Skip to Content
Red Card: Soccer and Racism cover image

Red Card: Soccer and Racism 2007


Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by Rodolfo Munoz
Directed by Rodolfo Munoz
DVD, color, 93 min., Spanish/English

Sr. High - Adult
South American Studies, Sports, Race, Sociology

Date Entered: 01/12/2010

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Red Card: Soccer and Racism “tells the story of Afro-Ecuadorian soccer player, Agustin “El Tin” Delgado. Arguably the best soccer player in the Ecuadorian national team, Delgado exposes the deep racial divide in this multiracial country and argues that Black Ecuadorians have been penalized both on the soccer field and in everyday life.” Third World Newsreel summary

In Ecuador, The black community is a small one in relation to the general population, which consists of white/mestizos and indigenous peoples. It is a community that has struggled against an endemic racism which has left it perhaps the poorest in Ecuador. And, it seems, enormous success in the public domain does not necessarily buy you an escape from the effects of negative stereotyping. Today in Ecuador, a South American nation of 12.1 million people with a land area about the size of Colorado, employers advertise for job applicants with a "good appearance," a euphemism for White or European characteristics. Landlords openly reject applications from Blacks looking for housing in middle-class areas. In Ecuador, you can see Whites in blackface on television and logos of major companies featuring caricatures of Blacks designed to look more like monkeys than humans.

What is revealing here is that the racial divide is endemic across many countries. Stories, incidents and language that demean Black and indigenous people are an open part of Ecuadorian popular culture as illustrated by Agustin Delgado. He is the most visible Black Ecuadorian who was first to qualify for the World Cup in 2002. Star player Augustin Delgado, who has started a foundation that helps educate Black children, broke another barrier when he was hired as a celebrity spokesman for an electronics firm's advertising campaign. In comparison to other Black television images, an articulate athlete is a major improvement. But he is not naïve about the current racial divide in his country. Black Ecuadorians are putting their government and fellow citizens on notice that change is on the way. As Augustin tells it: "We want them to know that we are human beings that have dignity, that we are capable of achieving anything." Recommended