QED

My Coloured Perceptions of Race

hoodieThe following exchange appeared in a recent edition of The Australian’s Cut&Paste

….here’s a Dennis Cometti classic call from the nineties:

Brereton: And the ball spills free to Kickett …

Cometti: Troy Cook you mean?

Brereton: Yes, well, they do look rather alike …

Cometti: How so Dermott?

Brereton: [Realising that sounded rather racist] Um, well, they are both, er …

Cometti: Midfielders, yes Dermott.

Really?   It’s racist for Dermott Brereton to think that two people in a milling group of footballers look alike because each is dark skinned or even, God forbid, Aboriginal? Would it have been ‘racist’ if the two subjects were Italian? Was it racist of Dermott just to think it — or was saying it aloud the real crime?

Am I alone in being infuriated by this?  Nothing so clearly demonstrates the corruption of the word ‘racist’ than the above, and it is poisoning our ability to debate important issues.

Dictionary.com defines racism as:

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Where does Dermott’s putative offence fall within those parameters?

If I were to say “I don’t much like Russians”, (which is true), would that be racist?  Of course not.  Ah ah, you might say, it may not be racist but it’s xenophobic.

Nope.  Dictionary.com defines xenophobia as:

an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.

My dislike is based on my experiences with a group of Russians, as I observed them some time ago aboard  cruise ship on which I was also passenger.  That appraisal is entirely subjective, but I would argue that it is not unreasonable. Still, Russia being so on the nose internationally, I doubt many people will take offence.  And, no doubt, were I met some individual Russians, I would find them charming, some anyway.

If I were to say “I don’t like Americans”, (which is certainly not true), I am likely to be cheered by many on the Left, who do, indeed, express that view. No racism or xenophobia there.

But if I were to say “I don’t like Aborigines”, (which, again, is certainly not true), that would be ‘racist’ pure and simple, no matter whatever personal  provocation I might have suffered.  Again, this is a hypothetical statement.  I do not dislike Aborigines and have suffered no personal provocation, despite several Aboriginal identities have said things that I find provocative.

If I were to say “Mike Carlton is a stupid bastard”, because I believe that Carlton says stupid things and, in Australian vernacular,  ‘bastard’ flows naturally after ‘stupid’, that would be insulting but certainly not racist.

But if I were to say “Noel Pearson is a stupid bastard”, because I believe he sometimes says stupid things and, in Australian vernacular, ‘bastard’ flows naturally after ‘stupid’, that would be ‘racist’ because clearly I mean that he is stupid because he’s Aboriginal and is illegitimate to boot.

Until we can get past this juvenile political correctness how can we possibly debate public policy issues such as asylum seekers and constitutional recognition?

14 comments
  • jenkins

    Should Cometti ever confuse the identity of one white skinned footballer for another, it would be only fair for someone to call him out and mock him.

  • [email protected]

    Com’on Peter, you feel infuriated and frustrated by use of the word ‘racist’. How do you reckon I feel about the words ‘climate change’? As a geologist do I believe in climate change? Of course I do; change is what climate does. But do I believe that carbon dioxide (corruptly used instead because it is black and dirty) causes global warming? Of course I don’t! And that this warming is dangerous? Of course I don’t! We now live in a world where the scourge of political correctness corrupts our language to meaningless dribble. I know how you feel.

    • Peter OBrien

      With you all the way on ‘climate change’ as you might have noticed from earlier articles. It’s all part of the same disease.

  • Patrick McCauley

    I’m sure it won’t be long before whatshername from the Maquarie Dictionary (who redefined the word ‘misogyny’ for Julia Guillard) will also refine the word ‘racism’ to include the current ‘common usage’ meaning .. i.e. any criticism of anything Aboriginal by a white person but specifically excluding any criticism of white people/whiteness/western civilisation/Christianity etc by Aboriginal people.

  • Keith Kennelly

    Yep

    Tony Abbott might be a bastard to many on the left but, buggar me, could you imagine the sexist furore if Julia had been called a bitch.

  • Keith Kennelly

    I once volunteered on a tall ship as a watch leader. We taught groups of students sailing.
    One day a called to a 13 year old ‘girl’ and she called me sexist.

    She calmed right down when I asked her if she preferred I address her as sexless.

    There was no complaint … only smiles.

  • Egil Nordang

    “Racist!” is a very powerful/”game over” type of word that is often used unfairly and without proof or foundation.
    This has been demonstrated generously right across the PC media, including to my disgust and partial surprise, in The Australian
    over The Adam Goodes Business.
    Is there not a need for an new, equally derogatory word/name in response to rubbish claims of “Racism”?
    How about Racopath?
    Pathology as far as mental defects/shortcomings are pretty obvious….?!
    Racopath…….A person who without proof or foundation accuses another person/persons of being a racist.

    • Geoffrey Luck

      Good idea, but let’s add an “e” to avoid the confusion that the “c” could be hard. Race-eeoo- path sounds smoother and easier to spit out.

      • Egil Nordang

        Yep, happy to go with that.

      • Patrick McCauley

        Raciopath… very good … it rolls off the tongue … perhaps it could be best presented with a sad resigned tone… ‘poor fellow seems to be in denial – a raciopath, I’m afraid’ or perhaps we could develop an entire field of ‘Raciopathology’ investigating the addictive nature of moral vanity. How about one for ‘homophobes’ ? …. something like ‘heterophobe’ … as in – fear of heterosexuality/dis-respect for heterosexual union and heterosexual conventions and beliefs.

        • Patrick McCauley

          …and then I spelt it wrong!! …RACEOPATH (not raciopath) apologies.

  • Jody

    Climate change. Now the ex head of the National Australia Bank, Cameron Whatsisname, has spoken publicly about Abbott because of his failure to live in the modern world over climate change. He says business is constantly going on to him about “uncertainty” and the lost opportunities with regard to ‘renewables’. Cameron is convinced and he said it’s bad that climate change has been “politicized” – there should be bi-partisan support as there is in the USA and the UK. I didn’t know about this bipartisan support in those two places.

    We need to get with the program, don’t we?

  • rosross

    The term racist has been ‘newly defined’ to simply mean anyone who speaks a truth about indigenous, where they are judging the individual in the same way they would judge anyone. In other words, they are not patronising indigenous Australians but holding them accountable in the same way that they would anyone in terms of their behaviour.

    Australians are amongst the least racist people in the world and our highest and fastest rate of immigrant intermarriage and an even higher rate of indigenous intermarriage testifies to that because racists do not intermix, let alone intermarry, but they are amongst the most frank and inclined to ‘call a spade a bloody shovel’ and much which is deemed racist by foreigners or the Aboriginal Industry and its Academic Acolytes is not at all racist but simply ‘unpalatable’ truths.

    • Liza Kingsley

      It really isnt all that complicated. Whites can never be the victims of racism, and only White people can be accused or found guilty of it. The past few decades are littered with the wreckage of the careers and reputations of people who failed to grasp this simple concept, and found themselves making clumsy and fatal observations on the abilities and dominance of African Americans in certain sports, or the staggering achievements of Jews. Just ask Rick Sanchez where the line of knowing is located and he will tell you. It all makes perfect sense if you recognise the profound double standard inherent in the war against racism. Which lets face it, is just a small component of the larger war against white culture and the white race. A war being fought hard by our self-loathing and treacherous elites, both left and right.

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