by Guest Contributor Lola Adesioye, originally published at Lola Adesioye
It has been quite fascinating watching the recent controversy surrounding the use of some racist terminology by members of Britain’s supposedly upper classes, who are still clearly dealing with a bad case of Post-Colonial Traumatic Stress.
First of all we had Prince Harry referring to a colleague as a ‘Paki’ – a word which will all know to be a derogatory one.
Then we found out that Prince Charles calls a dark skinned friend of his ‘Sooty’ as a term of endearment.
And then last week Carol Thatcher, daughter of Margaret Thatcher, was sacked from the BBC for referring to a French tennis player several times as a ‘golliwog frog’, a ‘half-golliwog’ and other ridiculous racist names.
Aside from the fact that these people are using language that I haven’t heard for around 20 years (I mean, the least they could do is keep up with the latest racist terminology!) what surprises me most is that people are actually defending their right to use racist language.
We’ve heard that neither Harry’s colleague or Charles’ friend object to being called Paki or Sooty…Therefore, that apparently makes it ok.
Writing in The Guardian newspaper Catherine Bennett protests that Thatcher is being pilloried for a ‘thought crime’ and that it doesn’t matter that she said the words out loud anyway because they were said in private (which isn’t actually true – she made the comment in the workplace). According to Bennett, condemning Thatcher’s repulsive words curtails her freedom of speech and thought.
While America celebrates electing the first African-American president, people in England are coming up with reasons that make it acceptable to racially insult people at will.
And we wonder why we won’t see a black Prime Minister anytime soon. *sigh*