Rio Ferdinand should know better. Ashley Cole doesn't owe blind loyalty to anyone just because of the colour of their skin
I don't think I've heard the words choc ice used this much outside a Mr Whippy ice cream van. Rio Ferdinand, hitherto the aggrieved but mostly silent big brother of Anton Ferdinand who was – according to Judge Riddle – not racially abused, broke his silence on the matter to agree with a tweet that called Ashley Cole a choc ice. Choc ices, like coconuts, Oreos and Bounty chocolate bars, are black on the outside and white on the inside. Rio Ferdinand has now been deemed a racist.
As a criminal barrister, I once defended a black man who was charged with a racially aggravated Section 5 offence (aka, the John Terry offence) for calling another black man a coconut. My client swore that he didn't use the word as a racist term, but simply as a reference to the victim's "big head". He was not believed and was guilty in the eyes of the law.
To be guilty of most offences in law, there has to be a mental element as well as the actual offence. So with racist words, the words obviously have to be said, but your intention in saying them is of paramount importance. To judge a person's intention, the context in which the words were said is critical. So Chelsea player Terry was found not guilty for using racist words, in a context where there was a possibility that he could have been repeating them in a sarcastic manner. My client was found guilty, on the other hand, for using the seemingly more innocuous word coconut, because the context in which he used that word was as a black man, being arrested by a black police officer. My client, in essence, insulted his arresting officer because he thought the policeman should cut him some slack as a fellow black man. He didn't call him the N-word but in a way, he might as well have, because he chose a word based of the colour of the man's skin.
Having said all this though, the question remains – was Ferdinand being racist? I ask myself: what was his intention, and what was the context? Ferdinand himself clarified the tweet by saying that he meant that Ashley Cole was fake. The context, as we all know, is that Cole had just given evidence on behalf of Terry. And let's get down to the bare bones of the issue: a black man gave evidence in favour of a white man accused of racially abusing another black man. If Ferdinand was not being racist in agreeing with the tweeted choc ice slur, it leaves the question, how does what Cole did make him fake?
Among black people there is a widely held notion that there should be some sort of racial solidarity. Black people should stick together in all things against the "white" establishment. Words such as coconut are used to remind the "brothers" where their loyalties should lie.
However, this is a blind loyalty, it means you should support members of your race, whatever the situation, or be accused of being not black enough. So being black is no longer just the colour of your skin, it's your behaviour. The tweet that made Ferdinand the focus of attention said sneeringly that Cole "has always been a sell-out"; but who exactly was Cole selling out? The Ferdinand family, or black people in general?
Cole may be a black man, but he should be allowed the freedom to make his own decisions regardless of his race, as should we all, and he shouldn't be called names because of the choices he makes.
Choc ice, Bounty bars etc, are harmless words on the surface, unlike the N-word, which is well established as a racial slur. However, the use of these words in everyday parlance belies their hurtful and, yes, racial, meaning when applied to a person who is accused of breaking the unwritten code of racial solidarity. In some ways, these words have become the new N-word.
انسخ الكود التالى و ضعه فى موقعك او مدونتك.