The Brothers
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The Brothers

The World Cup 2018: “I’m Rooting for Everyone Black.”

A Diasporic Black Man’s Guide to the World Cup

It only comes once every four years.

It’s the most viewed event in the world — 3.2 BILLION we’re talking — that’s HALF of the World.

For some Americans, they’re torn. With the US men’s team not qualifying they have no idea who to pull for.

I’ve never had that dilemma. Growing up Black in a Eurocentric world, the decision was always simple — as a child you identify with people who look like you — as an adult, recognizing the affects of slavery and colonialism — there’s only one option:

The root for The Diaspora wherever they may be one.

I even have a scale on how I choose the team I’m for in every match, so look at this as a guide on watching the World Cup while Black.

They captured the world’s imagination.

The Senegalese Team of the 2002 World Cup were electric.

A bunch of brothas with Wolof and Serer names — Diop, Diouf, etc — shut out Henry, Zidane, and gang 1–0, after El-Haji Diouf shimmied past Leboeuf, crossed it to Papa Malik Diop who poked the ball into the back of the net leaving Barthez stunned.

Then they hit us with this celebration:

France crashed out of the competition without scoring a goal. I’d like to believe that Senegal broke the spirit and will of the star-studded defending champion team France and they grew in strength…which ain’t too far off since Senegal were only a penalty shootout away from a Semi-Final birth.

I wore (and still wear) that Senegal kit with pride. If I’m on 116th Street in Harlem I get hit with a barrage of ‘ca va?’

I generate the same sort of attention if I’m rocking my Colombia kit in Corona (Queens) — it’s as if Willie Colon and nem are performing “Pa’ Colombia” with my every step.

Which brings us to the crux of this writing — when I watch the World Cup, I don’t see nations, I see Blackness and more importantly how that Blackness is spread out, used or unused all over the planet.

Whether we’re talking about Brazil, which has the largest population of Black people outside of the continent, or any of the African countries, they all have been affected by White Supremacy.

That said, let me give a crash course on how I pick the team I’m pulling for; there’s a criteria for every match.

I would have preferred for Panama to have drawn in Group B instead of Group D.

Part of what made that Senegalese defeat of France so epic was the fact that it was the colonized getting a swipe back at the colonizers.

Meet a brother or sister from Senegal and they are more likely to speak French over Wolof. Hell, the official language of the country is French.

Watching Senegal get at em…priceless.

So in the spirit of the Cimarron, it would be awesome for Panama to get a chance at repeating history by beating the brakes off of Spain. Instead, they’re playing Belgium, Tunisia, and their former allies, England.

Therefor, that’s always first:

Colonized over Colonizer.

I don’t care if England fields a team of eleven brothas, if they’re playing any non-European team, I’m pulling for that team. Spain v Mexico (Mexico), Portugal v Brazil (Brazil), that’s the base rule. That’s whether there’s a direct descendant of Africa on the team or not.

But if there is a direct descendant…

Black Over Everything

The only rule that supersedes Black Over Everything is the above. The above is in place for when you have France v Nigeria, Panama, or any other team that fields an equal amount of Black folk…but otherwise…it’s all about France. Half of their full squad is of direct African descent, eight of whom are likely from West Africa.

But as you hop from Europe and go down to countries like Colombia, places where they have some of the largest populations of Black folk (Colombia is only behind Brazil, Haiti, and the US), then it’s almost a no brainer — I’m pulling for Colombia. Panama (seen: above) same.

Like, when Ecuador was in the Cup (Round of 16 in 06), I was pulling for them, they meet the Black Over Everything criteria, same with Honduras (Garifuna stand up…even though they ain’t win a match). And both of those teams meet the other rule:

Gotta Go For the Underdog

This rule comes in handy in the event that, say, Nigeria plays Panama. I gotta go with Panama. This is their first World Cup and I can only imagine what that one simple win would mean to the people of Panama (when Senegal beat France…they took a holiday, yo).

(This also comes in handy in when it’s like Peru v Japan. I’m guessing that Peru is the Underdog in that one…because otherwise I have no dog in the race)

But when it comes to countries like Ecuador or Honduras (or even France), they don’t have to field all them Black folk. We still the minority. Which brings me to my last point:

To Hell With Racists

Whenever I see a country field a team that is only one race and they are not a homogeneous country like say, Japan or Mexico, and I know they have had immigrants for eons, that citizens from the countries that they’ve oppressed or colonized have moved there, my first thought is, “racists.”

As I wrote about here, although it goes unsaid, one of the main reasons that the USA ain’t qualify for this year’s World Cup is because of “The American Narrative.”

The Narrative is the one of the young, white Wunderkind, Savior of American ‘Soccer’ — Clint Dempsey, Brandon Donovan, and this year’s Christian Pulisic. That team is always composed of an elder statesman, a token Black, and the rest of the supporting cast.

Had they just selected a team on MERIT, then the team that drew to France 1–1 in the final friendly before the World Cup began would have easily qualified.

Looking at squads like Spain you would be led to believe that no one but Spanish folk live there, Germany — same. Italy might cap (include) Mario Balotelli (Barwuah) but not only is he still subjected to racist attacks like the one recently where a sign was held up that said, “My captain has Italian Blood,” but ya man is beefing with the Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini…over citizenship and immigration (Balotelli was born and raised in Italy).

Spain got a pass because of beautiful football…once, Germany got one because I was waxing nostalgic of my days in K-Town, Italy don’t ever get a pass (and neither does the US as I’ve stated before).

It’s simple — my family is spread all over the planet.

If I choose to pull for Brazil, well, part of my family was taken there. If I’m on the French wave, we up there. Panama, Colombia, wherever, thems my people. So no, I am not routing for one country in the false boundaries, Scramble for Africa, kinda way. Nor am I supporting my “home” country. Nope. I’m supporting my people — wherever they are, whichever language they speak, and whatever team they play for.

I see you Issa Rae and raise you one World Cup.




The Brothers will discuss any and everything, whether it’s comics, movies, or even one’s favorite falafel spot. We will show you what you already know — Black men have perspective; greater still, a VOICE.

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