Racial slurs, anti-Semitism, homophobia...it's a thought process, a system of opinions, beliefs and if you so wish to exercise your freedom of speech even though it's against the law to do so (most of the time) then you take a word and use that word to amplify that belief. That word is nothing without the intent but the word can became something powerful simply because of the intent. Most words only truly encapsulate an offensive meaning if those using it are aiming to offend.
The intent is key.
With anti-Semitic abuse, you have to be either very stupid or uneducated and unaware of the implications of what you're saying or you know exactly what you're doing and you simply don't care. You're anti-Semitic before the words are vocalised and you're anti-Semtiic after you've screamed something out at a football match with the intention of giving yourself misplaced pride and antagonistic pleasure. It's in the eyes of the person saying it, you can see the hatred in their face, their aggression or their mocking expressions. Any given word accompanying their spite can be instantly offensive. Words with historical relevance more so. Some words can't be openly spoken even if used for reference because of the weight of history they carry. But even these words can be reclaimed.
This is where opinions (with regards to Spurs and Yid) are confused for some whilst others are certain with absolute conviction.
Three Tottenham supporters have been charged for chanting/singing the word Yid. The word is considered anti-Semitic. The three supporters, much like thousands of others, have chanted this since the late 70s as a call to arms. They've sang the word with pride, its connotations football related and sang directly about themselves and others around them and not sang in the direction of another group with the sole purpose to offend or incite. They've been arrested and charged for calling themselves Yids. They've been arrested for being proud and defiant.
If any of them or any other supporter for that matter is over zealous and chants something at a police officer, gets in their face, they'll get nicked because of aggressive behaviour rather than anything else. If you're warned not to repeat the word and yet hundreds/thousands of others are chanting it around the ground and you say it again and get arrested - then why not get arrested the first time you say it? It's either illegal to chant or it's not. Either arrest everyone or no-none.
Where is the transparency?
With the ambiguity the police and footballing authorities are immersing themselves in, it seems their only objective is to hand pick supporters saying the word to appease some political statement, a directive from above, that something is being done, even though actual racist/anti-Semitic abuse is pushed out of the limelight to make way for something that doesn't encourage anti-social behaviour but in fact is there to remind those that are anti-Semitic that they'll never win. It's only deemed anti-social if you're surrounded by police officers and men video-recording supporters because you're made to feel like you're not part of society, guilty by association for being a football supporter.
I've written about this so many times, so have others, so how many times are we going to repeat the discussion? There's no point in breaking down the semantics once more, we know the history of the word and why it came to be associated with THFC. Why we embraced it and gave it a new meaning. The issue now is something altogether different.
Freedom of speech is a tricky subject to cover but out-right abusive behaviour and incitement is unlawful. But since when do we get nicked for using a word that might have anti-Semitic connotations outside of the very public and known context that presides within Tottenham Hotspur and their fanbase, something that has been at the forefront of our vocal support for over three decades?
By calling ourselves Yids are we inciting anti-Semitic abuse? Shouldn't the more prominent question be aimed at the people that are actually anti-Semitic?
If the ambiguity is misplaced from our perspective, then the law is simply to arrest anyone saying words that are considered illegal, ignoring context and intent. A word that can cause offence is not permitted even if it's being used in the polar opposite way.
Spurs fans will continue to be arrested and made examples of because of our reluctance to stop using it as a collective. In isolation, some fans have already stopped in fear. Those that continue in isolation run the risk of being arrested. That appears to be the strategy at play.
Why do we as a society always seek to entertain the superfluous elements of the problems at hand?
If rival fans sing songs about Hitler and Jews without mentioning Hitler even though it's wrong you'd be hard pressed to get any arrests even though the intent is just as bad as screaming 'you f**ing yid' at someone. Yet that element is for the most part ignored and the ones targeted are simply pawns in a game of chess that is only being played by one side. Them, not us.