He spent the first dozen years of his life in Jamaica before moving to the UK with his family in 1975. Six years later he was a professional footballer, distinguishing himself for Watford, Liverpool and England, and in the process becoming this country's most prominent Black player.
Barnes is now an articulate and captivating social commentator on a broad range of issues, and in ‘The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism’ he tackles head-on the issues surrounding prejudice with his trademark intelligence and authority.
By vividly evoking his personal experiences, and holding a mirror to this country's past, present and future, Barnes provides a powerful and moving testimony. He wants readers to have a more honest conversation about racism in Britain.
In his new book he argues that we focus too much on sensational incidents — football fans racially abusing Black players, for example — at the expense of the bigger picture. “Football,” he writes, “can do nothing about getting rid of racism until we get rid of racism in society generally.”
Racism in society is not about divisions between races. It is about a division between elites and non-elites, he argues.
“The only way to truly destroy racism is to destroy capitalism,” he says. “And the only way to achieve true equality for all is by creating a socialist society, and that’s not about to happen just yet.”
‘The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism’ will help to inform and advance the global conversation around society's ongoing battle with the awful stain of prejudice.