Here’s a case for those advocating taking away everybody’s computers, or at least forcing them to take a written test before acceptance into any social network. Italian professional footballer Mario Balotelli, currently a striker for Premier League club Liverpool and the Italian national team, is facing the possibility of disciplinary action and being banned from playing, at least temporarily, for his anti-Semitic and racist Instagram.
Here is what he uploaded. It’s a sophomoric add-on joke, paraphrasing an old anti-racism meme, celebrating the international aspects of Mario the plumber: “Be like Mario, he’s an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.”
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Then some dudes had fun tinkering with the meme until it came out spewing some pretty weak venom: “…Jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”
That’s what we mean by making you take a written test before you get to Instagram. Because on the test you’d probably have to show you understand how awful some jokes appear to others, even jokes you felt were pretty harmless. Then you can be trusted posting shit online.
Balotelli’s initial response to the nasty attacks on his supposed anti-Semitism was to delete the thing, which is a lot like hiring barn door tech support after the horses were deleted.
Then the gifted striker (Are you kidding me? He’s the best, and I’m saying this after he broke my heart in Brazil last summer) also tweeted: “my Mom is Jewish so all of u shut up please.”
Which is true, kind of, his foster Mom, Silvia, is the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors. Which, to me, means that Mario is not an anti-Semite, just a boob.
Then, finally, somebody gave him good advice, and Balotelli uploaded this message:
I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humor. I now understand that out of context may have the opposite effect. Not all Mexicans have moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money. I used a cartoon done by someone else because it was Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry.
It’s OK, Mario, we forgive you. Now, next time you play for the Blue Devils, you move your ass and score like a man, or the forgiveness is revoked. Go, go, before I change my mind.