Dan Louw: There is a certain hypocrisy over Tottenham's use of the 'Y-word'... but intent is the key

We do not suggest that anyone who uses the word, whether Spurs fans or not, should necessarily be prosecuted

It has been a weird couple of weeks to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan. It started with Peter Herbert, of the the Society of Black Lawyers, and the issue of whether people are going to be arrested for saying the "Y word", as it is now called.

Spurs fans have been defiant, but there is slightly less use of the "Y word" at White Hart Lane now. Supporters at White Hart Lane do feel annoyed by the criticism, as they feel they have been tarred by the same brush when actually the problem is not with us, as we saw twice last week.

It is slightly ironic that we should be the victims of actual violent racism on Thursday and then for the West Ham fans to effectively try to exploit that on Sunday. A small number of West Ham fans have sung anti-Semitic songs for some time but Sunday was a lot worse than I've ever seen or heard it before.

I sit on The Shelf near the Park Lane, where the away fans are. There were a lot of West Ham fans singing "Viva Lazio", which is sick but not necessarily racist. Personally, I didn't hear anything about Adolf Hitler or any hissing. But as I was walking down Tottenham High Road towards the ground, four West Ham fans all called me a "f**king yiddo". I continued walking, I looked at them, one of them told me to "f**k off". There was that kind of edginess, which I think is coming back into football a little bit at the moment.

Our defence mechanism against all this is to call ourselves "Yids" and to reclaim the word. We do not suggest that anyone who uses the word, whether Spurs fans or not, should necessarily be prosecuted. We use it as a badge of honour. We do not have anything else to call ourselves.

But I do feel quite appalled that I am trying to defend its use. It is not a principle which I would die for. And especially when David Baddiel says that he is offended by it, as a Jew he has every right to speak out. Herbert, on the other hand, I'm not sure is a credible voice. He is potentially alienating football fans, the very people he is trying to reach.I suppose there is a certain hypocrisy at the heart of what Spurs fans are doing and saying. But intent is the key here. If the word is used to abuse someone then that is completely different from using it to defend ourselves.

Does our use of it perpetuate the use by other fans? Yes it probably does. To an extent the West Ham and Chelsea fans who use it would see their use as legitimised by ours. It is a vicious circle.

The way football fans work, football grounds are very angry, intense, negative places, where you hear things which are not acceptable in wider society.

This country's way of dealing with racism has been to shame and isolate. Not just to convey it is not OK but that it will have negative repercussions socially. It has been quite an effective tactic. This is the Football Association's opportunity to do something Uefa have failed to do. An example should somehow be made of people who chant racist abuse.

Dan Louw is a Tottenham Hotspur season-ticket holder and creator of the YouTube series 'Away Days' For the latest Awat Day, click here.

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup