Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's all in a word #595

The Highrise can be shockingly politically incorrect, but only if you are Australian, American, British or French, if you are gay, straight or somewhere in between. Actually,  in between cops it the most. Yes, if you are religious, Moslem, Christian or Jewish. We leave the Buddhists alone, but have a good go at Hindus, as we are close to one.

If you are a white picket person, fair game, along with outer suburban types and leftie inner city latte sipping socialists. We don't leave out Camry drivers, or 4wd drivers, or Prius drivers. Don't let us get started on taxi drivers.

But this evening we had a sensible conversation about this matter. We generally agreed on the wrongness, but went on to disagree.

I think bringing a racist comment by 13 girl who probably knew no better to the fore and condemning it was a good thing. I think a careless comment such as McGuire's should be condemned. While neither incident should have happened, when they did, people, especially football goers, but not only them, have learnt some boundaries about what is acceptable to say in public. Ultimately, I think they have done public good.

It is hard to believe the person linked above could have screwed up so badly. While he is an early morning radio person, I can only think one suggestion by a commentator that it being very early might be relevant makes sense on that occasion. Perhaps a touch of the Stefanovics post Logies.

The victim in both cases above was a footballer who has less than obvious Aboriginal heritage. Yet the victim felt hurt, real hurt, in both situations. I never really got the monkey comment against a cricketer and nor do I get the ape comment, but if it is offensive or hurtful to people, why do it?

If  you hurt people by saying offensive things in public, personally I think you are pretty uncivilised, impolite, unmannered, not up to speed with this modern world and frankly, a dinosaur!

PS We don't make fat jokes in the Highrise for good reasons.

PPS I know people who have been very hurt by both subtle and extreme racist comments. Just think before opening your gob.

16 comments:

  1. Hi Andrew,

    One thing I learnt when coming out as myself some 15 years ago is that people are not even aware they are saying anything wrong when they actually are. I guess the reason for this lack of awareness for the potential for hurt from what they say is that they are saying things that would not hurt themselves. In other words, I am saying they are letting themselves say what they believe to be the truth, rather than having the "socially acceptable" filter running.

    cheers,
    Pip

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    1. Hi Pip. Yes, lack of awareness is a problem, and while people can easily say something and not mean to offend, they need to think more carefully about what they say. You can often say the same thing but say it more nicely and keep it socially acceptable. Interesting thought, thank.

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  2. Very nicely put Andrew! My philosophy in life is treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.. It seems to have been working up to now :)

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    1. Grace, mind you, while not in this case, some people really do search very hard for offence.

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  3. Btw...Costa!!! I don't think so Andrew, I actually took some photos of Costa when he was here last month for the garden show, very 'garden gnome' haha! My guy was tall, lean and playing an instrument..sexy much!!

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    1. Grace, it was just the hair and the beard.

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  4. A) guilty of dreadfully non-pc humour at home

    B) agree it was right to bring the girl's comment to people's attention. Not so sure that she deserved the treatment she got. I don't believe she invented the expression ape all by herself, or that she was necessarily old enough to have put her comments in a more considerate context

    C) What Ed said was offensive but again I must plead guilty to often thinking something aloud and having it "come out the wrong way". I don't know exactly what he was thinking but if I had said it, it would have been intended as satire slash humour. Barry Humphries made a nice living thank you very much out of taking something unpleasant to a logical but larger extreme.

    D)Is ape offensive to indigenous people? Yes. I can't say I know "because some of my best friends are Aboriginal" - that would be a load of bootmakers [aka cobblers]. I only know it is offensive because I am interested [perhaps more than most] in issues which have affected and continue to affect indigenous Australians. Accompanied by spittle, an ugly face and an aggressive attitude the implication that dark people have evolved little more than apes is common around the world, and commonly used here. I imagine it is only a matter of time before another FKTN line video goes viral on YouTube. All of which is to say the term ape would be used with a perfectly innocent meaning by the average, decent, white Australian, but not every white Australian.

    E)the relevance of "less than obvious Aboriginal heritage" is dependent on context. Did she realise he is indigenous? The significance of the word ape? If so, this strengthens the case against her. If she didn't then she did not intend to use the word in a racist way.
    On the other hand, as many gays know, what is not obvious can still be hurtful [or even threatening]. He might be light skinned but have darker siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, friends etc and want to stamp out this sort of crap to protect them as much as he cares about it for his own sake.

    F) Unfortunately, so many people are so quick to take offense where there is none that there are probably lots of anglo people rolling their eyes and saying "here we go again, crikey, next time I want a black coffee I'll have to ask for a latte with no milk".
    Further, the more professional footballers get away with drunken violence, sexual aggression, drug taking etc, the less likely we are to accept criticism from them - of all people - as valid, which is a pity in itself. The ridiculous proposed [thankfully abandoned] anti discrimination bill the govt wanted to pass just made the word "offense" more a matter of democratic freedom than a matter of politeness or consideration.

    But yes, we should think before we open our gobs, or writing long-winded comments on perfectly reasonable blog posts. Would write more, but must rush off to read the latest Andrew Bolt column.

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    1. FC,
      A, I remember.
      B, yes, probably fairly innocently repeating what she had heard adults say.
      C, everyone slips up at times, but people need to be careful about what they say.
      D, I too don't see it as offensive, as I said, and nor monkey. But clearly they are hurt words to them.
      E,that he is not really dark is not relevant really. If he identifies as Aboriginal, then so be it.
      F, it took me a while to get up to speed with what was wrong with anti discrimination bill, and it just went too far. One can only imagine what The Bolt will have to say.

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  5. Unless your my aging mother who, bless her, doesn't have a racist bone in her body but proceeded to tell me in not so hushed tones, with the vicar present, while recently in hospital that her Doctor was lovely and "b***k as the ace of spades". The vicar and I sort of looked at each other, shuffling our feet.
    But I digress, shouldn't it be common sense that politicians and those in the public eye think even more so before opening their traps? Instead they seem to think that they have free reign to say what they are actually thinking - even though that's the worst possible course of action!

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    1. Craig, I kind of covered that recently about our Indian friend who went on holidays and returned a good bit darker than when he left. R commented on it and I think why not. Your mother commented on the darkness of her doctor's skin. Had he been white and freckled, maybe she would have commented on that. Just an observation and not offensive unless said to his or her face. Our media struggled for a while with racially identify people who committed a criminal act, but finally they have that sorted out, I think. I suspect the same has happened with your media.

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  6. There was some talk, I believe, about the girl being given 'help' which I think was to take the form of awareness training. I wonder will Eddie also be required to undertake the same 'help'?

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    1. Red, harsh perhaps, but what were the parents thinking? How was she brought up?

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  7. Another reason to dislike el presidente. My original reasons were good enough, he's just added more nails to his coffin.

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    1. Fen, sadly Eddie hasn't been boned, not this time anyway.

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  8. McGuire deserves the strongest condemnation by virtue of his high standing in the Football organization and his position in the media. That a person in those positions could make the comment that he did, especially so soon after the event at the MCG, is in inexplicable and reveals the grossest stupidity at the least or a defiant racism at the worst.

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    1. And soundly condemned he has been Victor. It was truly an extraordinary matter.

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