“Carol Thatcher. Why can’t the BBC be consistent..?”

Iain Dale is asking why the BBC cannot be consistent in its treatment of staff who have offended due to racism.

He writes:

Chris Moyles is Radio 1’s star DJ. Two years ago he was involved, on air, in an incident which led to him being accused of racism. Halle Berry, no less, felt that he was indeed being racist. In December 2008 he faced another allegation, after he asserted that “Polish women make good prostitutes”. On neither occasion did the BBC fire him, let alone discipline him or even make him apologise. On both occasions the BBC said he was “poking fun”.

Today, despite issuing a full apology, Carol Thatcher was fired by the BBC – not disciplined, but fired – from the One Show, after she likened a tennis player’s hair to that of a golliwog. It was a jokey remark made off air in the Green Room. And the tennis player concerned is allegedly the hideously white Andy Murray.

So is saying golliwog racist?

  • cut the bull

    So is saying golliwog racist?
    What a question
    Is saying Orange bastard or Fenian bastard sectarian?

  • willis

    As Iain Dale notes, well paid rude middle class white men can get away with a lot in the BBC.

    Clarkson, Moyles, Brand, Ross. It does rather spoil the stereotype of the BBC as being feminist.

    What about the nonsense ad from the Tories?

    “Under Labour we’ve fallen to 24th in the world at Maths, behind countries like Canada and Korea.”

    Why is it nonsense? Where did we rank under the Tories?

  • cut the pc

    goliwog is not racist. its a word hijacked by the pc brigade. racism and sectarianism depend upon context. this was obviously a joke in a private conversation that should never have been made public.

  • aquifer

    Strange if we are no longer to mention the smiling caricatures of black men that used to adorn jam jars. If you saved them up you could send away for little brooches showing these black people doing lots of different careers and sports. OK such caricatures could be seen as negative today but for children who had never seen a live black person they were not negative first images of black people.

  • kensei

    So is saying golliwog racist?

    Yes.

    I dislike this kind of whataboutery. Perhaps someone should supply the term to the MSM. Chris Moyles is a DJ that caters to a young audience and part of his remit is to skate the line a bit and can credibly claim he didn’t mean it and was going for a shock. He naturally gets more latitude, though as Jonathan Ross found out if you cross the line too much you will bring down a shitstorm on yourself that puts this one in the shade.

    This is someone contributing to a prime time BBC 1 show, is the daughter of a politician and show really know better. For me, it being an off hand comment off air makes it worse as you wouldn’t do it unless you thought it acceptable. Moreover, in the past 2 years the environment has changed. The BBC has taken a beating on a number of fronts and has to seen to take action on things like these.

  • picador

    Carol Thatcher suffers from the misfortune of being Margaret Thatcher’s daughter.

    Putting that aside, she is alleged to have said that tennis player Andy Murray had hair like the aforementioned non-PC cuddly toy (yes, I used to have one, much to the disgust of my parents).

    Fellow presenters Adrian Chiles and Jo Brand are alleged to have taken offence at her remark – it seems relations were less than perfect – and demanded she apologise; which she refused to do (‘the lady’s not for turning’).

    I wasn’t there. I’m unaware of the context or the tone of the remark. But it seems like overkill on the part of the BBC.

  • picador

    A gollywog featured prominently in one of the episodes from the first series of Ricky Gervais’s Extras (which I believe was BBC). I don’t recall any outcry about this.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    kensei

    Surely it depends on the context, whether the intention was racist, or not. Or perhaps every black person who describes his mate as his ‘nigger’ is also racist. It would be a bit difficult to discuss the subject without using the word ‘golliwog’.

    Perhaps there is also prejudice… against Ms Thatcher?

  • USA

    Cut the PC,
    “racism and sectarianism depend upon context”.
    I disagree.
    There can be no context where racist or sectarian language are acceptable. Even when disguised as humor, racist and sectarian remarks merely perpetuate stereotypes, engendering misunderstanding and mistrust.
    Racism and sectarianism must be challanged at every turn, that is the only way to change such mindsets in society.
    In this case (first offence) an apology and some “classes” would probably have been enough. However, given that she is Margaret Thatchers daughter then firing her was probably appropriate 🙂

  • Harry Flashman

    Absurd Ken, simply referring to an object which existed does not make one racist, she said the man’s hair was like a golliwog, now whatever your opinion of golliwogs the bloody things existed, and they did have frizzy hair.

    It is palpable nonsense to try to airbrush history, no I am not saying golliwogs are harmless toys, they might once have been but people now consider them racist and I have a great deal of sympathy for that position but I’m damned if I’m going to go through mental acrobatics trying to pretend that there was never any such thing as golliwogs, what, are we living in 1930’s Soviet Union now or something?

    Carol Thatcher’s mother is entirely and utterly irrelevant to the issue.

    As for the rank stinking hypocrisy of Jo Brand, who herself on the BBC jokingly suggested sending excrement through the post to people who belong to a perfectly legal political party, calling on Thatcher to be sacked, well my head is about to explode at the insanity of it all.

    Just kill off the BBC already, they are long past any useful function.

  • Harry Flashman

    “…and some “classes” ”

    Ah yes, send her off to be ‘re-educated’, the classic tool of the Red fascists.

  • USA

    Harry Drunkman,
    I simply meant a class or two on “respecting diversity” or something in the area of “race relations”. No need burst a blood vessel.

  • It looks to me as though CT was using the Golliwog solely as a descriptive reference to the state of a person’s hair. I would be interested to know if the tennis player concerned was black or white. If the tennis player is Andy Murray then I think she has been treated very unfairly.

    I suspect we will see other public figures trip up in this way in the future.

  • cut the bull

    goliwog is not racist. its a word hijacked by the pc brigade. racism and sectarianism depend upon context. this was obviously a joke in a private conversation that should never have been made public.

    Posted by cut the pc on Feb 04, 2009 @ 12:13 AM

    It is a racist term racism and sectarianism are wrong and its not to use racist terminology in private conversations and I’m glad this was made public. The it’s not racist but argument does nothing for me

  • Dec

    It looks to me as though CT was using the Golliwog solely as a descriptive reference to the state of a person’s hair. I would be interested to know if the tennis player concerned was black or white. If the tennis player is Andy Murray then I think she has been treated very unfairly.

    And if she’d said “Andy Murray has hair like a nigger“, that would be perfectly acceptable? (So long as Andy Murray’s white).

  • cynic

    “He naturally gets more latitude”

    …. ah so its ok to use such terms with young people then! Isnt that ageist?

    The issue here is clear. She was set up here and who leaked it?

    There is a simple lesson here. We should all watch the One Show very carefully from now on and at teh slightest hint of any errors mistakes innuendo we should complain to the BBC.

  • kensei

    BG

    You are right in that context can mattter in circumstances like that but if your context is the middle of the blimmin’ BBC I can see how it could possibly be a good idea. And if she just offended a load of people with it then she’s on shaky ground

    HF

    They did exist. So do monkeys. It does nto necessarily follow taht comparing someone to the latter is a good idea.

    Also see Dec’s excellent point.

    Best comment on the Guardian website? “I blame the parents” 🙂

  • Ms Wiz

    Would she have said it if there had been a black person in the room? As Kensei said, using that kind of language in a casual manner backstage in a TV studio does indeed make it worse ‘cos you wouldn’t do it if you thought it acceptable.

    And a word of advice to those who think the term acceptable. Saying racist, sectarian and homophobic comments may be the norm in a socially backward place like NI, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it in other parts of the UK, specifically the ones 20 years ahead of here.

  • Ms Wiz

    *sorry that should be ‘unless you thought it acceptable’.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    So we’ve had words Paki, Raghead, Golliwog etc…in the spotlight recently.

    Some people are offended by them, other folk see them as quite harmless descriptive words!

  • Brian Walker

    If the reference was to Andy Murray, the ban is bonkers. Mind you, Moyle has cleaned up his “wit” – a bit. Two years is a long time in broadcasting.
    Too many, the BBC seems arrogant. In fact, it has always been very nervous, corporately.

  • Out! Out!Out!

    “Carol Thatcher’s mother is entirely and utterly irrelevant to the issue. ”

    You think she was hired her for her looks then fired her ‘humour’? Carol Thatcher is as much a dinosaur as the rest of that tainted clan, she should never have been on TV in the first place.

  • lurker

    You can still buy goolliwog dolls in many shops in Belfast and Armagh, that I know of. That’s bad taste, but is it as bad to use the doll as analogy for a white boy’s hair? Of course not.

    Had she used one of the common pejorative terms for a person of African extraction, that would be different, but a golliwog is a doll, not a person.

    Carol will know now that she has to watch her language in the paranoid environment of a BBC green room, and her experience will be a lesson in similar caution to the rest of us who find ourselves in green rooms there too, from time to time.

  • I take it Prince Charles will now be banned from the BBC for calling an Asian man Sooty, on the grounds that I am offended by that.
    Harry should also be banned for using the term Paki.

  • Ms Wiz

    Yes a golliwog is a doll but over time it came to mean something else.

    No one except racists and pensioners would use it today to describe a person, whether that person was black, white or otherwise.

  • Dec

    Had she used one of the common pejorative terms for a person of African extraction, that would be different, but a golliwog is a doll, not a person.

    Originally it was (presumably you find the Black & White Minstrel Show equally harmless)but almost immediately after it’s introduction, the name was used as a racial insult – hence ‘Wog’. It’s odd how the British tend to get agitated when they discover teachers and policemen are in the BNP, but seem to think that the 3rd in line to the Throne calling a colleague ‘Paki’ on camera is a harmless prank.

  • Dec, I am with you part of the way. I agree with you on Harry. I think terms like Paki and Sooty are appalling.
    I hope I didn’t sound above as if I was approving those terms, I don’t. I just ask that the BBC be consistent.

    I have also had to endure terms like Paddy and Leprechaun, and though they annoy me, I would not seek to have the users of these terms sacked.

    Is it racist to describe a white man as looking like a golliwog? I suppose there are degrees. The greater offence would be in taking the golliwog as representative of the black man, and the joke that Carol Thatcher made does not seem to go that far.

    If I say that someone looks like a teddy bear, am I comparing them to a bear. If I say someone looks like a Barbie Doll, am I comparing them to a real person and offending anybody?

    The real lesson here is, be careful who you have a drink with in the BBC. There is a panic on there about language at the moment, but I think it will pass.

  • Driftwood

    Considering how much stuff is broadcast live nowadays, and the kerfuffle over the Jade Goody thing etc, it’s going to be open season on any public figure for the forseeable future. Boris Johnson made a few choice remarks. It happens. If people apologise, then let it go as a one off. Society changes. remember the name of the dog in ‘The Dambusters’? And Agatha Christies’ ‘Ten little…..
    On that point, is it still ok to refer to someone with glasses as ‘Joe 90’?

  • Harry Flashman

    “And if she’d said “Andy Murray has hair like a nigger”, that would be perfectly acceptable?”

    Er, no, for the rather obvious reason that “nigger” is a foul and offensive term of abuse, “golliwog” on the other hand is a children’s toy that once used to be quite popular, and whilst it might now be regarded, rightly, as an object that has no place in modern society it is nonetheless absurd to suggest that by referring to a [pause for emphasis] [b]white[/b] person’s hair looking like a golliwog’s is somehow racist is bringing thought policing to absurd levels.

    Someone else mentioned above leprechauns, well if Carol Thatcher had said Terry Wogan was like a leprechaun then indeed I would agree she was pandering to stereotypes, if she said however that George Bush or Vladimir Putin looked like a leprechaun I would excuse her of any wrong doing.

    Context folks, context.

    Try engaging your critical faculties and using your analytical abilities instead of leaping to ludicrous knee jerk reactionism.

  • junktrumpet

    There seems to be some willingness to toe the Thatcher line on this – that it was simply a comment on a player’s (Murray’s???) hairstyle.

    The Sun (of all the Godforsaken places) seems less coy in its reporting of the detail of the incident than much of the media:

    “Jo Brand is said to have walked out of the green room in disgust when Carol made the remark about French-Congolese tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

    It came as she was discussing the Australian Open and Rafael Nadal’s opponent Fernando Verdasco, describing him as “the one who beat the golliwog” in the previous round.

    Verdasco had played Tsonga in the tournament quarter final.”

  • fin

    “And if she’d said “Andy Murray has hair like a ******”, that would be perfectly acceptable?”

    NO, for the simple reason that the people you refer to with the N word have like other races many hairstyles, a golliwog has a specific appearance.

    Unfortunately the BBC is a shadow of its formerself, which is a shame.

  • Dec

    And if she’d said “Andy Murray has hair like a nigger”, that would be perfectly acceptable?”

    Er, no, for the rather obvious reason that “nigger” is a foul and offensive term of abuse…

    Harry/Fin

    I raised that point as some were making much hay of the fact that Murray was white hence no offence was possible. That being said I don’t find the term ‘Golliwog’ as innocent as others appear to. Whatever it’s original purpose the term was immediately highjacked as a racial slur and is the origin of the term wog. Using the ‘It’s just a doll’ logic, ‘Nigger’ shouldn’t be offensive either being as it’s a derivitive of the latin word for black ‘nigrum’. Neither should ‘Coon’ as it was just a song.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Ms Wiz that the only people who should be using the word ‘Golliwog’ in 2009 are either racists or pensioners. Carol Thatcher is 55.

  • Earnan

    before this article I never heard of the term “golliwog”

    If she used it in the context that junkrumpet mentioned: “It came as she was discussing the Australian Open and Rafael Nadal’s opponent Fernando Verdasco, describing him as “the one who beat the golliwog” in the previous round.”, then she certainly should get sacked.

    If she just used it to describe Andys hair, of course not. That’s absurd.

    But it is probably karma for being given many things in life for being the daughter of a heartless cold b*tch of a prime minister.

  • Rory Carr

    Thank you, Junk Trumpet, for providing us with, as our learned friends would have it, ‘further and better particulars’. Rather changes the complexion (if I may be so bold as to use that term) of the whole thing doesn’t it?

    I too was tempted to rush to Thatcher’s defence on the basis of the belief that she had made an off-the-cuff innocous comment comparing a white player’s hair-style to that of a popular icon of her childhood. What held me back was my confusion as to why Jo Brand, a comedian I much admire and one renowned for her own acerbic tongue, would become involved in a complaint over such triviality that led to Thatcher’s sacking.

    If The Sun report is accurate (and whenever was a Sun report not so?) then we now know why offence was taken and why the BBC might consider it a bit risky to allow air-time to a broadcaster who could so thoughtlessly toss off such a carelessly offensive remark.

    Perhaps it is time for Carol to take her sainted mother’s advice and spend some time meditating upon the St Francis Prayer:

    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
    Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth.
    Where there is doubt, may we bring faith.
    And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

    Not forgetting to add, perhaps:

    And where there is unemployment, may we bring the dole.

  • Rory Carr

    That should be”innocuous” – apologies for being a bit ‘non-u’, at least with that word, above.

  • Dec

    If The Sun report is accurate (and whenever was a Sun report not so?) …

    The BBC and most outlets are poo-pooing the Murray link. Seems she was referring to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. How anyone finds this racist only if the subject is black is beyond me. Either Golliwog is or isn’t a racial slur.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Any folks here find the late Bernard Manning’s jokes offensive or hilarious?

    I realise that a lot of Unionists contributers to Slugger don’t find the individual words paki, raghead, sooty, golliwog, particularly offensive at all.

    Is it only because who used such words?

    Very interesting to see that if Adams, McGuinness, McAleese or the like used such words or similar, would there be a reaction!

  • Harry Flashman

    “Either Golliwog is or isn’t a racial slur.”

    Nonsense, if I said Anna Kurnikova was jumping around like a chimpanzee no racist slur could possibly be implied. If I said it in relation to Serena Williams then of course racism would automatically, and rightly, be imbued in such a remark (hence my Putin/Bush leprechaun analogy).

    Like I say context is all.

    If, as is now being alleged, that in fact Ms Thatcher was directing her ‘golliwog’ remark (again for those who aren’t aware, a golliwog is an actual child’s toy) to a player of African origin then obviously it is a racist comment.

    Context folks, context. Use your analytical functions, it really isn’t difficult.

    Oh, and one other thing, the woman’s parentage is still irrelevant.

  • Up Tyrone!

    Harry,

    Clearly you do not believe that you have a problem, which is a bit of a shame. I think you do need some help though. Your comments on Anna and Serena are distubing – a clever fellow like yourself should be able to get though the day without pontificating on which of two very talented ladies is more like a chimpanzee.

  • PapaLazarou

    For those, like myself, who grew up with the Golliwog image but have little real knowledge of its history and provenance, Dr. David Pilgrim (Ferris State University, Michigan) has quite a detailed history and analysis of the Golliwog at the ‘Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia’ http://www.ferris.edu/news/jimcrow/menu.htm. From the conclusion to the article:

    “The Golliwog was created during a racist era. He was drawn as a caricature of a minstrel — which itself represented a demeaning image of Blacks. There is racial stereotyping of Black people in Florence Upton’s [original] books … Certainly later Golliwogs often reflected negative beliefs about Blacks — thieves, miscreants, incompetents. There is little doubt that the words associated with Golliwog — Golly, Golli, Wog, and Golliwog, itself — are often used as racial slurs… “

  • Rory Carr

    Up Tyrone,

    Your reaction to Harry Flashman’s quite reasonable comments are wrong-headed and call for assumptions that in themselves are tainted with prejudice. Furthermore to say that he was “pontificating on which of two very talented ladies is more like a chimpanzee” is quite wrong – he most certainly did not do that – I am quite sure that it was the furthest thought from his mind.

    I really think that before people start throwing the racist term around nilly-willy they might like to examine their own prejudices first – and yes! we all have them whether or not we pretend that we don’t and one of the first signs is surely a defensive willingness to always seek to find this imperfection in others.

    Harry Flashman is perfectly right – context IS all. If Thatcher, as her protectors claim, used the remark as a comparison of the imagery of Andy Murray’s hairstyle to that of a popular image of her childhood then it would not have been racist and a simple “Whoops!” after realisation had dawned upon her of a possibly different context would have been sufficient apology. If however, as seems increasingly likely, she used the term to disparagingly describe Tsonga, then it was most offensive and she deserves her punishment.

    I think that Greagoir O Frainclin might consider whether or not his comments might have the effect of being considered as a blanket condemnation of unionists as a group being one that is more at ease with racist terms than other groups. All that can really be said is that there are unionists who use racist terms – just as there are nationalists who feel quite free with them. One of the reasons why I never use the Catholic club in Stamford Hill, despite the warmth and camaraderie, the craic and all that is that nearly every conversation is peppered with the most grossly offensive of racist remarks and, a lot of poor Catholics they may be, but you would be hard pushed to find a unionist – or a protestant for that matter – in the whole place.

  • Doctor Who

    usa

    “There can be no context where racist or sectarian language are acceptable. Even when disguised as humor, racist and sectarian remarks merely perpetuate stereotypes, engendering misunderstanding and mistrust.”

    Surely context is everything, for example how do you portray someone as a racist in literature or film without using racist language. Are we also to ban irony. The character of Alf Garnet was poking fun at small minded racists, the fact that he was also championed by those people he lampooned does not make the writing any less ironic.

    The film “Pulp Fiction” contains the “n” word 232 times. Is Quentin Tarentino a racist?

    Now if Carol Thatcher was comparing Andy Murray´s hair to that of a doll with frizzy hair how can that be racist, however if she was stating that a black tennis player was a “golliwog” that is quite clearly racist, and the recipients of such a remark can feel suitably offended and disgusted.

  • Up Tyrone!

    Harry was quite clearly stating that, in his opinion, the lovely (and black)Serena Williams is more like a chimpanzee that the lovely (and white) Anna Kurnikova. Not racist? Pull then other one!

  • Doctor Who

    up tyrone

    In defence of Harry, he was stating no such thing. Get a grip man and stop stirring.

  • Up Tyrone!

    Doc,

    so why was he comparing the ladies to a chimp?

    If I said you were a complete prick you might be offended. On the other hand, if I didn’t then you probably wouldn’t be.

  • Rory Carr

    “so why was he comparing the ladies to a chimp?”

    Well he wasn’t, was he? – is the answer to that, Up Tyrone.

    Do try reading again what he did say, beginning with (and paying close particular attention to) the words, “IF I said that….”, which might give you an indication of where his argument was going.

    It is important on here that we respond to what each other actually says rather than that each responds to the words in one’s own head that we might wish to attribute to others.

    In any case if you have been following discourse on this site for any time you might have noticed that if Harry Flashman was guilty of uttering anything which I found politically unsound I would be first to be upon him like ‘white on rice, baby’. Harry gets a free ride on this one and I’m happy to be on the same bus.

  • Earnan

    “For the record, Serene Williams resembles a gorilla more than a chimpanzee”

    Now the above would be racist, agreed?

  • Dec

    Nonsense, if I said Anna Kurnikova was jumping around like a chimpanzee no racist slur could possibly be implied.

    Harry – your thought processes are frightening. Who would have thought someone would introduce the notion of calling a black person ‘a chimpanzee’ to a discussion on the racist overtones of ‘Golliwogs’.

    You keep referring to a golliwog as a doll and unbelievably lecture us:

    “Context folks, context. Use your analytical functions, it really isn’t difficult.”

    Given that the Golliwog originated in 1895 when lynchings of blacks was endemic in the states and that the crude racial characteristics of the doll had a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide you may want to consider context some more. In the meantime you can keep longing for the release of that Best of the Black and White Minstrel Show DVD

  • Up Tyrone!

    earman,

    Not when the magic “If” is added, apparently. All sorts of possibilities are opened up by this marvellous sleight of hand. If Unionists are genetically predisposed to racism, bigotry, mysogeny, false indignation, rabid anti-Irishness, self hate and weasel wordery then so be it. Remember, I said “If” 🙂
    Not sure it works actually. Some would find the above to be offensive, not least because of the cheap trick of sticking an “If” at the beginning. A bit like the “allegedly” that half-cute comics tack to the end of a sentence.
    IMO Harry was amusing himself by comparing Serena Williams to a chimpanzee in the middle of thread on racism. Hillarious!

  • Driftwood

    Very interesting to see that if Adams, McGuinness, McAleese or the like used such words or similar, would there be a reaction!

    Posted by Greagoir O Frainclin on Feb 04, 2009 @ 04:20 PM
    Well, Mary did compare Protestants to Nazis. I suppose its a more upmarket version of ‘Hun’.
    Interesting three birds of a feather you use.

  • LAPD

    “The film “Pulp Fiction” contains the “n” word 232 times. Is Quentin Tarentino a racist?”

    John Travolta got shot as well. Is Quentin Tarentino a killer?

  • Up Tyrone

    Drfitwood
    Mary did NOT compare Protestants to Nazis, as you well know. Unionists extrapolated what she did say to arrive at that conclusion. Conscience bothering them perhaps?

  • Eddie

    When I lived in England I responded to a leaflet urging me to attend a ratepayers’ meeting about some local issue – roads, environmental etc.

    When I chose to speak,after about a dozen others had done so, another gent harrumphed about “people like you, newcomer to the area, saying what we should do.”

    I replied that I was a ratepayer, same as he was, to which the shouted response was: “Bah! You’re only posh Irish” !

    To this day, I don’t know whether I was insulted or not. So tell me, what I should have felt, please.

  • Up Tyrone!

    What Mary McAleese actually said:

    “The Nazis didn’t invent anti-Semitism,
    they used anti-Semitism, they built on anti-Semitism but they didn’t invent it. It was, for generations, for centuries, an element of the lived lives of many people who, on the surface, lived very good lives, I mean many of them would have regarded themselves, for example, as very good Christians.
    But they gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews, in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children, an
    irrational outrageous hatred, for example, of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children, an irrational outrageous hatred of
    those who have different colour, and all of those thing, all of those hatreds in the wrong circumstance, on a street in Dublin, they can outcrop as I have seen and heard, of a little child from Somalia being pelted with rotten eggs. They can outcrop in a knife being taken in a fight and someone from Eastern Europe being knifed to death. It’s a toxin you see,
    it’s a poison, and it can be in weak and diluted form, but even in that weak and diluted form, it’s still capable of surviving long enough for a
    Nazi-type era to come along, and to force it into concentrated form, and in concentrated form you get Auschwitz, you get Birkenau, you get Darfur, you get Rwanda. That’s what you get when you don’t stop the toxin.”

  • Up Tyrone!

    Eddie,
    No jury in the land would have convicted you for punching him straight on the nose. “Posh” indeed!

  • Eddie

    I don’t regard myself as being in the slighest posh at all, at all. But I was speaking SLOWLY so that he could understand me…or is that an offensive remark?

  • dunreavynomore

    eddie
    they’ll never understand us, now that probably is racist. next time i hear the word ‘paddy’ used on tv, regardless of the context, even if it’s to introduce Paddy Kielty, i’m going to throw a wobbly, claim heartfelt distress and demand retractions, apologies and , as an oirish man, loads of free drink for my trouble, no harm in a bit of stereotyping either. if the pc brigade survive it will eventually be impossible to talk at all, at all, at all.

  • Rory Carr

    Aah! Eddie,

    Speaking ‘SLOWLY’ – that, as I have found to my cost, was your first mistake. Perhaps you even fell into the old trap of also speaking CLEARLY and maybe even speaking GRAMMATICALLY as well. Yes?

    Serves you bloody right then. The locals were confused. You didn’t live up to their expectations of what an Irishman was in their experience and as a result may have thought you false and maybe even a little bit patronising. I have often been in a similar position and felt what I first saw as the sting of anti-Irish racism.

    But I was wrong – they simply had had no experience of Irishmen except of those with strong southern accents who worked in the bulding trades with whom they had no animus whatsoever. The chip was on my shoulder not on theirs and when I began to shrug it off I found warm acceptance and respect. Anyone jumping newly into any already well founded community anywhere might expect a similar suspiciously unwelcome beginning as you (and I) did.

    To brand such reaction as racist (which, I hasten to add, you have not) is far too simplistic and risks forgoing the opportunity of buliding lasting and meaningful links within new host communities.

    The rules of human interaction are simple: if we belong in the receiving host community then our duty is to be welcoming to the incomer and to be respectful of his racial and cultural integrity. If we are an incomer to a community our duty is to respect and accomodate ourselves to the mores and traditions of that community without compromising our own integrity.

    I realise that such implies that the old, “When in Rome do as the Romans do” adage then musts also be applied to “When in Ballymena….”, but then, what can a fella do? I asks you?

  • Alex S

    Only today a contributer to Talkback, a Rev used the term ‘spastic child’ without comment, double standards?

  • kensei

    Only today a contributer to Talkback, a Rev used the term ‘spastic child’ without comment, double standards?

    Tricky one. In the US it is a perfectly valid medical term. I think it also took on negative connotations here rather than being bad from the get-go.

  • kensei

    Rory

    Harry Flashman is perfectly right – context IS all. If Thatcher, as her protectors claim, used the remark as a comparison of the imagery of Andy Murray’s hairstyle to that of a popular image of her childhood then it would not have been racist and a simple “Whoops!” after realisation had dawned upon her of a possibly different context would have been sufficient apology

    Maybe there is a generational gap here. “Golliwog” would be fairly shocking to my generation and some of the contractions would not be far off the n-word.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “goliwog is not racist. its a word hijacked by the pc brigade.”

    Hey “Cut the PC” ….let’s develop your argument then. What about the label “terrorist” It seems “VERY PC” to label some folk “TERRORIST” today yet ignore the actions of other folk who behave like “TERRORISTS” And it brings “MORALITY” into question then, doesn’t it? You do know the meaning of the word “MORALITY” don’t ye “Cut the PC”? But “MORALITY” is very questionable too, isn’t it, well don’t ye think so “Cut the PC”? Now no wishy washy replies of “But whatabout etc…..”

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Interesting three birds of a feather you use.”

    Indeed Driftwood, it is, and if you think about it, they are all from your “country” of “Northern Ireland”

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    It sez alot really, about the NI society or does it, Driftwood?

  • Doctor Who

    Kensei

    I think we are from the same generation as is Rory, the point being if you describe a black person as a goliwog, yes that is shocking and most certainly racist. If you liken someones hair to that of a goliwog doll, that is not racist, just ignorant. Again it is the context in which the word is used that determines it´s meaning.

  • picador

    i’m going to throw a wobbly

    You mean you’re going to ‘throw a paddy’.

    Irish people are unreasonable and lose their tempers easily – undoubtedly because they drink too much.

    Thank f**k I am outta that place.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Irish people are unreasonable and lose their tempers easily – undoubtedly because they drink too much.”

    Where’s that “paddy wagon” picador?

  • cladycowboy

    Carol Thatcher has a mane of hair on her like a black and tan horse i once rode at Rossnowlagh.

  • Harry Flashman

    OK Up Tyrone, I see where you are coming from but you have completely and utterly missed my point, let me help you out.

    I most certainly do NOT think the beautiful Serena and Venus Williams resemble monkeys in any shape or form (and you are only half right in your original comment, only Serena Williams is a very talented player, Anna couldn’t play her way out of a paper bag). However in the context (there’s that dreaded word again) of racial history it has been a common place of white racists to refer to black people as monkeys or apes, are you following me so far? Good, now no one has ever alluded to pretty but air headed Russian blondes as monkeys, therefore were I to do so it would be clear that I was not making any allusion to her race.

    If I alluded to an ape in relation to a black person, talented or otherwise, beautiful or not, such an allusion would rightly be regarded as racist whatever my motivations may have been and quite unforgivable.

    You see where I’m at?

    If I referred to a Jamaican gentleman as a tight fisted, oily schemer, you’d rightly imagine that the man in question might well be so and that his race had nothing to do with my dislike of him. If I said it about a Jewish man you would however immediately suspect that maybe I had other more suspect motives.

    Context Tyrone, context.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    So always remember the context of words then folks, if anyone uses an un-PC word…it is the context that matters!

    paki, raghead, sooty, golliwog, spic, slopehead, knacker, paddy, fenian, croppy, nigger, …does anyone know anymore to add to the list? Go on, elaborate, get it off your chests.

    BTW…such words are beyond the vocabulary and minds of a lot of folk nowadays!

    But then again, not all folk!

    BTW, does anyone find the abbreviation W.A.S.P offensive?

  • Doctor Who

    Greagoir

    You do not realise it but you have used “offensive” words in a context to highlight their offensiveness. Yet you argue that context is irrelevant.

    I think everyone is in agreement that to use these words to describe people´s ethnicity is inappropriate and racist. Is it ever acceptable to use these words, well you have done, so what do you think.

    WASP I do not find offensive, however no one is likely to use that expression to describe me.

  • Harry Flashman

    Greg, so what you are saying, as the good Doc points out above, is that if anyone ever uses the word “golliwog”, in any circumstances whatsoever, no matter what the context, even if referring to a once popular child’s toy that has now rightly been discredited, then ipso facto by mere use of the word, they are racist?

    No context whatsoever will permit the use of a word? Is that really your position?

    Because if it is, it is plainly absurd.

  • Harry Flashman

    Let me illustrate further my remarks above with a real life example in order to allay Tyrone’s suspicions that I am in fact a closet Nazi.

    A few years back during a test cricket match between India and Australia tempers flared on the pitch and one of the Indian players referred to one of the Australian players as a “monkey”. Now the player against whom he hurled that epithet happened to be the only Australian player who was black (the fact that he also was wearing his white sunscreen in a ludicrous way clearly designed to irritate the opposing players is neither here nor there).

    Context here is absolutely everything, if the Indian player had called a white player a “monkey” no one would have batted an eyelid but to use that term against the only black player was obviously offensive. The referee, a sound man, disciplined the Indian player in the harshest terms even though the Indian protested his innocence of any racial slur, why? Well the referee explained it simply, he himself was a white South African who had grown up under apartheid and he was not going to take any shit about “no intention to be racist, honest guv”, the ref knew, he said, the context of singling out a black man and calling him a monkey.

    Context you see.

  • Harry Flashman

    Fuck me, but this is one distasteful discussion.

  • Earnan

    is wanker racist? or is it just negative

  • Dewi

    Clarkson: “One eyed Scottish idiot” – I dunno, I reckon that’s just as bad…will he be sacked?

  • willis

    Matthew Norman seems to have got a good take on this.
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/matthew-norman-oh-carol-ndash-you-just-dont-get-it-14171546.html

    As wise old Harry sez – It is all about context.

    There is however a problem with the BBC approach, very well put across by Jay Hunt this morning, just because you know when to tug the forelock to authority does not mean you should get away with anything.

  • Ms Wiz

    It’s now fairly obvious CT wasn’t referring to Andy Murray (where did that come from?), so the people here defending the use of the ‘g’ word have no case. And even if she was referring to Murray or any other white person, and they STILL found it inoffensive – well then that’s just sad.

    Like I said, racists and pensioners. How old are you Harry?

  • Rory Carr

    Kensei and Ms Wiz have both got it completely wrong – it is not a question of which generation one belongs to, it is a simple matter of the actualité, er, actually.

    A golliwog to a person in these islands was the name of a stylised cartoon symbol of a black man used to promote Robertson’s jam. The sensibilities of the time did not allow for it to be considered offensive during its heyday – it required a campaign of understanding and exposure to more liberal sympathies to expose its offensive nature. Its appeal was among young children who were completely innocent of any offence it may have caused and it required enlightened adults to lead the campaign to expose its offensive nature.

    But, there you have it, there once was a jam manufacturer who used such a symbol and this symbol was known as a Golliwog. To use the name to describe the symbol is not only perfectly reasonable it is absolutely bloody essential, else we wouldn’t even begin to understand the offence caused by Carol Thatcher’s remarks and perhaps more significantly her suicidal hauteur in refusing to give a fulsome apology, clearly still believing she had either committed no offence or if she had well, ” So what?”.

    To refer to a golliwog symbol as a golliwog cannot be offensive in any context I can envisage. To refer to a human being as a golliwog, more particularly if that human being is black, most certainly is quite vilely offensive. Much as it would be offensive to refer to a woman as ” that fat old cow” while it would not be offensive to refer to an actual fat old cow as such.

    I appreciate that you may have difficulty coming to grips with such simplicities but, give it time – you’re still young and only half-grown after all.

  • kensei

    Rory

    I am well aware of what it was. But while the symbol remains the same, the words meaning and virulence moves on. Some of the contractions, particularly “Wog” is not far of the n-word. In certain intellectual discussions with clear context it is fine. But just coming out with it at random directed at white or black dude? Er, no.

    Second, it’s something that may cross your brain but for the love of God why are you making that comparison out loud at the BBC?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    So a shop on the Queen’s royal estate has been selling ‘golliwog’ dolls too!

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/queens+gift+shop+removes+golliwogs/2923472

  • Rory Carr

    On a lighter note I would direct you all to the letters page of the most current edition of Private Eye where reader Max Petrokofsky, under the Lookalike caption, posts a most unflattering juxtaposition of photos of Andy Murray and An American Werewolf… which are uncannily similar. His accompanying letter reads:

    Sir,

    I hope your readers will join me in demanding an unreserved apology from the ATP for such insensitive scheduling of Andy Murray’s fourth-round tie. Playing late at night under a full moon obviously affected him adversely…

    Supernaturally specieist shurely, don’t you think?
    It made me laugh anyhoo.

  • Harry Flashman

    “How old are you Harry?”

    Mind yer own business.

  • Ms Wiz

    Rory, never mind the long ramble about jam jars, personally I’ve always hated the word since I was called a wog way back in primary school. Haven’t heard it in a long time thankfully, but these days if you’re going to racially abuse someone you’d come up with something better than that.

    Word to the wise, don’t ever use ‘golliwog’ as a comparison for anyone or anything. At the very least you’d just be showing yourself up as a complete ignoramus.

    I still hear NI people refer to black people as ‘coloured’. I suppose the Irish have a bit of catching up to do when it comes to ethnic labels.

  • parsnip man

    Once in Maldon Essex, I was party to the following comment: “That old bag at the end of the street is a bit Irish”. On enquiring was the lady blessed with Hibernian roots I was informed that “No, round here the word Irish means stupid”.

    I wasnt really shocked.

    Im soooo glad Carol thatcher got sacked 🙂

  • Reader

    Harry Flashman: Mind yer own business.
    It looks like you’ve been the victim of ageism to me. You should complain.

  • Reader

    Ms Wiz: I still hear NI people refer to black people as ‘coloured’. I suppose the Irish have a bit of catching up to do when it comes to ethnic labels.
    And yet ‘coloured’ used to be the most polite term available.
    While recognising that on most occasions ethnic labels aren’t needed anyway; could you let us know the most up to date polite forms so that we won’t let ourselves down in front of the septics?

  • Doctor Who

    Miss Wizz

    “It’s now fairly obvious CT wasn’t referring to Andy Murray (where did that come from?), so the people here defending the use of the ‘g’ word have no case.”

    If you bothered to read what people posted then you would ascertain, that posters have been quick to differentiate between the two Carol Thatcher scenarios. If it was a reference to Andy Murray´s hair then so what, if it was a refernce to a black tennis player (which seems more likely)then it was a dusgusting, offensive and racist remark.

    You will also learn from postrs that the main argument here is the use of certain words in context.

    Miss Wizz

    “And even if she was referring to Murray or any other white person, and they STILL found it inoffensive – well then that’s just sad.”

    Why?

    If she had of been referring to Murray, then the comment was ignorant but certainly not racist.

  • Up Tyrone!

    Ahhh…I see what the good Doctor is getting at.

    If only Carol had said “no, no, no…the white tennis player…you know…looks like a big buck n****r!”. That would have been just fine by the Doc because clearly she wasn’t calling anyone an actual…well, you get it….she was just pointing out the resemblance!!!

    It’s one thing to use the G word when nostalgically reminiscing over bygone racist preserve labels but it’s quite something else to label a fellow human being in that way, regardless of who he is.
    The ‘context defence’ is truly is pathetic.

  • willis

    Did anyone see tonight’s hilarious Nick Higham ‘reconstruction’ of Golligate? We got to see a CGI Green room containing Professor Chiles, Rev Brand, and Ms White/Thatcher.

    I believe the murder weapon was either the poison pen or the very large wine glass.

  • Doctor Who

    up tyrone (your latest non de plume)

    “If only Carol had said “no, no, no…the white tennis player…you know… That would have been just fine by the Doc because clearly she wasn’t calling anyone an actual…well, you get it….she was just pointing out the resemblance!!!”

    Can you please show me where I have said racial abuse is OK.

    Also are you on here to slip in the odd offensive racial slogan,
    “looks like a big buck n****r!”.
    Or do you use that statement in the CONTEXT of what is being debated.

    Either way you bring nothing to the thread.

  • Up Tyrone!

    Dr,

    I take it that you have given up on trying to find a suitable context for describing someone as a G. The “context defence” of the indefencible is kaput. No?

    “Can you please show me where I have said racial abuse is OK.”
    Did you say that? I missed it but happy to take your word for it 😉

  • Doctor Who

    Up Tyrone

    You should be given the Slugger award for posting alot while saying absolutely nothing.

    It´s been emotional, goodbye.

  • DavidD

    I believe that I must have suffered from a deprived childhood for, despite the fact of being – ahem – a certain age, I never owned a golly. Moreover, since I hated the bits of peel in Robinson’s marmalade, I never collected enough labels to earn a metal badge. Nevertheless I have thought and even voiced certain opinions regarding the striking resemblance of a member of the royal family to a horse and of a character in Coronation Street to a Chihuahua. I also think that Brian Cowen would have made an ideal model for the sculptors of gargoyles, if John Sergeant had not been available. In passing I would remark that these observations would have seemed insipid indeed to the pamphleteers of those unenlightened days two hundred years ago.

    But enough of playing the (wo)man and to move to a serious and wider point. It never seems to occur to people like the BBC’s Jay Hunt how closely their mindset resembles that of people with whom they would be horrified to associated. I think for example of the persecutors of Sir Thomas More who suffered the stake rather than renounce his faith, of the Catholic zealots who murdered the unapologetic Huguenots on the basis that it was better that they lost their bodies rather than their souls. And I think of the Stalinist prosecutors whose victims not only had to confess their guilt but to recant and to acknowledge the error of their ways. This mindset not only requires a repulsive conformity of thought and word but also reveals a deep psychological malaise. Those who threaten the certainties of Ms Hunt et al must pay the price with grovelling apologies. Back to the future. 1984 to be precise.

  • willis

    “As Iain Dale notes, well paid rude middle class white men can get away with a lot in the BBC.
    Clarkson, Moyles, Brand, Ross. It does rather spoil the stereotype of the BBC as being feminist”

    “There is however a problem with the BBC approach, very well put across by Jay Hunt this morning, just because you know when to tug the forelock to authority does not mean you should get away with anything.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1137242/Jeremy-Clarkson-apologises-Prime-Minister-calling-eyed-Scottish-idiot.html

    Prescient moi?