As a non-white football writer, especially someone who doesn’t live in or hold a passport of an “advanced” country, I face a staggering amount of racism when it comes to getting my writing published. This isn’t a “woe is me, my writing isn’t good enough so I will cry racism” post, no there is enough proof that the vast majority of online football/sports writing websites commission articles written by white people.
Over the past year I’ve pitched upwards of 40 articles ranging from statistics (which is what I did for the vast majority of my university degree) to opinion pieces. They included the Premier League to the Arabian Gulf League, however out of those 40 odd pitches I only got 5 replies back. All five of them were rejections but all 5 of them actually provided me with good advice on how to improve my writing and to those 5 editors I am very thankful.
However what is disheartening is that over the past few months since I decided to be more vocal about the ridiculous number of rejections I’ve gotten. This has led to me receiving abuse and mockery for speaking out about a subject that effects all writers of colour. To be clear I am not calling individuals racist nor was that my intention but I was calling the industry racist. The fact that I was, and still am, inundated with requests to PROVE my pitches is what is hurtful. If I was white would I be asked this question? Absolutely not. And therein lies the problem. The way many believe racism doesn’t exist in the football blogging/writing universe leads many to live in a bubble and not notice that the majority of writers for their publication just happen to lack melanin.
Pointing out this fact shouldn’t lead me to hear accusations that I was pretending to pitch articles or I am making up the fact. Nor should I hear that I am making light of racism, especially coming from writers I respect – or at least I thought I respected. To say I am trolling simply brings home the point that writers of colour aren’t respected or wanted by publications. They would rather stick with the same status quo than hire someone with a different ethnic background and upbringing.
Over the past few weeks I wrote a stats based article which was met with utter ridicule by white people, however the people of colour who read it actually liked it. Like I said I don’t want to make this about me – this is a problem that runs far deeper than just one person, but I would like to say that when a person of colour talks about the racism they experience it is best that you not say they are making it up. That makes us, and especially me, far more worthless and makes me think why should I even bother pitching or writing.