Tackling football race hate in memory of Stephen Lawrence
University of Brighton researcher Mark Doidge will join Dr Neville Lawrence OBE and footballer Anton Ferdinand at an event tied to Stephen Lawrence Day.
Stephen Lawrence Day is observed each year on 22 April to mark the anniversary of the murder of the young black student by a racist gang in London in 1993. Dr Doidge will be part of an online event on 26 April from 2.30pm via Zoom, looking particularly at racism and hate crime in the world of football.
Dr Doidge has spent many years examining online discourses to identify flashpoints for expressions of hate driven by racism, sexism and sectarianism, as well as strategies that social media companies, policymakers and campaigners can then use to tackle them.
His current ongoing project Tackling Online Hate in Football – in partnership with Dublin City University, Leeds Beckett, Ulster and Sheffield Hallam – has delved into online commentary around the European Football Championships going back to 2008, and developed educational workshops, fresh policies and specific machine learning procedures to identify and combat online hate.
Dr Doidge, Principal Research Fellow in the School of Sport and Health Sciences at University of Brighton, said: “Stephen Lawrence had a profound effect on me, even as a white kid growing up in Devon. He was three days older than me, and was murdered on my parents’ wedding anniversary. The tragedy was compounded by the profound injustice of our police and legal system.
“Stephen’s death was a symbol of the systemic racism in our society. Racism that was manifesting itself in other areas of society – like football. I connected the monkey chants I heard at football to Stephen’s death, as showing the logical consequence of dehumanising whole groups of people. Football is one area where conversations about racism are taking place – for good reason.“
The event on 26 April will be opened by Dr Neville Lawrence OBE and, in addition to Dr Doidge, attendees will hear from:
- Paul Giannasi – UK Police Hate Crime Policy Lead;
- Tracy Mesmain – Crown Prosecutor for the CPS;
- Preeti Shetty – CEO of Upshot System and Director at Brentford FC;
- Anton Ferdinand – former professional player for West Ham United and others.
There will be a Q&A session to encourage candid discussions of issues around racism and hate crime in football, and how they relate to the wider work of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. The event is organised by the campaign Racism Awareness and Valuing Cultures in collaboration with Kingston Race and Equalities Council.