Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Nature of racism and 'appalling behaviour.'

From  ABC online, 26th May, 2013,  10.27am

Adam Goodes 'gutted' by racial slur but wants AFL fan educated

A 13-year-old girl has apologised for calling Swans forward Adam Goodes an "ape", an incident that the AFL star said rendered his side's breakthrough win over the magpies meaningless.
Goodes was the star for Sydney with three goals in his side's famous 47-point salute over Collingwood at the MCG that opened Indigenous Round.
But the 328-gamer fell victim to a racial vilification incident after being verbally abused by a Magpies fan, who was then escorted from the venue.
The win, the first of its kind in 13 years, to play such a pivotal role ... just means nothing. I turned around and I saw it was a young girl I was just like...really?
Swans stalwart Adam Goodes

Goodes, with security staff around him, had stood only metres away and pointed to her following a verbal clash with the fan.
Victoria Police said on Saturday morning that a 13-year-old girl was interviewed over the incident and released last night pending further inquiries.
But Goodes said he is not blaming the girl, saying she deserved to be supported and educated about why the racist comment was unacceptable.
"I'm pretty gutted to be honest," he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday morning.
"The win, the first in 13 years, to be up 47 points against Collingwood, to play such a pivotal role just sort of means nothing.
"To come to the boundary line and hear a 13 year old girl call me an 'ape', and it's not the first time on a footy field that I've been referred to as a 'monkey' or an 'ape', it was shattering."

People should not throw insults at football players during a match, or after the match, or at any other time.  A thirteen-year-old girl called a football player an 'ape.'  She should not have done that, obviously.

But still - I tend to think that very many football players are thugs - big, brutish, with no manners - (how often do they spit!  Yecchh! )     And they are far too often involved in brawls, assaults, and are routinely accused of inappropriate behaviour to women.  Too many are thugs.  I could have just as easily used the word 'ape.' When used as an insult, 'thug' is akin to 'ape.' 

So just exactly how is that 'racist?'  It is in no way inherent in the term.

Who says it is racist?   And why are they saying such a thing? 

To me, accusing someone of being an 'ape' has not a thing to do with their ethnic origin.  The girl has said publicly that she never thought of it as being 'racist.'

So who has it wrong here?  The girl was guilty of poor behaviour, but I do not think she was racist.  Most of you who read my blog are of superior intelligence and sense, so maybe it is worth trying to explain my concept  - that many terms labelled as racist are not at all. It is the ones who call them racist who are betraying their feeling that the term conveys inferiority.  'Black' for instance. It is an adjective, and also a term for the darker skinned races. It does not say that being darker skinned is in any way inferior. To become incensed at the term, to abuse anyone who uses it - that is somehow saying that the darker-skinned races are inferior.  So it is not the one who uses the word as an innocent adjective who is racist, but the ones who see it as racist.

Is this too hard for some to understand?  Probably it is. People would far rather put themselves on the perceived 'enlightened' side than to actually think about what they are truly saying. 

So - is being an 'ape' linked with being dark-skinned.  I guess that after all this fuss, then it is. It was not before, or not to me.  I don't run with the football crowd, of course, but I am perfectly literate.

The poor kid was led off the grounds by policemen.  She appeared to be crying.  The big, tough footballer had his triumph and now nobly says that people need to be 'educated.'

But maybe he needs to develop a thicker skin, and maybe he needs to realise that being called an 'ape' has nothing at all to do with racism.

'Appalling behaviour' they screech.  Yes, it was.  But the girl?  That was poor behaviour.  The mass ganging up on her afterwards by the footballer, the policemen, the media -  now that is appalling behaviour.

The Australian Oxford Dictionary:  racism - theory that human abilities are determined by race.

Not at all relevant
Or maybe it denotes the sun going down on all common sense the moment someone cries 'racist.'

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  1. People seem to think it's okay to counter bad behavior with equally bad behavior. Like my grandmother used to say: Two wrongs don't make a right. The media blows everything out of proportion. At the end of the day, no one was been 'educated,' but there is further division and debate over one ill-considered comment by a young girl. And, this is news worthy story? Amazing.

  2. The footy adds a factor of around 10 to any story, it seems. Some bloke's 'groin injury' will knock off most other things for first in the news. The times I've read something like 'Crisis Looming,' I look to it thinking it is serious, and it's only about the cricket team being defeated or some such thing. Quite ridiculous.

    1. The U.S. in general is sports-obsessed, with professional athletes earning 10 times the wages of a police officer or teacher. They are lauded as heroes only because they can kick or throw a ball, while teachers who educate our children are often yelled at and treated disrespectfully by children and parents. Our society has some very skewed ideals of what is a hero. And, we wonder why our children seem to have no guidance.

      Back to the news story... if that girl called a random person on the street an 'ape,' her behavior would have been completely ignored, but since she dared to shout at a 'sports hero,' she was hauled away and labeled a racist.

  3. You are so right. So much is in the interpretation isn't it. Sports persons these days are often not the sort of people that I would chose to mix with, they seem often to have a lower moral standard from that which I find desirable. This young girl of course realises that it can be hurtful to call people names, however sports meetings are often overly emotional and spectators are swept up in the hysteria of the moment. In the cold light of day maybe she could have been given opportunity to a) apologise for name calling and b) explain what she meant if there had been misunderstanding - don't eh media have an awful lot to answer for at times like these. - sighs and shakes head sadly!!

  4. Thanks Diane for your comment, and Trica, for yours.