I think Liverpool, both as a city and a football club, had no more or no less of a racist element than any other. I think for the most part, alot of people joining in the chants at the time simply may not have realised the implications of their words, and may have been simply joining in with the chief idiots, possibly because they were fearful of what would happen if they didn't, or maybe even because they thought it was 'normal'. I think, as maligned as political correctness is, we have that to thank for, partly at least, making people understand that certain behaviour is totally unacceptable, and has no part in a decent society.
As great as the success was in the 70's and 80's, and as great a time as many supporters had then, I'm glad I'm a supporter now, and not back in those days. I've never heard racist abuse at Anfield, or any other game for that matter, and for that I am grateful. Of the many stadia improvements made since the 90's, the fact that racism is now abhorrent in football grounds has to be the most pleasing development.
I was only 7 when Barnes signed (and he was my biggest hero growing up) so I can't really remember any of the racism that went on, to me Barnes was just a genius, I didn't realise he was a trailblaizer or a revlutionary or anything like that. I think most kids growing up today will see Henry in the same light, and it's good that it isn't even an issue about his colour (except the Aragones incident). I still think there are problems though, in all levels of football. Whilst it would now be unimaginable that a black player might be held back in England because of his colour, it's also sad to see that their are only a handful of Asian players. Also the number of 'non-white' officials, administrators and coaches in the game must also be of concern. I do think things are going in the right direction though, and I'd like to think that, within my lifetime, the issue of equal opportunities could be consigned to the history books as it will be the norm (maybe a bit optimistic, but one can hope), in the western world at least.
As for the question of black players in Italy and Germany. Matteo Ferrari and Fabio Liverani have both played for Italy in the last few years, while George Asamoah has played for Germany. I would not necessarily make the equasion that more black players in a national team means that nation is more tolerant. France and Holland are two of the most multicultural countries in Europe, and this is reflected in their respective National teams. However their is much racism in Holland, ask Ruud Gullit and Rijkard about the abuse they used to get, and lets not forget that France came close to electing Le Pen a few years back, a man who has close ties to the BNP, and represents a party akin to the National Front in France.