Am I about to wade into #Yidgate? Well, sort of. As a Spurs fan I know both sides of this argument only too well.
Spurs fans hearts are in the right place with reclaiming of it but it does keep the word in circulation and it does de-sensitise what can be construed as a racial slur.
I am not an uneducated football thug, and I’m certainly not a racist. I know the antisemitic history and the history of the word. I would like this post to show for both sides of the argument, the reasons Spurs fans sing the Y-word.
I do know football and I know how passionately older Spurs fans feel about their reclamation of a word that was used to abuse them, Spurs fans wear it so proudly because of this, back in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s they considered this a victory over the other London clubs like Chelsea who hissed at Spurs fans to mimic the sound of gas chambers, the older generation count it as the thing that set them apart, made us rise above the racial slurs. THEY made it their own.
When they sing ‘Jermaine Defoe, he’s a Yiddo’ on the terraces they are exalting him for his contribution to a jewish team.
I implore people who jump to conclusion that we’re being racist to take my argument on board. Spurs fans would NEVER refer to jewish people with this word, no more that we would use the n-word or the P-word, it is used exclusively at football matches and it has history behind it, it would NOT be taken away from the ground and said to someone on the street.
I want to also mention the history of how words mutate as language usage across the generations changes the former meanings of words.
Take the word ‘gay’ for example. It was once illegal to be gay.
The Oxford English dictionary added a fourth meaning to the word gay last year:
4 informal, often offensive foolish, stupid, or unimpressive:
“he thinks the obsession with celebrity is totally gay”
Now where this might not be the most high-brow example of the meaning of a word mutating, although it is quite fitting, as it also applies to a certain group who had been marginalised terribly in the past and it also was brought into common usage by a wider group and made their own, thus the meaning changed. I am applying this word mutating theory to yid, there is never any menace in why Spurs fans sing it.
I’d like to highlight a section from the link at the bottom of this page from the Jewish Chronicler he also uses the gay/queer reference.
“Because that’s the real issue here. Not all north London Jews support Spurs (I believe there’s an upstart team nearby). And not all Spurs fans are Jewish. But a significant proportion are. And we — again, not all of us, but a significant proportion – like to call ourselves the Yid Army, and we like to call our players Yiddos.
It’s a reclamation of language. That means it’s just not an insult when we say it, any more than when a gay man calls himself a queer.
This isn’t an issue of linguistic subtlety. When a skinhead waving a swastika spits “Yiddo” at a passing Jew, it’s racist. As it is when Chelsea fans hiss at Spurs fans, mocking the gas chambers — and which Chelsea FC simply ignores.”
I will say however that now, in 2013 we should take a look at whether it is wholly appropriate for young’uns to be chanting “YIDDO” on the terraces, it does need looking at and I do welcome the poll that the board at Spurs is going to be conducting as then we’ll get a definitive answer as to what is right for us to chant.
In the article by David Baddiel in the Guardian, this particularly caught my eye
“Many Chelsea fans who I have challenged feel they are justified because “the Yids is what Spurs call themselves”.
– He needs to understand that what CHELSEA fans and what SPURS fans use this word for are different. Just because Chelsea use it in this fashion doesn’t mean it should come back on Spurs fans 10 fold and brand us advocates of racism. He has encountered that racism from OTHER Chelsea fans, the club he chooses to support and if the boot was on the other foot I doubt highly that Spurs fans would turn on their own.
I understand that keeping the word in usage is deemed offensive to some and as I’ve mentioned above, we should have a review.
Personally, I’d much rather be singing chants about what a bunch of cunts Chelsea and West Ham are, THEY are the ones who started using racist chants at us.
David Cameron wading in hasn’t really done anyone any favours, nobody wants that ponce piping up, it just invites a load of Daily Mail reading block-heads saying things that are borderline EDL.
Like I said, I’d rather sing songs about AVB at Spurs matches and you will never beat my favourite thing we used to sing:
“he’s got no hair
We don’t care
Martin, Martin Jol”
Just don’t label Spurs fans as uneducated racists, we are certainly rough around the edges but racists we are not. I will always dispute that. To me the fault lies at the doors of the other London clubs who capitalise on our use of it, they are the racists, not us.