Lets put it this way. Mario Balotelli's return to the Serie has been nothing short of eventful. Leading AC Milan over Udinese with a delightful brace on debut to boost his club towards securing their CL spot. As desirable as that was, here is a reminder why Benito Mussolini's ghost lives on in much of Italy.
This is AC Milan, as urbane and refined a setting as one can get, and yet Silvio Berlusconi's son, Paolo and a VP of the club thinks nothing of calling Mario Balotelli "il negretto di famiglia" or the "family's little nig*er". This evokes the pejorative "house nig*er" and their fealty to the white slavers. Samuel Jackson played one to the hilt in Django Unchained.
The remark gathers more significance as it was made at a rally for Silvio Berlusconi's right wing People of Freedom Party (PdL) as Italy gears up for the national elections later this month. This is what Paolo Berlusconi said of Balotelli, "And now let's go and watch the little nig*er of the family, the crazy head. All the young ladies are invited as well - you can even have a chance to meet the president." (referring to Silvio Berlusconi) as some in the audience snigger.
This is the sort of election rhetoric keeps the Lega Nord, the anti immigrant, northern nationalist party supporting a PdL led coalition. As many as four Lega Nord politicians became ministers in the Berlusconi government after the 2008 elections in a quid pro quo. Balotelli is now political football even as just a month before Kevin Prince Boateng led Milan off the pitch in a widely praised move after Pro Patria fans started heaping racist abuse at him.
Racism and Balotelli go hand in hand as seen last year in the 2012 Euro when Croatian and Spanish fans targeted him with abuse and one fan even threw a banana leading to UEFA imposing slap on the wrist fines on those respective federations. But the worst offenders are fellow Italians as this distasteful cartoon amply proves, one in a series of never ending offenses. This is the reality that Balotelli came back to but you would never expect to be blindsided by those running the club. You didn't even have to dress up Ali G or Borat for this one.