Per Mertesacker has doubled-down on his claims there is no form of racism within the German set-up and even claimed he has been called names too but it was ‘just a bit of fun’.

Sigh.

Speaking to Bild, the Arsenal Academy chief showed yet again that, as a white, single-nationality man, he has no grasp of how racism works.

In an article on the World Cup squad, the German publication described how there were two camps in the German team – ‘potatoes’ and ‘kanaken’. The first term refers to players who are seen as ‘stereotypically German’ while the latter is a derogatory term for players with immigrant backgrounds, like Ozil.

“I never heard anything about ‘potatoes’ or ‘kanaken’ during my time in the national team,” Mertesacker told Bild. “However I have been called ‘potato’, too.

“It should be understood that it is just a bit of fun, however. There were separate groups within the team during my time, too.

“You simply have to be careful that this does not lead to division, like: ‘you are one team, we are the other’.”

So, Mertesacker never heard about the potato/kanaken division but has been called a potato and knows there are separate groups? How does that work?

His insistence on playing the false equivalency game here is also frustrating. Like when white people (and I’m Irish so I’m so white I’m almost translucent) try to insist being called a ‘cracker’ or similar is the same as the N-word.

It isn’t even close to comparable.

“Everything is possible,” Mertesacker continued about the possibility that Ozil wasn’t just imagining everything. “I am curious as to how the DFB is going to approach the building of a new team.

“I never experienced racism or discrimination during my time, so I was surprised by Mesut’s allegations and that they were so harsh.”

This is a common and tiresome refrain.

Mertesacker didn’t experience any racism so doesn’t think it exists, but why would he? He is a white, single nationality German. They aren’t the ones being affected here even if they are the ones with the most to say on the matter.

Take it slowly

KAZAN, RUSSIA - JUNE 27: Mesut Oezil of Germany looks dejected following his sides defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images, )
KAZAN, RUSSIA – JUNE 27: Mesut Oezil of Germany looks dejected following his sides defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Let’s take this slowly for those who are still struggling with this. I’ve said it all before but I’m going to keep repeating it until these people grasp how it works.

Mesut Ozil charged the DfB with racism, Ilkay Gundogan said he suffered racial abuse. Neither said there was racial abuse within the squad.

Reinhard Grindel, the DfB president even admitted he should have done more to protect Ozil yet many still have an impossible time wrapping their heads around a simple concept – just because you do not see or experience discrimination, it does not mean it does not exist!

Nor can many tell the difference between ‘racism’ and ‘racial abuse’.

KAZAN, RUSSIA - JUNE 27: Mesut Oezil of Germany looks dejected following his sides defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images, )
KAZAN, RUSSIA – JUNE 27: Mesut Oezil of Germany looks dejected following his sides defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images, )

Those who suffer from any sort of discrimination, be it because of their race, gender or sexuality are well-tuned to picking it up, even in its most subtle forms. People like every Bayern Munich puppet who has spoken against Ozil, Per Mertesacker, Toni Kroos, Joachim Low, and Lukas Podolski who also said racism is not a problem in the German camp, don’t experience discrimination so rarely, if ever, notice it because it doesn’t concern them.

This isn’t a hard concept to grasp if people would stop taking it as a personal accusation that they are racists and understand that it is possible for someone to feel discriminated against without you noticing. That doesn’t mean you are actively participating, but please, for the sake of common sense, can we stop telling people from minorities what they feel and experience doesn’t exist or matter.

If Ozil was as mentally weak as his detractors would have us believe, then the events of this summer should have destroyed him. He has been all but abandoned by his home country that worshipped him for years, blamed for their failure at the World Cup despite helping win it for them four years earlier, left to stand on his own as he challenges racism, and had to watch as his character is dissected and devalued in public across the world.

Who wouldn’t crumble under the weight of that?

45-minute read: Mesut Ozil – A casualty of a divided world

But, in fact, Ozil hasn’t crumbled. He has, however, been left swinging by the majority of his national teammates and that must feel like an unbelievably lonely place to be right now.

We don’t all live in the same world. It’s time more people realised that.