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Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng has called for schools to include “integral” anti-racism lessons as part of their curriculums as he feels that “no child in this world is born a racist”.
The centre-back's comments come in the wake of ongoing unrest in the US, with the majority of major cities across the country seeing protesters take to the streets following the death of African-American citizen George Floyd.
Racism is prevalent in the football world too, with countless incidents having taken place over the years and prompting the establishment of organisations such as Kick It Out and various other initiatives aimed at eradicating discrimination in the sport.
Boateng, however, feels that is not enough, and that children should be taught from a young age that harbouring hatred for people based on the colour of their skin is down to a lack of education.
“Everything begins with the education of children,” the Germany international told DW. “That’s the most important thing. No child in this world is born a racist. It's up to the parents and what they tell their children.
“The worst thing that could happen would be for my children to experience such things. It’s vital that we teach them that racism isn’t acceptable and that, should they see someone being abused, they should defend them and speak up.
“That has to start in school. It has to be an integral part of the curriculum. Only in that way can we make progress.”
Asked to comment on various pieces of footage being circulated from the mass protests in the US, Boateng said: “The images shock me. Some of the things on social media at the moment are brutal. And unfortunately, the protests are also taking on a difficult form.
“Nevertheless, the case of George Floyd shows us just how widespread racism against black people is in America, and the role racial profiling plays. I find it extremely upsetting because I’m often in America myself and I like the country and the culture a lot.
“But it’s nothing new; it’s something which is omnipresent. Racism is found everywhere, but it is extreme in the USA.
“I read a good quote recently: It’s as if racism is a dark room and, every now and then, someone turns the light on and everything is revealed.
“When you think how much Afro-Americans have done for the image and culture of the United States, I find it inexplicable. And I’m only thinking of sport, fashion and music. Barack Obama as President was also a defining figure.”
With the Bundesliga having become the first of Europe's top leagues to return to action following the Covid-19-enforced suspension, players have been given a platform to air their support in the fight against racism.
Indeed, players such as Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed t-shirts with the words 'Justice for George Floyd' written on them, while MarcusThuram took a Colin Kaepernick-style knee.
Boateng does, however,feelthat more white footballers could do more to aid the cause.
“Not every white athlete who doesn’t speak out right now is a racist. Of course not,” he said. “When I watch videos of demonstrations, I see people of all skin colours. But of course it would be desirable if they used their fame to support this cause.
“Many do, but I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”