Racist fans who threw bananas at black players in 70s now hide on social media & FA needs to tackle it says Robson-Kanu

FOR Black History Month, The Sun is celebrating the achievements of black figures in British life, from politics to sport and entertainment.

Here Welsh international and Premier League footballer Thomas Hal Robson-Kanu, 32, writes on why a lot still needs to be done to kick out racism in the beautiful game.

MY dad Rechi came from Nigeria to London in his late teens to train as a lawyer, and his philosophy around racism and understanding has always guided me.

He showed me by example that racism is a form of discrimination, a judgement based on a lack of education.

Racist comments, taunts and jokes say far more about the discriminator than the discriminated. It’s up to all of us to show understanding at the same time as celebrate the increasing cultural, religious and racial diversity in society.

The England my dad came to in the 1970s was a very different place to what it is now.

I know from him and some of the older footballers I played with when I was starting my career how bad racism was back then – the prejudice, throwing bananas at black footballers, you name it. It was horrific.

I’m glad to say I haven’t experienced anything on that level, but when I have been exposed to racism, I’ve simply refused to acknowledge it, and certainly never let it stand in the way of my career or my positivity. We all have that choice.

I grew up mixing with a wide range of races and cultures, both at school, on the pitch and also at home.

My mum is English, but my gran is Welsh, and I’ve always loved that coming together of different heritages and backgrounds. It’s something to celebrate, and I do believe we’ve made huge advances.

But as we all saw after the three young black players missed their penalties for England against Italy in the Euros final this summer, racism very much still exists, and shouldn’t be tolerated.

Social media reduces accountability because racists can hide. There simply aren’t the repercussions there needed to stop this, and within football that should come from higher up, via the FA, EUFA, and the Premiership.

If this was your son or daughter being attacked by hiding cowards, how would you feel? Somebody needs to take ownership of this problem, and deal with it.

Black History Month is a way to remind ourselves of where we’ve been, but also where we’re going. Remember that "history" is just that – his story. It’s up to us who we listen to, how we interpret events, what we celebrate or condone.

If this was your son or daughter being attacked by hiding cowards, how would you feel? Somebody needs to take ownership of this problem

The recent toppling of statues of slave traders, renaming organisations linked to slavery, it’s correct that these things have happened as we reinterpret what happened.

Growing awareness, education and acceptance are the ways forward.

But while it’s great to have October as a focus, we need to make sure these conversations happen year-round. We need to develop and grow towards not just accepting all races and cultures, but celebrating our diversity to create a new legacy for our children.

The business my dad and I run – The Turmeric Co. – is black-owned and employs people of all races, sourcing ingredients from Africa, with production in the UK.

I hope that by creating organisations like ours we can champion an increased understanding and awareness of all our backgrounds and create a better world for all of us.

The Turmeric Co. joined the boycott of social media in April and May along with a number of Premier League clubs in reaction to abuse directed at Anthony Martial, Trent Alexander Arnold, Marcus Rashford, Reece James and Sadio Mane. We can all do our bit to change the world.

This is why I strongly support Black History Month, and The Sun championing awareness of all these issues. Together we really can kick it out.

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