If many ever wondered why does often appear the majority of black or Afro players are more gifted with athleticism and creativity than everyone else, here’s why. Sadly, this is all deeply rooted in racism and colorism. However, many African-American players were forced to be creative and better than their counterparts. Sadly, because these players literally played by different rules.
“Afro-Brazilian players throughout the amateur era reiterated this need to whiten their appearance both physically and culturally in order to integrate into white-dominated clubs,” according to Zachary R. Bigalke.” Arthur Friedenreich, despite the doors opened by his lineage, still felt the need to highlight his whiteness at every turn. Like Carregal, Friedenreich lived in the era between white and black. [Their] career would be defined both by his skill and by his skin color.”
Racism Playing in Brazil’s Favor
Now, while many agree this isn’t fair in the long run. Yet, this still forced players to be far more exceptional than their counterparts when it comes to dribbling. The biggest component while playing soccer is being able to move with the ball quickie and nimbly through defenses. Years of being forced to do so at a high level unless they would physically get hurt. Naturally, this left a mark on younger generations.
Through all of the adversity and unfairness, it’s helped leave a gap between the two cultures. In fact, it’s given the Afro players an advantage and stepped up going forward. Never thought I’d say this but for once racism actually played in minorities’ favor.
In conclusion, early trendsetters like Arthur Friedenreich and Francisco Carregal paved the way for the future generations of Afro-Brazilian soccer players. Not to mention, the millions of racial democracy theories that originate with these two as well. The myth came to pervade both sports and society in Brazil.