Anichebe talks to Anthony Walker Foundation about racism

Monday, 27 July, 2020 4comments  |  Jump to last

In a special edition of the Official Everton Podcast, Victor Anichebe and Ben Osu of the Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF) shared their experiences as black men growing up in Liverpool.

The BBC One drama Anthony, to be broadcast at 8.30pm on Monday, will revisit the murder of 18-year-old Anthony in Huyton 15 years ago, and imagine the life he could have had.

Former Everton striker Anichebe was 17 at the time of Anthony's death and profoundly affected by the racially-motivated killing.

He told Osu, Strategy Lead of the AWF, about his own encounters with racism after moving with his parents from Nigeria to England, “being the only black person in class” and how growing up in Blundell Sands were “there were not many black families” living around him.

Anichebe also talked about the subtle racism he faced growing up when he would would ask to “go home” or “when are you going home?” and how as a child he innocently brushed it off but it impacting him as he got older. He also shared how horrified he was at the encounters his mum, who worked as a nurse in the region, suffered doing her job helping people.

When asked about racism in football Anichebe called for more opportunities across the game for black people beyond coaching and questioned whether former black players would get the opportunities at the highest level.

Both Victor Anichebe and Ben Osu feel that education is the best method engaging people on the topic of racism.

Listen to Anichebe and Osu in this special edition of the Official Everton Podcast below or by clicking here.


Reader Comments (4)

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Kev Jones
1 Posted 28/07/2020 at 18:22:03
Victor is no Everton legend but what he says speaks to what it can be like when you are not felt to be ‘one of us'.

Although from a ‘posh' part of Liverpool, as he puts it and viewing himself as having a relatively privileged life as a kid, he recalls the familiar everyday drip drip drip of racist remarks, the tired refrain of ‘go back home'.

This was meant in the sense of both back to Nigeria and when at some of his friends houses their parents would ask why they had brought ‘a black boy' into their home. There is an almost funny, except that its true, instance of the police being called because he and his friend had simply looked into a jewellers window. Not to mention the inevitable being pulled over because he is a black guy in a nice car.

He looks back on incidents of racism directed toward him over the years that he had ignored as a way of dealing with them. The Black Lives Matter movement helped him realise that the everyday use of stereotyping and offensive language, funny looks in the street and all, had a bigger impact on than him realised.

Having to deal with the contradictions of having good white friends who made casually racist remarks around him and experienced that white people find it difficult to be called out on racism, he looks to ways of making progress from where we are. He looks to ‘if you know your history' through education as a way of helping people understand black and ethnic minority experience racism and does so with a real humility.

It would be interesting to hear the experience of Everton's other black players growing up in the city. I'll also be watching the documentary on Anthony Walker. Well played Victor.

Peter Gorman
2 Posted 28/07/2020 at 19:12:04
Well, firstly I wouldn't call being told to "go back home" exactly 'subtle racsim', and some enquiries as to his future plans may have been made in all innocence, given that he was born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents.

I recall Stubbsy and a teenage Rooney being subject to similar prejudice in a London estate agents, so it still bothers me that racism is the go-to explanation for anything that happens to anyone from a minority background.

Now class prejudice, that I can relate to.

Sukhdev Sohal
3 Posted 28/07/2020 at 21:27:01
Well played Vic. When will people realise no race is superior to others? Especially the use of the term 'wool' by Everton fans, its almost as if they are more privileged being a scouser than any other race.
Patrick McFarlane
4 Posted 28/07/2020 at 21:49:25
Peter # 2
I'm not sure that those inquiries for his future plans would have been 'innocent' and why do you find it so hard to believe that racism exists in everyday life and therefore it isn't necessarily a go-to explanation, unfortunately, it's a fact of life.

I agree that the working class suffers from similar prejudices but there are ways to escape those prejudices, altering your skin colour is not an option. Educating the children of today may produce a fairer and more tolerant society tomorrow. We have to hope that happens as the ignorance surrounding race is divisive and gives more power to those elites who seek to exploit those powerless below them, who are made up of all races and creeds.

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