Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Actually it is

So it would seem that Australian magistrate has rules that the words nigger and sand nigger are not offensive.

62 year old Denis Mulheron, in an effort to urge Labour MP Miss Peta-Kaye Croft to reform immigration laws sent in a fax to Croft's office saying that said laws need to be tightened in order to deal with, "'n****rs' and sandn****r terrorists', as well as Muslim women with circumcised genitals". Also Mulheron refered to indigenous Australian Aborigines as 'Abos' - a term that Aboriginal people regard as highly offensive.

Okay I really don't care what some Australian guy and some Australian magistrate think is offensive or not. Despite the original orgins of the word nigger (simply meaning ignorant) that word has a history of being used as a derogatory description of people of African decent. There is absolutely no question that there are those who find that word offensive. Its one thing for an individual to say its not offensive to them but this is quite another for someone who has pretty much zero chance of having that word used against him to declare that its not offensive.

Apparently his defense includes:
He had grown up, he said, with the slang terms for Arabs and black Africans and he did not believe the words were offensive.
His upbringing and his beliefs have no bearing on the history of that word. I was brought thinking that calling someone lame was not offensive. Doesn't mean that calling some lame is okay. Next there's this:
'I'm not a member of the "cafe, chardonnary and socialist" set - to me that is everyday language,' he told the court.
If I didn't know any better I would think that this guy thinks that regular common folk are okay with that language and to be offended by it means that one is high class. Yeah right.

But I have to say that the real kicker is that while magistrate didn't condone the language and thought it was crude it would not be considered offensive by a "reasonable" person.

What. The. Fuck?

So when I and other black people can be reminded of an era of history where our ancestors were treated like farm equipment because of our skin color I'm being unreasonable. When people of Arab decent are racially profiled as terrorists they are being unreasonable.

Fuck that. Fuck Mulheron. Fuck that magistrate. And fuck anyone who has the fucking gall to say that such words are not offensive to a "reasonable" person.

But considering other acts of racism that have gone down in this country I guess I should not be surprised.


Sonja said...

"Abbo" is also a shortening of "Aboriginal", which is more why it is used than for the purpose of being offensive, in my experience. Aussies shorten everything, often adding "-ie" on the end (like our racing legend Peter Brock. He was referred to as "Brockie" all the time).

"Nigger" is another matter, but I never hear it.

Seems the person who sent the fax was a jerk with a grudge against The Labour Party, but the article makes no mention of what charges were dropped.

What I find is that people are FAR too easily offended in general. This bloke is clearly not worth anyones time or stress and a better thing to do would have been to shred the fax and forget about it.

Danny said...

In the end perhaps you're right about tossing it in the garbage but I think that for someone much less a person of the court to say that such words are not offensive to reasonable people hurts a bit. In terms of women and gender it would be like saying a reasonable woman would not be offended by being called a bitch. The reaction may differ from woman to woman and may depend on various things but being a reasonable person is not one of them.

Paul said...

Completely agree Danny. I have a hard time when anybody tries to make a legal definition of what can (or rather what can't) be considered "offensive"

slightly off topic, but is "ignorant" really the origin of the word? I always thought it was a corruption of the word negro.

Danny said...

However I have seen reference to what you say as well.

Danny said...

However I have seen reference to what you say as well.