Romelu Lukaku has urged Manchester United supporters to “move on” from a recent chant created for him that contains racist undertones.
Videos last week appeared on social media of supporters singing a song about Lukaku that refers to his “24 inch penis” and “b*****d to his toes”.
The Kick It Out campaign has responded by imploring the club to take action and punish any supporters singing the chant, while others have condemned its offensive nature.
And the club has sent out a tweet addressing the chant, with Lukaku, while thanking them for their adulation, encouraging supporters to stop singing the song.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 21, 2017
Some have come out in defence of the chant, claiming that it doesn’t contain any malice whatsoever, but that completely misses the point.
There are two kinds of racism: the first kind is overt and deliberately offensive, spouted by those who wear the racist tag with pride, or at least cannot shake it; the second is what we see here with the Lukaku chant – not intentionally derogatory, perhaps, but indicative of a wider racist culture that is, even to this day, embedded into our society’s psyche.
Most supporters who sing this chant would condemn the former type of racism, yet they see no problems with pandering to this gross stereotype.
The fact that Lukaku’s member was the first thing we could think of is disappointing to say the least. It points towards an unconscious apologist attitude towards a social landscape that is far from fair – a world in which those who aren’t white still find themselves placed into boxes and categories, faced with labels that only serve to create bigger disjuncts between groups of people – even if that isn’t the end goal in the minds of their proponents.
This was, put simply, a sad example of how far our society really is from wiping out the conditioned and institutional racist rhetoric that continues to create unnecessary divisions between us.
United as a club needs to condemn this more emphatically, and supporters ought to lavish Lukaku through song for what is important: that he is looking lethal in a red shirt, and nothing else.