Arsenal high five PSG and Bellerin praises Unai

Good day to you all. I got up late this morning and missed the first 80 minutes of the match. Kickoff was 0445am here which is normally not too early but I slept in. If I was being fair to myself I’d say that I’m not quite in full season fitness.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are apparently reaching their first fitness peak as they utterly destroyed Emery’s former team. I have to admit that when I woke up I was expecting the worst but when I saw the score was already 4-1 I had to let out a little “what the hell??” under my breath.

Ozil and Auba kicked off the glut with a superb goal. I guess from the commentary that Arsenal weren’t really playing well. PSG were pressing high and winning the ball back in dangerous areas, Arsenal (contrary to the style Emery has said we will play) didn’t press hardly at all because, as Unai pointed out, there were a lot of players in the starting lineup who haven’t learned the press yet.

I don’t need to tell you that pressing is a team endeavor. Which is what made Alexis’ one-man show so literally performative. He would run up and basically pretend to press (to show what a hard worker he is) and remonstrate with his teammates to join him. But if you don’t press as a unit because you don’t know how all that does is create a ridiculously open defense. Emery specified that Özil hasn’t had the time to get the practice needed to press effectively, but I’m sure he will get it. It’s one of the main things I’m looking forward to this season: how many tackles* will Özil win?

Tackles aside, Ozil’s first job is to score and provide goals and he did that excellently. The pass from Mkhitaryan was perfect and sent Auba into space. Auba then just needed to cross the ball in the right area and he did, where Ozil pounced.

Arsenal livened right up after that goal. Guendouzi, who is my favorite new player, put the ball on a dime for Auba from what looked like 600 yards away. His ability to predict where to put the ball for players like Aubameyang  when they are making a small diagonal run is pretty special. He’s already a better long ball passer than Xhaka, in my humble estimation. From now on these passes will be called “Douzis”. As in “whew, that pass was a Douzi”.

One of the other things I’m looking for this season is how many stupid errors Arsenal players make. I don’t want to be “that guy” and overreact but here goes anyway: Arsenal may have a left-back crisis. Kolasinac made a stupid tackle to award PSG a penalty. I know that he made the Bundesliga team of the year once but that was because of his ability to cross the ball. What’s needed from a left back is more than just crossing, it’s also a bit of speed, the ability to pass, and (crucially) defensive intelligence.

A simple through ball put Kolasinac in trouble. Weah isn’t even a speed merchant and didn’t even really leave Kolasinac in his dust. Kolasinac just needed to stay with him and trust that his teammates were going to cover the middle (which they were, there were three back in the middle). But instead, he got a rush of blood to the head and attempted the world’s dumbest slide tackle.

I don’t know why we call it a “rush of blood to the head” when it’s more like “made an oxygen starved decision”. I think it’s the lack of oxygen rich blood to blame for that decision. Either that or he’s just an idiot.

The question on twitter this year has been “who will play wide for Arsenal this year” and I think my answer is going to start being “everyone”. It was young sensation Emile Smith Rowe who popped up in the space, received a nice little pass, and crossed for Arsenal’s 2nd. Lacazette was the beneficiary this time and scored with a delicious little “I can’t believe it’s not butter starring Fabio” side foot.

Another Douzi of a pass, this time to Ramsey, started the third goal. This time courtesy a little head tennis. I think Lacazette is credited but you know what? I loved seeing Neketia put his face in there at the last minute. I love his predatory nature and I have real high hopes for him.

The fourth goal was just ridiculous. I don’t have the stats on how many headers have scored from 17 yards but my guess is not many. They are so rare that the last one I remember was Suarez, who actually scored from a header outside the box. But Holding showed how to do it: you have to sort of loop it into the top corner, that’s all. Easy peasy. It’s so difficult to actually do that that I would say that’s my favorite goal of the season.

The fifth was a textbook goal for Neketia. He sees the defender is occupied, he points where he wants the ball, he receives, and fires across the keeper. Those are the goals coaches dream of because it shows great all around technique by a player who is paying attention to his training. As I said, high hopes for this kid.

Unai was gracious in victory didn’t have a go at Tuchel, who was the guy who replaced him at PSG and who many Gooners demanded Arsenal sign to replace Big Weng. I have to say, by staying on a few weeks more, Wenger ensured that Arsenal got Unai instead of Tuchel. Big Weng you have done it again!

Unai named five captains: Ozil,

After the match Bellerin gave an interview in which he said that the players are working harder than they used to and that a great many things have changed.

“So many things have changed at the training ground. Starting from the coaching, from the schedule, to everything. Every coach has their own way of doing things and for us it’s changed a lot. We are working harder than we used to work, we’re doing a lot of work in the gym. That obviously we always used to do but I think it’s turned up a notch. (Emery) is a coach who wants us to press, to run around a lot during the games so obviously we want to be ready for that in the League.”

I guess this is a swipe at Wenger but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been reading my writings for the last three years. This was such an open secret that I felt comfortable reporting it time and again. It also became a lot less of a secret toward the end when the players held their mutiny and finally told the Guardian that they were frustrated at Wenger’s lack of training.

I wrote a comment on a post somewhere that Wenger was actually accused of not doing anything. That the players were openly wondering “what does Wenger do all day?” At the time, may people accused me of hating Wenger, which isn’t true at all.

The one thing that always got tossed back at me was “how did the invincibles happen?” Which I’ve replied time and again, based off all of the books I’ve read and what the players themselves have said, that they took the responsibility on themselves. Guys like Vieira, Henry, and Bergkamp stayed after sessions and worked on things. Adams and Campbell took leadership roles both on the pitch and at Colney.

One last thing. Players get burned out on intense training and demands. If they are winning trophies it’s one thing but if they aren’t, they can start to buck the system pretty quick. Then you either have to replace the manager or the players or both.

That’s what happens with Mourinho. That’s what’s going to happen at Tottenham soon. And don’t be surprised if Klopp is one of the next victims. If Klopp doesn’t win anything this year, I have to think that the players will start to wonder what all the hard work is for?

Anyway, that’s all for today. Maybe I’ll write something tomorrow but I’m working on my sesion preview series for the Arsenal Review (our new partners).


*I’ve written about this issue with Ozil in the past. And despite the recent defenses of him against what was perceived by many (himself included) to be a thinly veiled racist attack by Bayern President Uli Hoeness (who singled out Ozil’s lack of defensive work – specifically tackles), I do think Ozil needs to chip in more with team defense (that’s more than just tackles, it is interceptions, blocked passes, and even just tracking all the way back). Last season he literally did half the defensive work of his counterparts on Liverpool, Man City, and Tottenham and if Arsenal are going to crack into the top four it’s going to be because the team is working harder for each other. That includes Ozil.


  1. People keep linking nzonzi… that’s so annoying ..I mean, aren’t they tired of smoking same crack all the time..jeez!! Btw, I’d love to see how different this team would look when the mad dog returns.. I can’t really say who plays like KDB, guendouzi or ESR..

  2. Don’t base judgement on what seems to back your guess.Ramsey mustafi shared their thoughts on differences btw wenger n unai but you ddnt reference theirs only bellerin.that’s not fair balancing.and do let go of this wenger does nothing cos it’s sooo unreal. I remember an FA match arsenal was down one nil to a lower league side. Arsene gave Ramsey some instruction at half time and Ramsey equalises at start of 2nd half. There was a thumbs uf from Ramsey to arsene showing acknowledgement of arsenes. So was that luck or jus ramseys doin. Lehman talked about the work of frozone and wengers work and all that as well. So do let go and let’s move on.could have different score if st germaine had their first team

  3. My explanation for Wenger is simple: he brought the revolution but slowly became the institution. That kind of thing happens to someone so slowly they themselves don’t notice it. I think it’s petty to discredit him for all the trophies he won (not Just in 2004) because the players also happened to be extremely devoted to their craft and stayed late to work on things. Yes, Wenger didn’t care much for coaching defense and never did: so what? It worked out for him pretty well. Did he stay too long? Indubitably. Was he undercut by funding and injuries? Absolutely. We’re his methods anachronistic and unrealistic by the end? Most certainly. He was also never going to fire himself, so I don’t blame him for that. It was on the club’s leadership to see that his sun had set and plan for his succession. It took way too long to do that and Wenger shielded then from much of the criticism, but also selfishly fed his own addiction to his job. Still, I feel nothing but love mixed with a little pity for the man, but at least he went out a serial FACup winner and mostly on his own terms.

  4. 07/08 team was highly technical. Do you attribute that to luck or the lads. Guys like adebayor song seemingly soo good. That’s not arsenes doing as was henry n sol. Coaches have their strengths n weaknesses.I thiink it’s wrong to compare. Your style of writing is different to stillbertos. If I like yours does it make his bad. I don’t think so

  5. Bellerin says it has gone uf a notch meaning it’s increased not that it wasn’t done before.unai is all about that now but I bet would change in ten years time. Every coach has their own style. Ancelloti is a calm soft coach like arsene so is’s said that zidane isn’t sooo tactiful but yet he beat soooo many tactiful coaches.some will base that on the lads but rafa who is sooo into tactics couldn’t work with them. Its all relative

  6. So Arsenal have just beaten PSG 5-1. But it has to be viewed in perspective.
    The latter were missing many top guys.
    Nor withstanding that,I am pleased with the way the defence coped with the PSG attack..
    Hopefully the defence wont lose by huge margin like 8-2.6-3,5-2,etc.
    I believe the new boss will stiffen the defence so unlike the fm.
    Under the latters charge the gunners were the whipping boys of the big teams on a regular basis.Hopefully this will change though the odd big loss cannot be
    100% wished away.

  7. I will also quibble with your footnote if you are referencing Uli Hoeness’ comments on Ozil’s retirement, especially since I didn’t take part in the discussion on this the other day. There was a lot wrong with what he said, as brilliantly dissected by Ozil’s agent, but what about singling out Ozil’s defensive work for criticism is racist? I’m lost on this point since this is a player who hasn’t been playing consistent, effective team defense at any point in his career. Hoeness’ commentary on this probably went overboard, but not all negative bias by a white man towards a non-white man is racism. Hoeness has many reasons to dislike Ozil that have nothing to do with race.

    The important point that I understood from Ozil’s initial statement is that he felt he bore the brunt of the criticism for the failure of die Mannschaft at the World Cup unfairly, and felt that this was partly due to racially biased attitudes in Germany, which is probably at least partially true. Hoeness didn’t address this point at all, to my knowledge, and so maybe you can say he is guilty by omission. He’s not a lovely man by any means but I don’t think he deserves the “racist” tag for a crime of omission.

    As for Ozil, I think it would be fair to acknowledge that he has issues impacting games at the very highest level and Hoeness is probably telling the truth about how they targeted him in UCL games; they were probably not the only ones, either. At the same time, it’s also fair to acknowledge that he played a key part in the 2014 World Cup triumph in which he played in every game, and that it wasn’t his fault Germany were so incredibly open through the middle in this World Cup. He’s an incredible talent with a lack of appetite for the gritty stuff and Germans, like Arsenal fans, mostly celebrate his “magic” when he serves up his awesome passes in a win but lament his softness when he fails to impact the game in a loss. There is additional racial tension there that I’m very unqualified to comment on but the basic Ozil conundrum tension on a football level feels very familiar.

    1. Doc, Tim uses pretty careful language when he talks about racism. There’s some bad faith in your interpretation of his comments – he didn’t “tag” Hoeness as an outright racist, he said his critique of Ozil was “perceived by many… to be a thinly veiled racist attack”.

      There’s no reason to jump to a “not all white men are racist” defense for Hoeness, because that “all white men are racist” is not an argument anyone is making. But seeing as a week ago you plead in favour of fairer treatment for Papa John despite the fact he used the n-word in a professional setting, I guess there’s a pattern here.

      You decided to inject Uli Hoeness’ ‘race’ into the conversation, even though you sometimes complain that ‘white men’ are the ones who suffer from unfair attacks. This is ironic because the reason critiques of whiteness have became increasingly common in society is that people are learning that it’s an exclusionary social construct. When I say whiteness I don’t mean individual white people, I mean the idea or the ‘institution’ that decides who is white and who isn’t. More and more white people get this. White academics like Dr. Robin diAngelo have been very influential in explaining whiteness and white privilege to the wider public in simple terms (thank god because people tend not to listen when it’s a person of colour saying it).

      It’s possible to say the organising principe of whiteness is the exclusion of anyone who isn’t perceived as white. In that sense whiteness as a construct can be extremely irresponsible in dealing with certain identities that don’t serve it’s interests (this is why Conservatism and nationalism is such a dangerous mix, because it demands that culture and identity are subsumed into the whole without adequately protecting those people).

      What Mesut Ozil explained so beautifully is that people with dual heritage where one of those heritages marks them out as visibly “not white” tend to suffer the brunt of pushback against their identity when facing criticism. Mesut accepted the fair criticism he’s received about his performances in the first of his three messages. He’s a professional and knows it’s part of the game. He was highlighting what else comes with it, and how the DFB encouraged it instead of protecting him from it. The DFB President Grindel acknowledged that in the 2nd statement he gave after his pathetic first one.

      So because Hoeness chimed in with another load of critiques about Ozil’s performance, when the conversation had shifted onto racism and xenophobia, he probably deserves to come under suspicion of having racist tendencies. Him and Lothar Matthaeus with their statements about performance that ignored the racism Ozil talked about were basically saying “we don’t give a f**k about that”.

      And ironically, that’s what “whiteness” has said to other identities ever since it’s invention as a social construct.

      1. Except he didn’t say “we don’t give a F***” did he? I have to say for someone who claims to care so much about human rights and likes to wave the pious charity flag everywhere you go, you sure do have some insidious attitudes towards people you don’t like. Since you seem to be full of all the answers and the unquestionable authority on social/ethical issues around here by your talk, here’s a suggestion for you: instead of looking for nefarious tendencies, look for common ground, especially with people you disagree with. Instead of shouting down people who have different takes, try to see how their take could be valuable in solving a complex social issue.

        I’m not going to forgive or forget how you made this personal on more than one occasion now. It’s because of people like you who feel the need to be the ethical barometer nobody asked for that that we can’t talk about race or racial issues as a society.

        1. This response is embarrassing mate.

          You based your argument on a misreading of what Tim wrote and that was worth correcting. As for the rest, I stand by every word I wrote.

          1. You read “thinly veiled racist attack” in the same English language that I did, “mate,” but it seems to have escaped your attention that I used the word “quibble” when referencing it or that I actually acknowledged Ozil’s larger point, and my ignorance of racial tensions in Germany, rather than the conclusion you jumped to, which was that I am “defending” Uli Hoeness. He means nothing to me, just like Papa John. My interest in both cases was to ask a larger question about how we view racism as a society, and in both cases I wanted to know from the commentariat why or how their actions were equatable with racism, because in both cases there is more than one shade of nuance. So if you’re looking for a pattern, there it is. I am interested in that nuance on an intellectual/sociocultural level and you may say that I am in fact increasing my awareness of racial issues when asking these difficult questions. None of that stopped you from responding to me like I’m defending rich white guys because they’re rich white guys like the rich white guy I am. Look yourself in the mirror and ask what you were really up to when you responded to my post.

          2. Appreciate this response better than the first.

            I actually agree that with certain subjects (esp those that aren’t taught in school and where there’s no universal consensus) sometimes it’s better for people to arrive at the right answers their own way, instead of being “told” what the right answers are.

            Everything should be up for healthy debate, but the idea that’s it’s all just “opinions” isn’t quite true either. That being said, there’s a significant amount of historical truth and fact behind the study of racism and I base my arguments on that. Some groups have more knowledge because they need it to survive. You see that and accuse me of being the “ethical barometer”, “pious flag-waver”, “unquestionable authority” like they are *bad things*.

            When Bunburyist talks about philosophers I see that as an opportunity to learn. I don’t complain that he hits me over the head with his knowledge of philosophy.

  8. I am very glad that Lichtsteiner and Osei-Tutu are around to apply a little pressure, because I can’t remember a time that Bellerin has impressed me. He gives the ball away, makes terrible crosses, is caught out of position; were we wrong about him, or has something changed?

      1. I agree 100%!

        Before all the hairstyles……great.

        After all the hairstyles…….not so good.

        It’s clear what the problem is. Get the man a haircut!

  9. Each coach has his philosophy. Who says that Wenger’s couldn’t have been to get the players to individually and collectively take responsibility. Another coach might choose to impose his will on the team while Wenger’s is to help the players grow their own wills. In other words Wenger might have consciously preferred a team of men instead of a team of robots.

  10. Yeah, Kolasinac was just too easy to beat. It’s worrisome. I love the way he participates in the attack, but it seems he lacks the pace and quickness to deal with typical wingers on top teams.

    Another disappointment is Mkhitaryan, who looked poor in the ICC games. He may end up as the experienced guy among the kids on Thursday nights. I don’t see him contributing meaningfully in the league on the basis of the last couple warmup games.

    It’s too early to make comparisons between Wenger and Emery. What we were doing wasn’t working and we needed a new approach, but evaluating that new approach will require seeing a run of actual games.

    I’d like to keep Aaron, but he sure doesn’t act like a guy who wants to stay. Rumor is Chelsea wants to pay 30M, which seems cheap for a British player. AFC can’t do another Alexis; that was stupid. Sign him or sell him in the next two weeks, and maybe line up a new target if the sale comes quickly enough.

    I have high hopes for Torreia. The defense needs solidifying.

  11. More Elneny Hate Please. Like how he should instantly be sold and replaced in the starting lineup by guendouzi.
    Oh and what about how pointless, needless and uneccessary he is. And boring too. And how not guendouzi he is. And how guendouzi’s pre season performance in two matches has outstripped his performance levels for multiple seasons. And…….just more elneny hate 🙂 well not hate per say, but actual analysis of elneny’s performance that leads to the clear conclusion hes shit. Only because he is.

    Im not exaggerating or being internet ott, when i say i’d rather watch a shit guendouzi season than an astoundingly good elneny one. Based on two preseason performances. I have no stats to back this up but elneny isn’t some misunderstood or underrated backwards/sideways passer who controls the game a la carrick, or more relevantly to us Gilberto Silva. Hes not some special case where the manager sees him every day in training and has a better idea of his abilities. Hes just plainly and obviously shit. All the time. He uses the concept of teamwork to hide in open space. Expertly. While players like Ozil and Iwobi are generating hate disproportionatly, Elneny actually gets starts for arsenal and nobody cares. No opposition player at any level of opposition could possibly fear any of what he has displayed to date. He is the exact opposite of Emery’s “protagonist’s on the pitch”. People say football is a cuthroat business…. Then we see elneny on the teamsheet. How? Why us? Since When? If tiki taka means moving the ball without any true goal or purpose, what does elneny mean? If ozil should tackle more what exactly should elneny be doing? Which of our current options young or old is he worth taking minutes from? None of these questions are rhetorical. Please, if the internet information revolution isn’t a lie, someone, find some justification for elneny so i can stop hating myself for that moment where i see him in an arsenal shirt and some part of my wont allow complete cynicism. Its the white sleeves. I can’t help but hope. However with elneny its just………i dunno anymore. This comment on a random blog, one of many billions of internet pages, has already in and of itself given more justification to elnenys existence in an arsenal shirt than anything in reality possibly could. Hes amauray bischoff chu yung. With Premier and Champions league starts. Sigh.

    If anything at least thats off my chest. Lol.

    1. This rant made my day! ha ha ha ha ha ha! I’m physically laughing, just can’t stop.
      yes Ian, what is the point of Elneny.
      Come on Ian, calm down!
      I’m still laughing, loved it!

      1. It’s honestly one of the funniest comments I’ve ever read on here. One for the pantheon

  12. I bet Wenger has read Sun Tzu at some point and one of the quotes that resonates with him is something about how the best generals are those that get no credit for their leadership. Like no one notices they are even there. (something of the sort, too lazy to look it up right now)

    Nothing beats self motivation aided by intelligence. Wenger saw himself as a guide, a teacher first and foremost. And the best way to teach is to provide a general structure and let the students learn for themselves, with a little nudging/guidance. Of course, this does tend to be difficult for many. (Miki said shortly after joining, that he feels Wenger is more demanding than anybody because he wants you to figure things out himself)Just as players and teams get burned out by intense effort without sufficient reward, it can also sometimes be a needed boost, even a relief, to have someone tell you what to do. It’s why people hire personal trainers even if they know the exercises they are supposed to do. It’s easier.

    It’s good that Emery gives detailed instructions and that the players are responding to it. It doesn’t mean Wenger’s way was wrong, or he was doing nothing. Even if at this point in time it was good for Arsenal to move on to a different method.

    By the way, missed the game. Will try to watch it today. Hope the good form continues and carries over into the season. We need to be ready for the tough start, and hopefully Emery can send a sarcastic tweet back the PL’s way.

  13. Doc, to your question on Uli Hoeness (and recalling the discussion you initiated about degrees of racism), allow me, indulge me, as I blacksplain it to you.

    If to Ozil’s heartfelt and painfully/ painstakingly documented examples of the racist abuse he suffered, your considered response is “you were sh1t anyway”, you are demonstrating an indifference to another person’s pain caused by racism. Let’s leave out the fact that club he represents has many non-white athletes on its books. Let’s leave out the fact that Bayern players are far more culpable for Germany’s performance that Ozil. Let’s leave aside your reference as “criticism of Ozil’s defensive work”, which is way too… kind (Im being kind). It wasn’t, you know. It was a calculated insult, not an appraisal. And it was inaccurate, by the numbers. But I digress. Let’s focus narrowly on what Ozil said, and how Hoeness responded.

    Not everyone is going to agree with me, but the denigration of another person’s pain that was caused by racism, in the manner in which Hoeness did so, IS a form of racism.

    What’s more, Ozil had been a terrific servant of Germany, with an outstanding record of goals and assists. Let’s take it off the field. He was no longer good enough to be the face of the German team to its sponsors, because he posed for a photo with the president of Turkey. How’s that for making you feel foreign, despite your contribution to recent German success. He was ordered to reassert his Germanness by the president of the German FA. And he had to withstand a torrent of racist abuse from a section of the fans.

    Even leaving aside the racist slights that he felt, his footballing contribution alone meant that he did not deserve that. Hoeness would not have talked like that about an aging Klose. Do you still want to call his comments criticism of Ozil’s defensive work? I think that your comment smacks of privilege, and I don’t say that in any rancorous way. You strike me as a decent guy.

    Many white folks don’t have a gut understanding of black/brown racism, because (unless they’re the hapless, luckless Englishman in Dreadlock Holiday), they are generally not exposed to the sting of it (I said generally. Obviously, in majority non-white countries many are. I’ve seen it myself).

    So we have Trump seeing, in black athletes taking the knee for a cause that affects their community, an opportunity for a culture war, rather than an opportunity to show some empathy. Like Hoeness didn’t.

    1. I’ve said before that I have issues with the word privilege and what it could mean to someone else (in no way denigrating the intention of the word as a tool for creating understanding) But apart from that, I think you are spot on with Hoeness’ comments and how they were meant to support racism through obfuscation. It may not be an overt racist act, but it certainly speaks to a mindset that sees no harm in that sort of thing.

      Ozil unfortunately got caught up between both the left and the right in this case. And as he does on the pitch when in the middle, he played a killer ball with his statement. Love the fella.

      1. The term privilege is such a polite academic term it’s funny how people find so many problems with it. Put it this way, think up another term that explains the same thing and I guarantee you the criticisms of it would still be there. The fact is a healthy society has to talk about the privilege wealthy people have over the poors, or males have over females, in order to truly treat everyone equally.

        In terms of race, one of the earliest privileges was literally the material possession of land. In the “New World”, European settlers and pilgrims who had taken control of Native lands and put poor people and disenfranchised Europeans, Native Americans and Blacks to work on it needed a way to quell unrest and revolts against unfair treatment. Poor Europeans didn’t flee serfdom, feudalism, torture and exploitation in Europe only to encounter it in the Americas. So they sometimes fought alongside Black slaves and Natives against landowners. The landowner class’ response was to give small portions of land to poor Europeans and tell them they didn’t have to be fight with their poor brethren because now they were “white”. It’s in this period during the 1600s that “whiteness” and the privileges of whiteness began to be enshrined in first social and then legal terms.

        I don’t know if there’s a better word than privilege, but yes, the idea as a tool for understanding is much more important.

        1. You’re right that ‘whiteness’ is a construct. I’m not too clear on the evolution of it all, but I know through normal reading of literature or movies and such that the Italians for instance were not seen as white, or at least white enough. Similarly, the Irish were looked down upon as well. Maybe for being too white?? Not sure. Either way, I agree that it isn’t really anything except a way of dividing people into whatever category is convenient at the time.

          And yet, I agree that it has/had led to the excluded communities being discriminated against. Especially those who definitely could not be seen as ‘white’.

          I don’t get annoyed with the term privilege because I recognise its intent here. I do think however that its use suggests that someone who is white is somehow ‘privileged’ rather than those that face racial discrimination (on top of the other usual discriminations) are unfairly treated. I know it’s meant to appeal to the concept of a just society and say you should support us because we’re worse off than you in ways such as this……. But it has the very real danger of sounding like you are different than us,(even in some cases becoming synonymous with oppressor) and creating that impression in the minds of both whites and blacks, thereby creating more division.

          I know that sounds like theoretical nonsense, but if, rightly or wrongly, the majority/powerful community starts to feel unfairly targeted, the right wingers and racists exploit this and cause a backlash. This reduces the space for those that would, or do, fight against racism, as well, as bridges get burnt.

          In short. I understand what the term means, I agree there would likely be no perfect ‘term’, but I worry that it inverts the message and says anyone who is not disadvantaged is advantaged.

          1. Replying to Shard:
            Often, majority/powerful communities start to feel unfairly targeted because they are not used to being targeted. Whiteness is the invisible normative backdrop to some of this, so when you bring it into focus, it is disturbing. As for a backlash, you are never going to get Rosa Parks and the KKK to agree on desegregation. You do it anyway because it is the right thing to do, and you have the political power + situation to do it. Spaces are always small, backlash or not, that is why these issues persist. Some kind of totally peaceful social change, where the majority creates the space, is idealistic, but also perhaps naive. Reform the society we dominate, but on our terms only.

            To point out the inherent advantage of being white is precisely to point to this issue: anyone who is not disadvantaged (by color) is advantaged (by being white; at least not being a person of color). Empirically, this position can be critiqued by pointing to, say, disenfranchised, unemployed white folk. Theoretically, however, the issue of inherent advantage because one belongs to the normative backdrop which invisibly sets the standard by which everything is judged, is precisely the point.

          2. Dominant groups in a society have the potential to inflict huge amounts of violence on marginalised communities within that society. This goes for countries for that are majority black or Asian as well as those that are majority white.

            But it’s a particular feature of whiteness that visible discussion of ‘whiteness’ is met with fierce co-ordinated opposition at the highest levels of media and even politics. For decades academics have tested different terminology so they can come up with language that isn’t seen as “divisive”. The sad reality is that even though whiteness exists, many white people have an allergic reaction to being identified as “white”. Other identities are identified as Black or Asian or whatever every day of their lives even in situations that don’t merit it.

            But part of the idea of being white isn’t that it’s a race, it’s more that it’s “neutral” or “raceless”. For some, to be called “white” is to be racialised in the same way black people are, and no-one wants to be treated that way! Imagine being identified by the apparent colour of your skin! Shocking!

            That’s what people mean when they say discussion about race is “divisive”. It isn’t really about the terms ‘privilege’ or ‘fragility’, it’s the mere fact of being talked about in a way that seems so dehumanising. I fully understand the opposition to the terms used, but we also have to recognise that racists and nationalists don’t need much of an excuse. Kow-towing to them is a losing battle.

            One of the interesting things about how Jewish people have carved out their own definitions of anti-semitism is that they’re now (after long years of struggle) able to do so without constantly being told how “divisive” they are. I wish people would extend that same courtesy to other marginalised groups.

          3. Well said Kafkush.

            The famous contrarian Fran Lebowitz was asked about this difficultly people have with talking about race and she said:

            “The way to approach it, I think, is not to ask, “What would it be like to be black?” but to seriously consider what it is like to be white. That’s something white people almost never think about. And what it is like to be white is not to say, “We have to level the playing field,” but to acknowledge that not only do white people own the playing field but they have so designated this plot of land as a playing field to begin with. White people are the playing field.”

        2. I’m an Indian, born and raised. I work on race and inequality in the U.S. (right in the belly now). Do I need permission to borrow some of these blogposts and discussions below the line for teaching? They’re incredibly helpful along with other material to take the discussion in class a little off center, and allow people to speak.
          Waiting to see Torreira play in midfield.

    2. Claude, thanks for that perspective. I’m not insensitive to the destruction that can be caused by racial bias in western nations. Nor am I ignorant of my own privilege. However, I think I can still have a valid perspective on the conversation around race as a white person. See, that’s the catch 22 of the human experience; I can’t understand your context 100% just like you can’t understand mine 100% and that’s why having a conversation is so crucial. Because of what you just said I have a greater understanding of how those comments can look to someone who has a different context and I might think about it differently next time a similar situation arises. Maybe you felt the same reading my comments. I don’t know, but that’s my hope because with such complex issues I don’t think there is one clear “right” answer and disagreement opens the door to greater mutual understanding. What I resent is the worldview of someone like Kaius who seems to think that only his view on these issues is 100% correct and everyone who doesn’t agree with him is somehow intolerant, or that because of my privilege (of which I’m well and truly aware in 2018, believe me) I am unqualified to talk about race. Racial issues affect us all and we all need to have a voice.

      1. It’s not that you’re unqualified to talk about race, it’s that you tend to raise it on this forum from the perspective of the CEO who’s lost his job for using a racist slur or the Football Federation President whose response to charges of racism is being questioned. I try to argue the perspective of those affected by discrimination.

        You’ve spoken more than once about how bad political correctness has become, but don’t forget it goes both ways. If you like, next time I’ll be more PC in my responses to you.

        1. It goes WAY beyond political correctness to a freedom of speech issue because racial tensions are at the heart of US and global politics, yet we can’t openly talk about them because people like you who pretend to be holier than thou and try to tell people how they should think about race. What makes you qualified to tell me how to think about it? What gives you the gall to pretend like you have the “correct” answers? As I said above, I’m actually expanding my awareness of the racial tensions by asking these questions because, as people unhelpfully keep pointing out, I live in a predominantly white part of a predominantly white country. I refuse to be ashamed of my identity just like I wouldn’t want anyone to be ashamed of theirs, no matter where they come from or what they look like. Isn’t that the heart of racial issues? Acceptance of others? A greater mutual understanding of each others’ context? You don’t seem to get that at all. It’s part of a wider trend that is, publicly at least, more punitive than educational and it’s tearing our society apart.

          1. “What gives you the gall to think you have the “correct” answers?”

            Normally I self-censor when this subject comes up on here out of respect for Tim. Not every post needs to be derailed innit. But I’m glad I had time for you today.

            To answer your question let me quote the writer Kovie Biakolo:

            “I’ve learned that many White people are not only disinterested in how race still greatly affects inequality in this country, you are a villain if you reveal the facts, the observations, the social realities that are the consequences of America’s racial history that affect its present. They would rather I live in dehumanizing silence than make them uncomfortable with my reality for one minute, one second, one moment…

            Personally, this means continuing to write and doing so fearlessly. Because my humanity – and the humanity of others – is more important than your discomfort.”

            And she wrote that in an article about the hate-mail MLK used to receive. Believe it or not Doc, your unnecessary anger here is part of a decades-old pattern. It’s part of the problem.

          2. Kaius. Maybe you are right. Be that as it may, is it not possible that the problem has persisted for decades in part because we haven’t found the right approach towards talking about the subject?

            Just a thought. No response needed or expected.

          3. Yeah, language is a significant barrier to understanding. We know from the experience of people like James Baldwin and Langston Hughes that beautiful persuasive words don’t move the needle that much. But for sure it’s part of the struggle.

      2. Thanks for your response, Doc.

        What Mesut did in walking away from Germany in the manner that he did, was like self-wounding. Someone self-wounds (or self harms, if you like) because they are under severe mental stress. It wasn’t easy. Germany DID give him a good life. Global visibility. The iconic No. 10 shirt, eventually. He was a lynchpin in a team that was at one time the best in the world. He was lauded, celebrated. In some cases BECAUSE of his immigrant background (so any honest appraisal would admit that it has also worked to his advantage) . He carefully managed an injury with Arsenal, because he wanted to be in the right physical condition to play for his country. As gooners, we could see how much a Germany call up meant to him.

        There’s a lot to criticise Mesut for in how he responded, and in his performances. I don’t know Mesut and I’m not German, but Hoeness’ “you were sh1t anyway” hurt me as if I did, and I was. At best, he wasn’t listening. Black and brown folks would recognise not only the denigration of Ozil, whose record was better than Matthaus’ and Hoeness’, but the absolution of the likes of Muller, Werner and Hummels. They see that play all the time. For Hoeness, context was key. That was not the time to crap on Mesut Ozil.

        As Kaius said, Tim framed his words carefully. I am however, quite prepared to attach the label to Hoeness’ response, though I don’t know about attaching it to the man himself. Matthaus also made the issue solely about how Ozil’s performance had declined over the years. He too missed the whole point.

        The sad thing is black and brown folks have come a long way in Germany and America, and many of them are doing quite well in countries that are more equal and meritocratic than they used to be historically. It’s why the grandson of Turkish immigrants could be a poster boy for die Mannschaft. What he was trying to tell us is that all that changed with such suddenness, that we should consider that old attitudes haven’t been driven away, and many lurk just below the surface.

        Again, Trump. Obama wouldn’t have got away with one-tenth of his shenanigans. He’d probably be facing an impeachment vote in congress by now. Whay do I say that? Those societies are not as post-racial as we’d like to think.

        1. Thank you for this Claude, this is exactly they kind of dialogue I hoped for when I commented on the issue in the first place. I don’t agree with everything you said but it’s very helpful to hear the perspective as it shines a new light on the situation from a different angle.

        2. You know, the more I get to see American politics, the more I realise just how big a deal it was that Barack Hussein Obama was elected President. Like it’s almost unbelievable that that could happen. And I think I understand the frustration that many of you, and I’m thinking of jw1, feel about it as a lost opportunity.

          I have issues with US foreign policy, even under Obama, as we know, and how they view the world because of that, but honestly, it’s such a shame that the guy following Obama had to be someone like Trump.

    3. “Not everyone is going to agree with me, but the denigration of another person’s pain that was caused by racism, in the manner in which Hoeness did so, IS a form of racism.”

      It’s a major component: the oppressor says that the oppressed doesn’t have it that bad, that they are responsible for their own oppression, and that they are the solution to their own oppression.

      So, in Ozil’s case: he just needed to tackle more, to create more, to win more and he would be tolerated. Tolerated, never accepted.

  14. Wenger did nothing?? really?!… He did lots of things before but he didnt change when time demands. As to Ozil we all know he is not in the diffensive side when needed but trying to prove right what that racist said feels a little bit awkward.

  15. Kafkush

    It might seem like semantics, and it is because we’re only arguing over the term rather than the phenomenon. But I think it is a difference between saying,

    this is unjust and here’s why so help us fight it, (understanding)

    and saying, this is unjust and you are privileged so you need to help us fight it. (Understanding, but approaching guilt, by association if nothing else)

    Both want the same thing, both are correct in their aims, and both should have support. Far from idealism, I am arguing that the latter approach is open to abuse and further misunderstanding because people are not idealistic and will not take kindly to their own struggles, their own experiences being denied. The term privilege is already leading to people saying white folks just want to hold on to their privileges, as an explanation for why they protest against the term, instead of the simple fact that they would not want to lose their voice simply to give someone else one. I am not arguing for idealism.

    Rosa Parks and KKK. Most people fall into neither category. It’s them I’m talking about, and even as I understand the term privilege, people also need to understand why it makes, ordinary, everyday, and well meaning people uncomfortable. An injustice, even a great injustice, doesn’t invalidate the experience of someone else. Identifying them as ‘privileged’ leads to seeing ‘them’ as separate, even part of the problem, instead of natural allies. Which I argue most are, because not only do they not gain anything by the institutionalised racism that is the problem here, they actually suffer the societal ill effects of it too. In fact I’d argue that most people are not racists precisely because we’ve learned/imbibed/sense that that kind of division is bad for us, rather than it being a purely selfless/moral act.

    1. Shard
      Thanks for another gracious response, inviting further conversation.
      I’ve been traveling, a little more than is sensible, by car from WA to NY of late. Met many decent, hard working, kind, Trump supporters (write this in an email to my Committee a couple of times, just to rile their east coast sensibilities; it’s fun. I’m not internal to what is happening in the U.S. because I was not born and raised there, so I stick to my humor and irony guns. As an aside, it strikes me sometimes that US Americans don’t have a broad enough sense of humor. It’s either cruel “Roasts,” slapstick American Pie, or occasionally some clean but eventually boring Blue Collar Comedy Tour. I’m leaving out a lot here, I know, including stuff I have seen myself, but focusing on how it translates in daily interactions, BBQs and such).
      So I do sense a truth in what you are saying. However, if we are talking theory and semantics, I stand by what I said. It is the definition of white privilege (not attributing it to a particular white person).
      As for Rosa Parks and KKK. I don’t understand how you can blithely tell me most people fall into neither category. These are historical, documented persons and personas! Perhaps 60 years was too long ago, but not where I come from (in fact, this is another singular thing about US Americans, a different sense of time. The positive is the forward thinking outlook, the negative perhaps a relegation of history as what happened so long ago it is not relevant. People say Black folk should get over all that, it’s been long enough.)
      I know you are not saying “some of them, on both sides, were fine people,” but you’re sounding awfully like “can’t we all get along?” Of course we can, but the burden of empirical guilt bearing, and the burden of accepting being misunderstood, has to be inverted now. Identifying one’s inherent privilege is essential, and a small step, to becoming a natural ally. And I say this as a postcolonial (again, just to index quickly where I come from, not to endorse any vague idea that you and I can’t have anything in common. Quite the opposite).

      Let’s hold on “experience.” My discipline’s (cultural anthropology) done gone to town on that one.

      1. Holding on to this idea that the terms used are problematic and cause division is so obtuse it’s almost funny. But the idea that “most people are natural allies” who do “not gain anything by institutionalised racism” is to miss the point in spectacular fashion.

        Institutionalised racism is the very mechanism by which white privilege is enshrined in society. Because of that it gives people space to claim that they don’t have have to do anything to change the situation because they’re not “individually racist”. That’s how this problem has perpetuated itself and indeed gotten worse as people try to address the many ways the decks are stacked against marginalised people.

        They say “black folks need to get over it” and forget everything that happened but they also need to recognise that Confederate monuments are part of history and should be left alone.

        They say “people should stop protesting and follow MLK’s example of non-violence” forgeting that MLK was seen as the most divisive and dangerous person by about 70% of Americans during his time.

        Being on the right side of history means you do the right thing morally instead of kowtowing to popular opinion, and you wait for society to catch up. At the moment the battle seems lost but the war is long.

        1. So what are white people supposed to do? What is Doc, for example, privileged among the privileged, supposed to do, before he is seen as one of the people on the side of equality, rather than upholding a system which allows him to profit while many others are treated so unfairly?

          1. Shard
            Please don’t throw your hands up in the air in frustration.
            Maybe let me say something of negativity (theoretically: the negativity that is at the core of us as individuals, and thence as a group) – Try and understand, knowing and acknowledging that you never can?
            And what do you care how you are seen?

          2. Isn’t all of us getting along the basic idea? When we can’t even agree that we should all get along is the point that I too want to throw up my hands and say to hell with you all, and that’s pretty much the cartoon sketch of US politics right now. Maybe a different approach is required???

        2. Kaius
          On the Confederate Monuments, for a while I was of the opinion that pulling them down is not so cut and dry, because they are monuments to history – a problematic, violent, grossly hypocritical history. So they serve a purpose. They are moments of remembering and reckoning. Then I learned that a lot of them were put up in the 1990s! So I was totally, “pull that revisionist shit down.” But then, I started thinking that nearly 30 years ago is practically ancient history in the United States. So I was left ambivalent.

          Great clarification about institutionalized racism. And the MLK shoutout is always well received here in India, cos Gandhi showed the path (please folks, can you stop spelling him Ghandi, it’s wrong). But, but, I’m not a non-violent satyagrahi.

          back to getting fat on Indian food before I travel back and start cooking for myself.

          1. “I’m not a non-violent satyagrahi” – googling this has led me to some very interesting reading material. Thank you.

            Conflicted about the monuments issue as well. The one I most agreed with was pulling down the statue of J Marion Sims from Central Park. His specialty was conducting gynaecological experiments on slave women with no anaesthetic. That one had to go.

        3. Kaius

          I replied to Shard below without referencing what you say quite clearly:
          “Institutionalised racism is the very mechanism by which white privilege is enshrined in society. Because of that it gives people space…”
          I deliberately quote you here in a fragment because this issue of space is important. It seems to me that white folks, the progressive ones, are feeling suffocated now. I can’t BREATHE! Because their arrival is not being heralded and recognized. Tough shit, I say. Just come and be a faceless part of the struggle. No red carpet, sorry, but come on over to the BBQ. And don’t be so loud, FFS!

          I spent a lot of time with drug dealers and gangsters during my work, and I realized that—contrary to the desperate need for a discourse of hope among progressive intellectuals—their hedonistic self destruction was not a sign of their fist up in the air, of RESISTANCE. Rather, it was a very accurate analysis that democracy as constituted was not for them, in fact was partly built on their existence as a marginal black body that can be taken out of social circulation when convenient. Instead, they sought their own political language in what would look from the outside like petty turf wars over small corners. One such (largely non-violent) struggle over two years that I witnessed seemed to be more a function of their desire to lead, to strategize, to create a group and succeed in their own political endeavor.

          Shit we’re far from Özil now, aren’t we?

          1. It’s a repetitive problem – the need for recognition, to be lauded for their efforts. Collaboration is the key to any successful movement but there are very real reasons why distrust is high – one being that every generation wants space to discover the lessons we thought the last generation had learnt and accepted. But because slavery and colonialism aren’t taught in schools, our kids will have to deal with the same tensions all over again. It’ll be an endless cycle until the education gap is filled and the history of slavery and colonialism is as settled as the history of the Industrial Revolution or the World Wars.

            Your analysis of street life is on point. We are so far captain Mesut now lol

        1. This reply is for your previous comment! You smart! I’m glad you’re a gunner.. of course no sp*d can be that intellectual..

    2. I don’t know Shard.

      I think people who are made uncomfortable by the word recognise it makes them uncomfortable.

      I think most people who try to be allies recognise it’s a word that makes people uncomfortable.

      It’s an accurate description of something though, and as you say yourself, there probably isn’t going to be an accurate word for this that doesn’t upset some white people or make them uncomfortable anyway.

      So at what point do we just admit that it’s not the word that’s the problem?

      1. The word privilege is definitely not the problem!

        I’m simply saying that its use from an illustrative tool to help white people understand, has gone to a descriptive usage as defining the problem..

        I think this has the potential to be counter productive.

        My approach to this is from the Indian context of religious relations and how as a member of the majority and dominant community, it becomes harder to keep sanity among others when the minority also ‘rejects’ you as part of the problem. I mean sure, I’m better off than some and I can understand the impulse, but that’s neither here nor there. What’s the point of pushing people away and forcing THEM to build any bridges that need to exist, while they also fight the same systemic problem from the other side.

        As if that isn’t difficult enough already. ‘Privilege’ has nothing to do with it. Unless you feel people should just give up their normal lives. Which is impractical. That’s what I mean by being counter-productive. You close off people’s ability to help by forcing a choice that doesn’t need to exist, because the problem is wrongly defined/identified.

        Now sure, the word privilege doesn’t necessarily have to alienate people. I think it does because it’s (and through it, whites are) treated as the problem, rather than injustice. It suggests society runs like a zero-sum game, where blacks lose because whites win. I don’t think it works like that. But hey, if that is the system, then tear it all down. Not sure that’s going to work either. But I would hope it does.

    3. Shard I don’t think the term privilege in this context is about asking for help. To me it’s just a statement of facts. It’s just saying that if you’re white, even if you’re broke and having a terrible time, things would almost certainly be worse if you’re situation was exactly the same but you had brown skin instead of white skin.

      I guess I don’t see the term as being inherently about making white people feel guilty so much as it’s about acknowledging how the system (in America for example) has been predominantly set up by, and for the benefit of, white people at the expense of non white people. It’s a system that build modern America and it’s a system that’s by and large still in place today. Talking about ‘white privilege’ is just an acknowledgment of that fact.

      Anyway, if racists or the far right want to twist the term into something it’s not I don’t see that as a good enough reason to change the term. And if people in the middle really see themselves as conscientious allies and want to be informed it only takes a small amount of reading and listening to see that the term isn’t about blaming white people, or suggesting that white people are all leading privileged lives.

      Ps. In not saying that everyone who has issues with the word is racist or wrong or a bad person. I just think it’s a good term for what it describes and a lot of regular people’s issues with the word are likely down to misunderstanding what the term describes (sometimes consciously) or because they’re not ready to acknowledge the scale of the truth behind it.

      1. Your first paragraph. Exactly.
        Your second paragraph. Yes sir.
        Your third paragraph. Indeed! We can’t get on a terminological musical chairs. at some point, we have to point out that misuse is misuse and the person misusing needs to get a clue.

        Anyway, I’m not seeing any of my last few posts show up, so I hope you see this Jeremy.

          1. Thank you for writing in, and I’m sorry IMOTHYT. I will try to check that in the future.
            Totally love this blog by the way, helps to see your writing to inspire me with my writer’s block (bunch of similar issues, and a lovely young daughter). I hope you still have some items on your amazon wishlist next month, I might finally have some dough to make you a gift!

      2. I shouldn’t be getting into this again. But here goes.. I see what you mean. Help was not the right word exactly. For me, I think the word privilege is a representation of the thought experiment kaius mentioned, what is it like to be white. To be white is to be privileged. I understand that and agree with it. But as a rallying cry and an action point, I think it fails because it seems to suggest white privilege is the problem rather than blacks being denied those same basic rights . It’s a small difference, but I think it has a large impact on how the issue is viewed by whites and blacks alike.

        To me, it prioritises admission of guilt over finding a way forward. You could argue there’s no way forward without that, and while I get that, I don’t think guilt is a positive emotion at all. No matter how fair or unfair it is, my problem with it is that I don’t think it will work.

  16. Kafkush

    I’m not American and not white. I’m Indian too. Plus I studied history in college and have worked (briefly) in related fields. You placed me wrong on two counts 🙂

    I care how white people are seen, because I care about society being divided along the basis of ‘white privilege’ rather than along the basis of those that stand for a more just system and those that don’t. The term, though meant to educate(an important, vital, need) , is now used to suggest that every white person who doesn’t relegate his own struggles, fears, and problems to the cause of race equality, is just holding on to his privileges; de facto putting most white people (because they are…people) into the latter category, unless they somehow show that they don’t belong there.

    My question to Kaius wasn’t rhetorical. He thinks its ridiculous that white people should get away with not being ‘individually racist’ because they get away with perpetuating the problem this way. So I wanted to know what it is they are supposed to do, according to him.

    I think the problem isn’t ‘white privilege’ but ‘institutionalised racism against blacks’. Conflating the two, regardless of the overlap, is counter-productive, that’s all.

    1. I’m gonna trust that what I said is clear enough for most people to understand, even if a few don’t.

      With the injury to Andre Gomes (two months with a hamstring) and with N’zonzi on his way to Roma, two possible transfer targets are suddenly off the table. And with Goncalo Guedes refusing to consider a move to Arsenal, the identity of the possible final signing is a total mystery.

      It’s also interesting that when discussing our performance Emery said subbing on the young players in the 2nd half gave us our pressing game back. This man is so focused on us perfecting the press. I think he wants to us to do it for as many of the 90mins as possible and if he has to use the sub’s bench, he will.

      1. We were never going to sign nzonzi or any of that lot! Expect an attacking midfielder if we are still in the transfer market.

        1. Yeah I didn’t think his age profile was right. Think it’ll be an attacking mid as well, but who?? Hope it’s another promising young South American with potential.

          1. I’ve been having same thoughts.. cos this team lacks a typical winger and Nelson hasn’t impressed me yet!

    2. Shard

      I did have a sense that you may or may not be US American (America is another misnomer, perpetuated by even the brilliant Edward Said). But if you look over what I am saying, I made comments in general, not addressing you as White US American, but talking about my own experience.
      That said, I will not split hairs with you. I have heard similar statements from very well meaning white folk who are caught in this ambivalent space – “I have arrived, I understand racism and the history to some extent, I want to belong. Why am I not being let into the circle so I can sing Kumbaya with the others?”

      Believe it or not, this was my thought when I posted my first and second comment to you: Shard is not necessarily white or from the US, does what I am saying still work in response? Decided it was not necessary to edit. We are having a conversation that extends beyond ourselves, so it does not matter.
      To be clear: I don’t think I have to be non-white to say what I said. To the extent I am talking about white privilege, this is US scholarly work after all, and I have many problems with that in any case. The US American hubris of believing that their binary experience of race qualifies them to be arbiters of good sense to all.

      All that said, if you are of Indian extraction but born and raised in the US, we can have another conversation about model minorities and what I have learned about South Asian non FOBs and FOBs in the United States.
      Again, all in peace, I think we can dialogue without worrying about outdoing each other in a debate.
      Finally, white privilege and institutionalized racism are in lockstep, a little critical theory of any kind would immediately foreground this: the very categories of thought and hence of politics and policy, are encoded with whiteness. An individual non-racist still has to deal with her/his freedom to arrive at this perspective, and her/his continued (whether s/he wants it or not) privilege.

      1. I’m born, raised and living in India. But of course, I have no problem with any of your views or any discussion. At no point did I feel like you were engaging in one upmanship or denigrating my PoV. You have been nothing but respectful. I’m sorry if I didn’t convey a similar impression.

        I think I’ve said enough on the topic, but I’d just like to say again because I don’t think you understood. I think the word privilege correctly explains the relationship between institutionalized racism and the historically dominant whites. I think it’s brilliant as a way to get people to understand. I am not disputing that, nor the validity of the claim. I merely think that its usage has evolved and this, no matter that it is ‘fair’, is counter productive to the cause of social equality among races. And I tried to explain why. That’s it.

        1. Shard

          I never felt anything other than a healthy desire for discussion from you. No disrespect felt or imputed at all. BTW you’re familiar here as a poster to me, and I enjoy reading the discussions you get into! It’s all good.

          I agree, we’ve expressed ourselves. I will end with this simply this: your distinction between illustrative and descriptive is precisely what I am contesting. What I hope for, however, is that we will both be accurately describing social reality in 20-25 years, when we both can fall on the side of illustrative when talking about this word.

          Please make it a point, if you don’t mind, to post here if/when you are traveling to the US. I’m about to move to the red heart of the experiment, and would love to show off my music set up and cook a meal for you. Indian hospitality rocks worldwide!!

          1. Thank you very much for your gracious offer. Currently no plans to visit the US but I will definitely post it here if it’s in the works.

            Also, thank you for the discussion. All the best with the rest of your experiment.

  17. Talking about people wanting to hold on to their privilege I read an interesting comment on this relating to why white women in America vote Republican.

    Why vote for a party that generally sees you as a second class citizen? One reason may be that some white women prefer a system where they’re treated as second class citizens (but better than dark skinned people, the lgbt community, other minorities, foreigners etc. to a system that that wants to level the playing field for everyone.

    Surely a fairer, more progressive system would be better for them, but maybe it doesn’t look that way if they recognise (and don’t want to give up) the privilege and status that their ‘whiteness’ gives them within the Republican system.

    Better to be a second class citizen in that system, than be ‘reduced’ to being treated like everyone else.

    1. From what I’ve read, most “Republican” women are Republicans for one reason only: abortion.

      1. I’d be wary of such reductionism. Both of you and Jeremy likely explain part of the picture; neither likely explain most of it.

      2. Yeah I think I read about abortion being the main reason women vote Republican. That sounds reasonable. I’m not suggesting every Republican-voting white woman thinks like that or anything. Just seems like there might be some element of truth to it in some cases.

  18. Just finished watching the match. Guendouzi looks so much better than I thought. Sokratis still looks unexceptional, but I worry about Mustafi, who had one of his moments very early in the game where he passed the ball straight to the opposition. Otherwise solid, but that’s how it is with him.

    If Ozil can get with the press, we’re going to have a monster season from our new No.10. His speed of thought is excellent and with Auba, and Laca as well, we’re good in attack. Nketiah is a finisher too.

    All in all, I think we’re looking good. But it will all come down to how we perform when the time comes. Very interested to see who makes the team on opening day.

  19. Blackjew

    In case you’re replying to me (it is probably Kaius, but just in case), and in case you’re going to signify with this professor thing:

    😉 don’t fuck with me brethren, I don’t want no trouble 🙂

    And believe it or not, I know two Black Jews (only one of them will vouch for me though) in my short time in the United States of Experiment.

    1. I read your comments and I must say I am way, way too left brained to understand the point you’re making. Can you clarify in a way that would make sense to a devout empiricist? I don’t pretend to have formal education in any of this stuff, I’m only sharing how I feel and see the situation.

      1. Dr. Gooner

        You’re being too humble, I suspect.
        I don’t know that being left brained means. Honest. I really don’t know.
        I don’t know where a devout empiricist stands today on his perception being the arbiter of truth. Again, honest. I’m not up on these debates so I don’t know. Are we talking facts, are we including individual experience (without being Sufi or post humanist)? I need to know the epistemology.
        Finally, let having lawyer friends be my defense, and my flawed memory of your posts here being my other defense, but did you take classes in philosophy and rhetoric as part of your training to be a public defender/ corporate lawyer/ something else? If this is the case, I am just going to withdraw from the inevitable logic competition. You win, whatever you think I said. I accept defeat without an ounce of humility; you’re just right, and it will be too exhausting to try to argue anything else (please don’t take this wrong, it’s my basic caveat- I’m not going to get into a discussion/debate/whatever if you’re a lawyer).

        and saying “feel and see” after saying you’re a devout empiricist smacks of bullshit my dude.

      2. Dr. Gooner

        I replied to you, but it was lost. Working off a hotspot.

        I can’t be arsed, but I was asking a couple of things.
        I don’t know what left brained means (honest, I don’t).
        Empiricism, but you will have to clarify what epistemology you are coming from.
        You put the burden to clarify in a very faux humble way on me, and it was passive-aggressive.

        And then I said something about being curious if you’re a logicist, trained in some courses in philosophy and rhetoric, and work as a public defender / corporate lawyer. If that was the case, I wanted to accept total defeat and withdraw because I don’t want to get into a discussion with that kind of person. Grand and broad stereotyping, but you live to find holes, defeat arguments, and have nothing substantive of your own to say. Again, I’m on a blog, posting without extreme consideration, and perhaps wrong, but if you are a lawyer, I have to conserve energy for conversations with my closest friend, a lawyer.

        Your post reeked of a simple, “tell me what you mean, and i will look for holes.” Not a conversation (like I had with Shard), just a “I’m the smartest cock in the room.”

        Your other point about “can’t we all just get along” reinforced this feeling. Of course we can! We should! But that is not the point, for the sake of fuck. That comes way after.
        I don’t like reductionism. Logically trained people do only that. Sorry.

        Again, I hope I am wrong and we can talk again. But these discussions are not about logic, they are about history, experiences that are not shared, and debates about words that are not carried out on a level field.

        1. Interesting, thank you for sharing your point of view. I’m trying to work on being less like you just described me but the internet still brings it out from time to time. As a complete stranger who is obviously very insightful and knowledgable, I put a lot of weight on your observations of my words. I should be better.

          I am an MD, not a lawyer, though I’ve heard since I was a child that I should’ve been one for my convictions and ceaseless arguments. Again, it’s a work in progress. This site is the only place I allow myself to argue on the internet and it still gets the better of me despite what I think are my best attempts to control the beast at the time.

          1. Dr. Gooner
            You are a healer, and that has my utmost respect. I wish people would respect the work you do more and more (if they don’t already), whatever medical field it is in, because we’ve all decided we are medical experts now with google.

            Keep arguing here, you seem to do so with an open mind. Although you did not address my responses, or Kaius’s above, you did not withdraw. If we can talk, we can learn from each other.

  20. Your blog has gotten too popular, Tim. I used to be able to read all the comments to know whether the contribution I want to make has been made before or not. Too many comments now, so excuse this if it is repetitive.

    1. I’d advise caution with Guendouzi. I haven’t watched any of these preseason games, which he seems to be impressing in, but a few points here:
    a. It’s preseason. If we take everything in it with a grain of salt, it applies to him as well.
    b. We’ve seen plenty of youngsters look good and then not deliver. He’s still a youngster.
    c. It sounds like his long passing is particularly impressive. That’s really good. I suspect it may be an issue of ironing out his flaws. Xhaka is the prime example of a player who does one thing well, but not well enough to make up for the flaws in his game.
    d. The scout reports on Guendouzi were all that he has talent, but needs to improve to be good enough for the Prem. Also attitude issues. He’s not an unknown, diamond in the rough. He’s a bit of a known quality to those who’ve been paying attention, certainly with potential. If he’s impressed in preseason, that is promising but it’s unlikely he’s made that jump so quickly.

    Our LB situation is slightly worrying, but not unduly so. Kola looked good early last season, and I believe he had injury issues. Let’s allow him the same preseason caveat that applies to everything else, and hope he ups his game a little. And where is Monreal? I’ve heard nothing at all about him recently. I assume he’s still our first choice LB?

  21. Great discussion on privilege. Doc, Shard, I didn’t use it as an insult device. I was trying to say that a lack of understanding (or simply an honest expression of your own view from your own vantage point) of a black person’s perception of racism, and other things, stems from not ever having had to see the issue from their vantage point.

    Ozil grew up in a Turkish working-class community in Rhine-Westphalia. His elite athlete status came after having similar growing up experiences to any other German-Turkish person. And it’s true that his life and lifestyle became far removed from that. But he can’t unhear his relatives’ experience or his own early ones, no matter how rich he becomes. Then his celebrity, talent and visibility didnt stop him becoming a target himself. And to the boo boys including his own FA president, his Turkishness became more visible than his Germanness. Just like any other average Joe in Gelsinkirchen. Of course he was not an average Joe…. not with his income and celebrity. But identity is visceral. It’s not about money. One of the amusing criticism of socially conscious black athletes by people on the American right like Laura Ingraham is that they are millionaires. One German politician said that he couldn’t understand Ozil’s grievances because he was a multi-millionaire living in London. Where have we seen that play before? 🙄

    So a lot of folks saw Hoeness’ response to Ozil as something far more insidious than a criticism of his performance. I certainly do.

    Does it cut both ways? Of course. I hear cringeworthily racist stuff in the safe space of, say, black barber shops. Sometimes I shut it down, sometimes I shut up. And some of the backlash that is framed as a pushback against political correctness is justified. Folks can and do over-correct, and some on the black/brown side have. Hence, some pushback, and Doc correctly stating that not every time a white man biffs a black/brown man is a racist incident. That’s become the murky battleground, where hackles are raised where they sometimes shouldnt be, and people who can be allies end up facing down each other. And yes, privilege is a barrier to that.

    1. Racial issues absolutely cut both ways and I’m certainly not walking around with a measuring stick saying “I’ve been hurt this much” by backlash because I have enough insight to know that it’s WAY worse to be on the receiving end of racial bias. I shouldn’t need to say that but I feel like I do, so there it is. I don’t think anyone would debate that. My issue is more that a substantive, two-way conversation about race is not happening, particularly involving white, under-educated people, and, like it or not, this country is chock full of people in exactly that demographic who are feeling stifled and judged by elites. So they had their revenge by electing a buffoon to serve as our president and so they had the last laugh. Before that, they elected a Republican majority congress which engendered 6 years of congressional gridlock. In my view, unless you want that to happen again, they need to feel like they are not pariahs, racists or unwanted by the rest of society because I believe that only encourages a siege mentality and radicalization. They are not “bad people.” Forty six million people who voted for Trump can’t be labeled as racist ne’erdowells. They make easy targets because they often don’t have higher education and the resulting financial means to experience the world outside their very limited context. Many of them grew up in families that were outright racist. How much of this is their fault as individuals? How much have they been embittered by left behind by the wealthy coastal areas of the US? More importantly, how much more would it benefit them if we improved their opportunities for contact with people of color, improved their overall education level, their overall financial power? They need help, not judgment or derision. Continuing to ignore or look down on them will only exacerbate current trends.

      I don’t expect any of these positive approaches to be taken, mind, because I don’t think governance has changed much since Machiavelli published “The Prince.” Those in power love to see the nation divided and squabbling over things like this because it distracts us all from how we are being used and manipulated. But that doesn’t change what I believe is right.

      1. So these left behind people (and I don’t hate them, see my post above; I’ve actually made an effort to engage them and provoke these East / West coast elites about them), are suffering from the lack of a two way conversation? What makes you conflate East Coast elites with People of Color? Why the fuck are you putting the burden of the two way conversation on those who have had no voice for the longest time? While at the same time erasing them by subsuming them under the likes of HRC and the white east coast elites? Who told you they speak for people of color? Did you forget they are politicians?

        This ridiculous righteous smugness about the last election result (and believe me, I argue with all the liberals I know that they got it wrong, that they did not have a proper alternative and they ENABLED this guy’s election whether they like to acknowledge it or not) has to stop, don’t you think? Ya, sure, you’re not being smug, but I think you really are. And that is what leads to these total lacks of distinction and erasures I refer: the east coast elites do not speak for people of color. They claim to, sure.

        And then you say somewhat right sounding stuff like they grew up in families that were racist, so it is not their fault. Of course it is not! We are all products of their environment! So we condone it!? SMH.

        Racism cuts both ways? Man, please. It’s cut one way for the longest time in the US.

        Why can’t we forget all that and just get along? Aww, Indeed. Watch a little James Baldwin just to begin with. But no, let’s just all get over it. WTF man, you’re way more intelligent than this! Don’t reduce everything to an ahistorical exercise in logical reasoning!

    2. Claudeivan

      “I hear cringeworthily racist stuff in the safe space of, say, black barber shops.”
      I’ve heard this stuff. It doesn’t make me cringe. I dig a little deeper than speech. You sound like a history professor who said “what about his racism” about an article draft I wrote and a friend of mine, an African American worker in the informal economy of criminal labor saying, “fuck you, you punju hindu,” in the middle of a session of banter. This isolated analysis of shit is blinkered, I’m sorry to say, especially when someone clearly knowledgable as you treats every current moment as an arbiter of everything historical. Why does stuff said in a Black barber shop make you cringe? Reflexivity please. Does it cut both ways is a ridiculous way of positing these situations.

      People who can be allies – this is exactly, in my opinion, where the battleground is. All you (not you, I’m not saying you are white,etc.) allies are welcome, but can you please just shut the fuck up and let people of color (yes, just by virtue of being people of color) define the debate / battleground framework? Can you just check your fucking entitled heckles for a second? Privilege is the barrier here, very often.

      Again, Claudeivan, please take this in the spirit of spirited conversation. I want to talk more with you, not shut you down, I am sure we have more in common than more that divides us.

      And an honest expression from your own point of view is not simply virtuous by virtue of its honesty. It is revealing, and “discussable.” I talk about my own moments of racist identification all the time, simply because it helps open the conversation to how much ideology defines what we think and feel, without knowing it. Experience, feeling and perception is no arbiter of moral validity.

      1. Kafkush, I was simply giving a little in the spirit of reasonableness, without, crucially, conceding my central, core point. Which I think that you agree with. It’s not an attempt at whataboutism. I made that central, core point — Hoeness and what his reaction represents — pretty clearly before that.

        No, I don’t take your robust pushback the wrong way.

        1. Claudeivan

          Your first two paragraphs in the earlier post were about your main point, and they resonate. I should have mentioned that in my post to you. I focused on this “cuts both ways” point only.

          I was not as restrained in my response to Dr. Gooner as I could have been (he was very gracious, but also politely deflecting in response), because that’s part of the point – this burden of understanding the other perspective, ever since Hegel’s dialectic, always lands on the colored, the slave, the one who serves. “They need help, not judgment” says Dr. Gooner, and he’s right probably, but we are already in a competition of victims here!

          The issue of political correctness is a GuenDOUZI. It’s already become a siren call for totally off brand talkers from the racist right (alt, radical, whatever), simply to say O can’t we go back to the old days of jokes. At the same time, that guy who owned the LA clippers got his comeuppance for saying the wrong thing (and that steroid eating Papa John’s guy too), when he should have been condemned much more and much earlier for being a racist slumlord. I mean, if he hadn’t said what he said, he would have—and actually he continues to—run the housing he owns like a total racist. So all he needed to do was stay PC, and he would have continued to own the Clipppers? What kind of society is it that we police speech to the point of saying to racists – be racists, just don’t say the wrong thing? This is what leaves me ambivalent about the recent debate between the Daily Show and France.

    3. Thanks Claude. I understood totally where you’re coming from. Once again, I think we’ve managed to deal with the discussion on such a topic, in largely the right spirit. I certainly have come away with more insight and food for thought than I had previously. Thanks to everyone who participated.

  22. Also, a question I want to put to the room – are we making too big a deal of -the press’? It’s not like a high press is a particularly new or revolutionary tactic. Why are we so bought into this, as if it’s gonna solve all our problems? Especially if our central defense turns out to be the warm jello people are afraid it might be? And what happens when we run out of steam by xmas?

    1. The few times we pressed under Wenger, we looked really good. Soft CBs or not, against the majority of opposition, a good organised press should reap rewards. Winning the ball higher up and having ozil picking out laca and auba with Ramsey supporting seems great.

      I worry about burnout though. Maybe not by xmas, but definitely after. Mainly because Emery and his staff haven’t got the experience of playing without a winter break and may not tweak tactics or have the rotation down to manage it just right.

  23. I hope the good people on here know how I feel about racism but let me throw this out there.
    Don’t you guys think a lot what Ozil has been dealing with has to do with nationalism as much as racism?
    A second generation German with such close ties to his ancestral roots.
    He brings up in his rebuttal Podolski and Klose, who in spite being born in Poland have been treated ( he feels) better than him.
    That might be true but neither Klose or Podolski ,despite still having close family in Poland and quite a worm reception from general football fans, have been parading themselves as a proud Polish expatriates or posing for pics with Polish government dignitaries ( as far as I can tell).

    Food for thought.

    1. Maybe this ‘parading’ looks like such only because Ozil’s Turkish identity is seen as incompatible with German identity, while Polish identity is seen as less difficult to reconcile. I’m fairly certain Poldi has talked about Poland as a part of his identity too. But it’s not going to be as big a deal in the media or political circles.

      Ozil got caught between the illiberal liberals on one hand and the illiberal illiberals on the other. The latter definitely have a component of racism in their understanding of nationalism. The former decided to use a non political act to play their political games. Knowing full well that it helps them reach some folks from the right and bring them on their side.

  24. Off course Poldi and Klose have close ties to their country of birth but that’s a bit different being born there and migrating to Germany, than being born from German born parents, in Germany , as it was in Ozil’s case.

    I don’t question Ozil’s sincerity but the cynic in me can’t help but think that some of his behavior might be directly related to his marketability and maximizing his fame and profits.

    I have seen more than a few Turks residing in the US sporting a soccer kit with Ozil’s name on it , whether it be a generic one or one from his Madrid stint, but I haven’t seen any Polish guys wearing shirts with Podolski or Klose’s name on them.
    Literally never.

    1. Oh I see your point. I can only say that if being sincere also brings reward, I think that’s a good thing.

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