An important part of the battle against racism is allyship and standing together with family, friends and colleagues who are receiving abuse.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright has openly revealed the impact of online racist messages on his daily life, terming it as something that makes him feel “very dehumanised”. Wright urged social media companies to clamp down on discriminatory abuse on their platforms. The former Arsenal player indulged in a discussion with Alan Shearer on the abuse he receives on a regular basis, as a part of the Premier League’s No Room For Racism initiative.
“It makes you feel very dehumanised. You feel like nothing. There’s nothing you can do. You’re helpless. It’s a regular occurrence simply because there are no consequences to some of these people’s actions,” said Wright.
The former Arsenal striker followed it up by showing Shearer a message sent to him on social media, indicating the scale of the issue on online platforms.
“I see social media and it’s happening more and more. I wouldn’t even read that [message] out. No way ever would anyone ever come up to you in the street and say that. That language is disgusting,” said Shearer.
The former Newcastle United footballer further followed it up by asking Wright to elaborate about the issues that he was facing, urging him to share the best ways of providing support.
“To still be somebody who’s willing to step out of that comfort zone, of being afraid because of what it might do, is exactly what as a community we need. Alan Shearer saying that kind of stuff and being honest about what he’s trying to say, knowing that there are pitfalls to what he may say, but he’s willing to do that because it’s wrong,” said Wright.
The former Arsenal legend however believes that there are fans setting an example by encouraging a positive change in the mindset when it comes to discriminatory abuse.
“When I was younger, I loved Leeds. But the first time I went to play there for Palace, they were singing stuff to me and Brighty [Mark Bright]. And that’s the kind of stuff where, when you go into the dressing room, that shakes you,” he said.
“But Leeds fans, they stopped it. They, to a man and a woman themselves, got up and said, ‘We’re not having that, we’re not accepting that here. And slowly, one by one, they dealt with it,” concluded Wright.