Carlos Kameni was 20 years old when he arrived in Spain in 2004, where he has spent most of his professional life. The Cameroonian quickly caught racism in the stadiums, not only from rival fans but from those of his own club. The foreign goalkeeper who has played the most games in the First Division, now without a team and based on the Costa del Sol, has not only suffered xenophobic incidents on the field but also outside. He is tired of talking about this topic and seeing that there are no changes, although he looks with hope at the movement Black Lives Matter, wishing that it could contribute to putting an end to the “institutional and social racism” that it believes exists in Spain and thus denounces it.
“What happened in the United States and France is the beginning of a reaction, as much as it is very aggressive. We try to change things but it will be difficult. I have always said it: racism is carried inside because the base is education,” he reflects. . A little education is what he asked the racist who, with his son next to him, rebuked him in the Mestalla Stadium, in Valencia, in 2014 during the warm-up prior to the crash.
“The basis is education, but when the father who has to lead by example is rotten inside, what are you going to do. At no time did my father teach me a rage towards the white race for slavery, no. He had not lived it and he thought that was from another era. And that you had to live in a new way. But look, I’m playing and a father does it next to a 10-year-old son. Tomorrow the son will do the same to his colleague at school, argues the doorman.
Kameni believes that he is educated in hatred and that “that’s why whites act like this towards blacks.” “If you don’t talk about it at school and at home the father makes you feel that just because you are white he is superior to a black or he has to treat a black as if he were less than an animal that is not right. that is causing such acts, “stresses the goalkeeper.
Children often copy the behaviors of adults. For better and for worse. As some ball boys did in La Romareda when the Cameroonian had barely been in the league for half a year. Those children joined the simian cry of the cave choir against Kameni during a Zaragoza-Espanyol. After the game, one of those ball boys was still asking for his shirt as if nothing had happened. When he had only been defending the blue and white framework for a season, he raised his voice against a group of Blue and White Brigades that kept insulting him in every game he played at home. “They are the whole game behind me, yelling at me. And that hurts. It can’t be,” the goalkeeper then denounced.
That young archer had to shield himself emotionally so that all this did not affect him. Although he knows that this type of harassment can lead more fragile people to extreme decisions: “Yes, you can commit suicide. Those who do it do not know that this can lead someone to commit suicide or is what they are causing. what I have experienced in my life I am very strong. And I step forward and pull forward. But one who does not have a very strong head can abandon and let his dreams fall for those things. ”
It has been 16 years since he first set foot in Spain. And she doesn’t think things have changed for the better. “Racism does not continue, but has gone from bad to worse. I have been in Spain for 16 years and racism has never been talked about so strongly. And it existed. It means that it has gotten worse lately,” laments Kameni.
“I know that I will continue to suffer racism in many aspects. It happens in everything, in sports and in daily life. The same will continue to happen. Perhaps in a more hidden way. You will come to a place where you will not be given the same possibility of expressing yourself as you are. white and many things: preventing you from entering a store, entering and not being attended to; children who say in front of their parents ‘because we are not here and the black yes’; being at a control at the airport and they do not control the white who is in front and behind but yes you. They are things we live every day and we will continue to live. Thank God I can live it once a season for my work, but imagine the people who are living all day living that on the street ” , the Cameroonian argue.
Response in the field
In the field, the Malaga and Espanyol exporter believes that it would be easier to solve. The answer would not be for him because if a player is the victim of racist screams, he would leave the pitch as Moussa Marega, Porto striker, did at the Vitoria de Guimaraes stadium while rival fans celebrated their march by throwing chairs onto the field. “If the kid leaves alone and the game continues, nothing changes. But if the 22 go and the referee and the local team lose the three points that can lead to changing things,” he reflects, although he points out that the picaresque could generate ” infiltrators. ” In any case, he asks to identify the racists and prohibit them from entering sports venues for five years.
In any case, he is not very optimistic that there will be immediate changes, neither inside nor outside the stadiums: “Difficult, but you have to have hope and keep fighting. You tell how the administrations work. There are many discriminations, but as the majority are white, the minorities They are going to suffer. We have come to this life to suffer. And we will do it until we leave. And the whites enjoy it. ”
George Floyd’s case has generated a worldwide response, expanding the movement Black Lives Matter outside the United States, although for many it is easier to see racism on the other side of the Atlantic than at the police station on the corner: “We know what happens everywhere, but since it has never had such a strong impact here as it does He still thinks it only happens in the other country. ”
Although he is grateful that the focus has been placed on racism, Kameni has spent many years watching media storms and knows that, no matter how much virulence they unload in the first days, they later subside even though the underlying problem persists. “In two weeks we will not talk about it again. We will move on to something else until they kill again, because they will. And that will be on the table again. But what decisions are being made? Nothing, none”, argues the Cameroonian goalkeeper.