The conversation in today’s class has spurned me to look into the racialization and politization of football in Italy. Both Italy and France share many similarities in that, football creates a huge platform for media attention. Football players in European countries often receive more media attention than politicians and for that reason they are often a representation of there countries. Like France, Italy is in an awkward position politically as there seems to be a power vacuum that has allowed a strong nationalistic right wing party to emerge. In Italy this is the Lega Nord.
The Lega Nord, is a political party that believes in clamping down on immigration by closing the Italian borders to Muslim immigrants and limiting the amount of African immigrants in Italy. Most recently, the leader of the party, Roberto Calidroli said “I love animals, but when I see her, I can’t help but think of an orangutan” in reference to Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s minister of integration, at a recent festival organised by the Lega. Kyenge is black, was appointed to the Cabinet in April, and Calderoli added that “maybe Kyenge should be a minister in her own country [sic] … she is only encouraging illegal immigrants to dream of success”.
The article below demonstrates the recurring problem of racism in Italian football, it illustrates the racial history of Italy, where it began and how it has emerged into such a problem. But overall, it illustrates that the future of Italy revolves around figures such as Mario Balotelli and Cecile Kyenge. Balotelli with his exposure to the media could transform how the youth look at race in Italy, especially if he is to lead Italy far into the World Cup much like he did in Euro 2012.