There’s been a bit of a fuss kicked up over the club Tottenham Hotspur - supporters of whom are known informally as the “Yid Army” since the 1890s/1900s stemming from London’s East End having a large Jewish community, and it has the biggest Jewish following of any club in the UK.
Here’s a clip of fans chanting “Yid army”, which you’ll probably find more incomprehensible than offensive. They also chant “Yiddo, Yiddo!”, I’m informed.
Whadya reckon? Should it be stopped in matches or does it not matter? Are you Jewish - would you be uncomfortable about hearing Spurs fans or fans on the other side chanting something related to the word “yid”?
That’s pretty tame. Opponents of the Dutchy team Ajax have fun making leaking gas sounds and chanting “kill the Jews” and other fun stuff because a story goes that half the Ajax team was gassed by the Nazis for being Jews. All good fun.
For an American, this just seems so…bizarre. I couldn’t imagine the reaction in the U.S. to this kind of action.
It’s been going on for so long…remember when Jurgen Klinsmann played there? They’d chant
So I’m not sure why it’s an issue today, but it’s been very wrong for a very long time.
Well, can’t the Hotspurs fans just chant “Goyim! Goyim!” Or call the opposing team Shiksas?
I have slightly reluctantly voted for the third option on the poll, and I will explain why.
I have a friend who is an avid Spurs fan. He is not Jewish and has no Jewish heritage (as far as know), but does delight in the chants to which the OP refers. Now, I see the issue as very similar to black communities adopting the word “nigger”, or the gay community using terms previously intended to be insulting as terms of endearment (e.g. queer). As a white heterosexual, I can’t think of a situation where I could acceptably call someone “nigger” (even if I were very good friends with them), nor would I refer to a gay friend as a “queer”. But those words may be acceptable, if used in the right way, among those ‘communities’.
The problem then, IMHO, is not that Spurs fans are using the term in a racist way, it is that when opposing fans use it, it is much more likely to be so, and unless you ban such terms altogether, it’s very difficult to police. To be honest, it’s very difficult to police anyway - if 1,000 Spurs fans in the middle of a stand start using the chant, they can’t arrest them all and/or kick them out of the club. The only way it could possibly work is if the club and the players explained to the fans that they would walk off the pitch in such an instance. That would soon stamp it out. But it would be doubtful whether such an initiative would be supported by the club, the fans, or the FA. However, I think if there were monkey chants from the stands directed at a black player (a totally different level of seriousness, I think), such an action would probably be applauded on all sides. I understand this was all too common only 30 years ago (even to the extent of bananas being thrown on the pitch), I’m glad to say I don’t think it happens now in Western Europe, I believe it may still be a problem among a minority of Eastern European fans.
In summary, I don’t think it’s a huge problem the way Spurs fans use it (though I’m sure there are a number of them who wish it would cease), but it can be a problem if used by opposing fans, so the only way to deal with it is to ban it altogether. On the other hand, football has many problems and I don’t think this is the worst one by a long way.
This. And I’m surprised they haven’t thought of it. And assuming all the players are male, calling them “shiksas” would be doubly effective.
“Allowed” is too strong, but it’s definitely not a good idea. What were they thinking in naming themselves that? Giving racist carte blanche to use the term without you being able to tell which they meant?
Football fans have a sense of humour that seems to be lacking in the rest of the world these days.
I have a hard time worrying about the words themselves (any words). Far more important is the threat behind them. (if any). so police that, forget the words.
Depending on context, some of the historically most loaded words can be used in a non-threatening and non-racist manner whereas menace and vitriol can be contained in a simple “mate” or “pal”. Drawing up a simple list of can say/can’t say helps no-one but the defence lawyers and their bank-accounts.
Spurs fans using the work “yid” at a football match doesn’t seem like a big deal at all.
However, with language being policed so strictly in the UK now I’d imagine that it won’t be too long before *any *insulting word leaves you liable to legal action.
As long as (a) it’s spurs fans chanting positively and (b) it’s genuinely based on a minority of Jewish support, rather than an exotic stereotype of Jews (compare the difference between a native american football team, obviously ok, and a native american themed football team, normally racist), I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem.
It’s a fine balance, depending how much genuine fellow-feeling there is: if the jewish connection is just a historical artifact, I think it’s wrong, because it’s telling the world “this is what being jewish is” when you don’t really have any connection to actual jewish people.
With opposing fans, using “yid” as an insult, or (god forbid) active racial slurs, I think it should be a zero tolerance policy, as should outright racism against any other race. Football can do better than that.