Clarke Carlisle backs Raheem Sterling and calls out subconscious racist reporting
Former professional footballer Clarke Carlisle blames ‘subconscious racism’ for the way black football players are portrayed in the media.
He believes non-white players are usually depicted in a negative light compared to white players, even when it may not be the reporter’s intentions.
On Good Morning Britain, he said, “one of the hardest things to evidence is subconscious racism, because you’re trying to talk about a person’s thought process and how they’ve come to that conclusion.”
“How do you bring evidence of the conditioning a person is brought up with?”
‘Subconscious racism’ or ‘unconscious bias’ refers to stereotypes or attitudes unintentionally formed against a certain group of people.
Darren Lewis, a football writer for the Daily Mirror, agreed with Carlisle and said, “racism can be in the way we construct reports… It’s insidious, it’s institutionalised."
“We have built up over time language that reinforces negative stereotypes.”
This follows a tense match in which Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was racially abused by Chelsea fans on the field.
Sterling took to Instagram to respond, and accused the British media of fuelling racism in football through incendiary headlines.
In screengrabs, he compared article headlines written about fellow clubmates Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden.
When 20-year-old defender Tosin Adarabioyo bought a new home, the Daily Mail reported the story with the headline: ‘Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on mansion on market for £2.25m despite having never started a Premier League match’.
However, The Sun - a newspaper owned by the same umbrella company News Corp - reported Phil Foden’s new house purchase with the headline: ‘Foden buys new £2m home for his mum’.
In Sterling's Instagram post, he stated: “You have two young players starting out their careers – both play for the same team, both have done the right thing, which is buy a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are.”
“But look at how the newspapers get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player. I think this is unacceptable, both innocent, have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded.”
Recent research by anti-discrimination advocacy group Kick It Out shows an 11% rise in racist incidents within English football over the past year, making up 53% of discriminatory encounters in football. Discriminatory behaviour overall has also risen for the sixth year in a row.