Pièce de Racistance: The Suarez Dissonance
Have you ever found yourself in a pub while you should be studying? Playing a computer game while you should be doing something important? I’m sure we’ve all been in these types of situations, and there are a couple of standard things we humans do to make peace with ourselves. You see, we all have a certain set of beliefs and values and in order to not be at constant war with ourselves, we either adapt our behaviour in a way that fits our beliefs and values or vice versa.
So, in our example: We either adapt our current behaviour by leaving the pub to study/ stop playing the computer game, or we adapt our values and beliefs by kidding ourselves into thinking that we have plenty of time to study the next morning (we won’t, because we’re hungover)/ the thing we’re supposed to do isn’t that important anyway (it is).
What I’m talking about here is cognitive dissonance and the reduction of it. Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I’ve been jabbering on about it, but for clarity’s sake, an explanation is in order. A famous example of the reduction of cognitive dissonance is “The Fox and the Grapes” by ancient-Greek storyteller Aesop. In this example, the fox wants to eat grapes. When it finds out that the grapes are out of its reach, it kids itself into thinking that it didn’t actually want the grapes in the first place.
Now let’s talk about Luis Suárez. If I were a psychologist there’d be no cheaper and more interesting social experiment than to monitor the reactions of Arsenal fans on Twitter to the Gunners being linked to the Uruguayan cannibal. Now, I’m not here to name and shame the person or to stir the debate about whether we should be signing him or not. Others, like @JonnyOneill, have done an absolutely marvellous job at that (now you know my opinion on the matter), but the fact that we’re desperately trying to make peace with ourselves by trying to explain his behaviour, speaks volumes.
I don’t even think it’s hypocritical. Well, it is, but it’s more the “hypocriticality” of the human brain searching for equilibrium than anything else. It happens all the time and it’s natural (“Let’s get M’Vila, he’s great. Oh he isn’t coming? He sucks anyway.”), but it’s something we should be aware of. The brain is one tricky, thought-hacking bastard, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t manually try to hack it right back in order to face reality.
Reality, in this case, being: Whether he’s really a racist or not (I don’t think he is. I think he’s a sociopathic twat who’d try anything to distract an opponent, and that’s not my brain mind-f**king me), Suárez has been banned for probably calling Patrice Evra something naughty about his race. If we were to sign him, it’d greatly damage our fight for equality and alienate a lot of our foreign fans.
We were all proud when Arsenal became the first club to achieve Kick It Out’s ‘Advanced Level of the Equality Standard’. This quote by Ivan Gazidis illustrates what that meant for Arsenal:
“A football club is about more than just the game. I am profoundly proud to see what has been achieved here at Arsenal. It is fundamental that a football club is representative of its community, and the most visible manifestation of this is what happens on the field. We have over 20 different nationalities in our squad and this is something that reflects the multiculturalism that is inherent in the world’s game, but also in the Islington community, and London on a broader scale.
“In the community, Arsenal is promoting and celebrating the diversity and multiculturalism of our community. I am proud of the work we are doing, but I want to also emphasize how far we still have to go to eradicate all forms of discrimination.”