This is a great read from the Washington Post on the roots of racism in Honduras, which I definitely saw during my time there. There were occasions when I asked someone if they were part Garifuna - the Afro-Hondurans who live along the Caribbean coast - only to see such questions were perceived as a grand insult.
One woman pulled me aside after I asked and confirmed quietly that yes, she was part Garifuna, but quickly added "I don't like the blacks." Another laughed nervously and said no, she was just from an area of the country where they didn't use chlorine in the water and as a result, people's skin was darker.
You tend to think of poverty as the great leveller in a country like Honduras, whose citizens certainly have much bigger things to worry about than the colour of a neighbour's skin. But no. White people against brown people. Brown people against darker brown people. What a world we live in.
Thank you to Joshua Nadel for putting some history around the mystery. Tragic how racism always finds its way through.
In 2011, a number of incidents surrounding soccer and racism grabbed international headlines (most notably the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand and Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra affairs). Outside of the limelight of most of the international press, Afro-Honduran players voiced their own charges to end racial discrimination. Osman Chávez, then a starting center back for los Catrachos (as the Honduran national team is sometimes called) and many of his teammates decided to boycott the national media as part of a campaign called “journalism without discrimination.” Racist comments on newspaper webpages appeared regularly, which disparaged him and many others on the team. He could understand racism in Poland, where he played professionally, as partly stemming from not seeing many people of color. But “in your own country, brother, where you were born,” he said, “it is intolerable, you just can’t fit that in your mind.” In October of that year, Johnny Palacios, also at the time a national team player, accused a referee in the Honduran professional league of racially abusing him during a game.