a fight against racism, are true. We are equal in dignity. The same in worth.

But there's a leveling aspect to this that makes me uneasy. We are not all monkeys. We are all men. And we are not all the same, although we be equal.

I know I'm nitpicking, and perhaps over-examining. But I couldn't let this social media campaign pass without making this comment: without acknowledging the image of God in every man, there is only one direction for us to go. Down. Without God we end up as the beasts we proudly claim to be.

Here endeth the nitpicking.


  1. This may interest you, though the man has outrageous tone.


    1. Yeah...I've made a point to stop reading Matt Walsh. I live in fear that I'll start writing like him.


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