- Title: "Italians are in denial over racism" - expert
- Date: 17th December 2019
- Summary: LOUGHBOROUGH, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR LECTURER IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY AT LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY, MARCO ANTONSICH, SAYING: "I think there is a big issue in Italian society in dealing with diversity, in particular racial diversity. The main reason is because race in Italy was obliterated after Fascism, it became a taboo and so Italians did not have the tools, the critical tools to interrogate race and even today the idea of being Italian is mainly associated with whiteness, despite the fact that recently society has witnessed a quite rapid demographic change and that maybe is also the reason, because it was so rapid Italian institutions, also in the schools, were unable to come up with the right tools, so for the people to understand that demographic change."
- Embargoed: 31st December 2019 17:09
- Keywords: Serie A racism
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA009BAD7KG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Italy as a society is in denial over the issue of racism according to Dr. Marco Antonsich of Loughborough University who studies the socio-demographic structures of his home country.
Italy's top-flight Serie A soccer league launched a new anti-racism campaign on Monday by presenting artwork featuring three side-by-side paintings of apes but the move has been described by campaign group Fare as a sick joke.
The league said the paintings by Italian artist Simone Fugazzotto would be exhibited permanently at the entrance to its main hall "to underline the commitment of the world of football against all forms of discrimination."
It said the artwork "aims to spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood".
The paintings drew an angry backlash on social media from outside Italy, although there was little reaction inside the country itself.
Antonsich, a senior lecturer in human geography, explained this as an issue that transcends soccer with Italians struggling to come to terms with the issue and even being in denial that it exists. Antonsich believes a better education in schools would improve the situation along with a change in approach from the political institutions.
Milan-born Fugazzotto, described as being "known for his disruptive works", is famous in Italy and almost all his art involves drawings of chimpanzees.
He said he got the idea for the paintings after Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly suffered racist insults during a match at Inter Milan last season.
Italian football has been plagued by racism with Inter Milan Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku and Brescia's Italian striker Mario Balotelli having been subjected to racist insults from rival fans during matches this season.
Earlier this month, Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport used the headline 'Black Friday' along with a picture of Lukaku and AS Roma's England defender Chris Smalling to preview last Friday's match between their clubs in Milan.
Despite a wave of criticism, the newspaper stood by the headline.
(Production: Tim Hart)
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