We Must Stop Raising Our Kids to Hate
As I have mentioned in previous articles, I am from Liverpool. The birthplace of The Beatles famous for its love of music and football. Half of my family are from this wonderful city and are (mostly) Liverpool FC supporters. I was raised the same – to love the football club – and at the same time, to hate various other clubs. This was ingrained in me from a very young age and I used to get almost as much joy from rival clubs losing football matches as I did from my own winning.
This will, undoubtedly, sound very bizarre to those non-football fans among you. Football is a very passionate sport in England and its supporters are extremely loyal. I believe that rivalries between clubs are encouraged, in order to increase revenue. In Liverpool, the rivalry between the city’s two clubs is generally good-natured as football divides families, workplaces, and school classrooms pretty evenly.
In other cities, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the hate spewed toward a rival club crosses the line from banter to bullying or worse – racism. Tottenham Hotspur are a club in North London and are often subjected to anti-Semitic chants because of their Jewish support. They are called ‘Yids’ by supporters of other clubs, a term which is used with hostility.
This, for me, is an example of when the hatred goes much too far. There are many other examples of such hatred at other clubs. Although football related violence has lessened over the years, things like racial abuse – both toward players and other supporters – appears to be increasing again.
This new rise in racial discrimination could be because of political issues such as the bad examples of Donald Trump in the USA or Brexit here in the UK. In this age of supposed ‘woke’ people and enlightenment; the signs are bad.
It’s not just racial issues in the sport either, sexism is rife throughout – with very few women involved in the men’s game at all. And the women’s game itself receives far less… everything. Media coverage, money, and respect among the things lacking from the female game.
Hatred breeds more hatred.
The point being that children are encouraged to hate other people based on their football team. The world has enough hatred in it already, without adding to it with a sport which is meant to bring people together.
By all means, be happy that your team has won, and take pride in it – whatever the reason for your support of that team: be it birthplace, family or even a friend who has tied this club’s colours to your mast – but let’s please stop hating others.
I work in a secondary school and so, I see the hatred firsthand. I have been proudly sporting my Liverpool FC tie as part of my workplace attire and, at first, the students were less than respectful. During my time teaching however, I have been able to encourage a lot of the kids to participate in respectful banter instead of just insulting my club in the way they have been brought up to.
My hope and wish is that by having these conversations, those students will grow up to be less hate-filled and more accepting of all people different from themselves. I feel that the world at the moment is all too willing to hate and we all need to be doing what we can to put an end to it. Kids are quick to find a difference in others and they are learning that from their elders. Let’s stop.