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So is he a racist? Should he be sacked? Should we complain?
him, not you.
not inherently racist.
But he's definitely daft (at the very least) to the point of rank incompetency for someone in his position.
So i'm going with: 'Not necessarily (but probably)', 'Yes', and 'If you want to, it's your call'.
so he didn't even use it correctly
it's the slavery version of needle in a haystack
well, not really I guess
I always though fly in the ointment represented something that's ruined by the addition of an often small but unexpected element (and as such might be the correct phrase for the councillor to use on this occasion)
whereas the phrase he used indicates something that is hidden and overlooked despite strong suspicion or concrete knowledge of its existence
the essential quality of the fly in the oitment is that the oitment is ruined or degraded or spoilt in some way
there's clearly no such suggestion that an escaping slave hiding in a timber shipment degrades the quality of the shipment
A nigger in the woodpile (or fence) is an English figure of speech formerly commonly used in the United States and elsewhere. It means "some fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed – something suspicious or wrong." Use of the phrase in English speaking countries by public officials or people in positions of power since the year 2000 has most often been followed by public shame and apology, due to the severely offensive connotation taken on by the term "nigger" over the decades.
publicly collated knowledge and wot I lerned at skool agree with one another
So is he a racist? - Perhaps. He has certainly used a racist phrase which has potential to offend. As to whether people who use racist phrases are themselves racist - not always. I find that this is often a generational thing: my dad who's 80 will occasionally use an old-fashioned racist phrase (although has enough about him to know that the word 'nigger' is completely off limits) but he isn't a racist. Ron Atkinson isn't a racist but he used the same word in what he thought was a private setting and was rightly sacked for it.
Should he be sacked? - Yes. A person in his position should be well aware of what is right and decent and using a word like this, even if offence wasn't intended, is wrong.
Should we complain? - If the guy isn't removed then I think anyone who can influence this should complain
Racism is a belief that one race is inherently inferior to another. I used the examples of my old man and Atkinson, and I don't think either of them believe this (although I'm more sure about my dad than I am about Ron!). Racist comments can be made out of ignorance by people who aren't themselves racist
I think that you're making a distinction between actively and passively racist as opposed to racist and non-racist
in Ron & your dad's case they are passively accepting as a norm the phraseology of a culture or cultural period that believes "one race is inherently inferior (though I would argue the belief is that one race is superior) to another"
passively accepting the phraseology = racist
I think my stance is based more on the behaviour that a person exhibits. But I do get your reasoning.
to me, if you believe one race is inherently inferior to another you are racist. if you don't believe that then you are not racist.
I don't think it has anything to do with what language you use or anything else. I don't think that words or phrases by themselves can be racist.
and that we disagree on the power and influence of language in politics, history, law and society
and if you don't think it has anything to do with "language you use or anything else" you're missing quite a lot.
I just don't think there is any more to being a racist than that.
If that makes any sense?
I just think that we shouldn't be giving ignorant people the benefit of the doubt over something we have no epistemic access to anyway. The term 'a racist' kinda implies racism is done by individual perpetrators who are just not clever or arcane enough to see that's not cool. rather than the historical consequence that society is racist yknow.
Been offline for a couple of hours and having a ponder: just wanted to say thanks for the comments. There is food for thought here and it's good to have a proper debate without it descending into rudeness. Thanks chaps.
The John Barnes transcript towards the end covers what I am trying to say.
in that there's a danger that all the singling out of john terry and ron atkinson etc. misses the point that racism is an endemic system of oppression and that people harbouring 'racist' views are silenced. I met him quite recently and he obviously has an incredibly astute understanding of racism in football and the constructedness of race itself. but he couldn't really answer anything about any other oppressed groups in football and tends to think everything will just fix itself and so condemnation isn't necessary.
"You've got to hold and give, but do it at the right time. You can be slow or fast, but you must get to the line"?
A pretty emphatic claim.
Example question to challenge the assertion:
Q: Does that apply to a comedian?
A: No, not necessarily.
I know this guy isn't doing a comedy routine. But with language there is pretty much always a context to be considered.
where the validity of the content of speech might not be tacitly committed to in the same way it is in everyday or political conversation. hmmmmmm.
whilst all other circumstances are to be taken as black and white. It just isn't that simple. For a start, it'd effectively mean you'd have to answer the question "what is art?" before deciding if something is racist.
and the determining characteristics of such a person (is it an action or a way of thinking or a state of being? is being 'a racist' always intentional or unintentional, active or passive, malicious or ignorant?) as if the most important thing is to identify who is and is not an individual racist, when we would do far better to concentrate on the contextual meaning and effects of language/actions. something can *be racist* without the malicious intent of *a racist* behind it, and the idea that ignorant/accidental racism can be excused or ignored misses the point that systemic racial privilege is largely upheld by exactly those kind of unintentional, unconscious processes
because i think whether a piece of comedy is racist is not fundamentally about whether the comedian is a racist, which is what defences of 'controversial' comedy so often come down to. which isn't to say that these things can't be ambiguous; more that it's not so much about determining intent as it's about analysing the interplay between context and skilled manipulation of language etc, and debating meaning and effect based on the actual content (which is why hamfisted 'ironic' reiterations of bigotry are generally still racist, even if not necessarily intended as such)
As I see it, we all pretty much agree that he should be told to clear his desk. That's Q2 dealt with pretty unanimously.
A 'yes' answer to Q1 seems to have been suggested by B_I_T_T, DD and untrue on the basis of words themselves being an absolute measure. I hope we can all agree on reflection that they're not. Either way, I agree that said question is very much a side issue.
Q3 is by far the more interesting starting point for debate. The bit that raises the issue of intent or otherwise, or whether a comment is active or passive. In this instance the guy is a fairly low level chap, all things considered, in terms of national profile. So I'd hope he can be disciplined by whoever his immediate boss is. If not, a local campaign would be justified, but mounting a nationwide campaign seems like it'd be somewhat OTT and a waste of time and resources all round. I'd feel pretty affronted if that opinion was used against me to suggest that by not penning a letter of outrage I'm not aware of my various inherent privileges. Actively exploiting or not acknowledging privileges obviously being a different kettle of badgers to knowing which battles to pick (and when). Fair enough, if this guy gets off without a single measure of discipline, and calls by the people he represents end up being ignored, then it probably is time for some kind of wider campaign to put pressure on whoever ought to be taking action in response to hiss bellendery.
I am surprised that someone who managed got elected to something said this in front of people.
I love completely flippant, oblivious comments like these. Should still be sacked though, for PR reasons if no other (not that I'm condoning his use of the phrase, I just think in this instance, that's the crucial factor).
no he shouldn't be sacked, but should apologise for being a complete tool
Why isn't there a MOWO Awards ??!!
This sort of thing needs to be debated.
I was giving a comparison (political figure saying something in the public eye). If I said IF A BLACK PERSON HAD SAID THAT NOONE WOULD DO ANYTHING then your pathetic attempt at an argument might carry some weight. As it is you come across like you always do on here, like a sad shrivelled up bellend
(at whatever level) should be treated the same way as anyone else who works in public service.
A public sector employee would definitely lose their job over that type of remark and so should he.
Not sure what the actual situation is but a public sector using that language should definitely be sacked for gross misconduct in my opinion.
And I don't see why politicians shouldn't be held to higher standards given the nature of their jobs and they're supposed to represent their community
part of John Terry's defence at the magistrates next month will reportedly be character references from former managers and team mates, including Mourinho, Ancelotti and Desailly. But he's not been charged with 'being a racist'- he's been charged with a public order offence relating to a specific alleged incidence of racial abuse. Surely the only consideration should be the degree to which his guilt can be proven/doubted in that one incidence, not what other people think of his character more generally? Would glowing character references really be helpful? Genuine question to anyone who knows the law better than me ...
To tie this back this guy, I think it's broadly irrelevant whether or not he's 'a racist' in terms of how to deal with this indiscretion. His language was inappropriate and he should be removed from his position, regardless of how nice or just stupid he might be.
and exactly what behaviour makes someone a racist. I just don't see that it's important in a strictly punitive sense- the punishment should be for what someone has done, rather than what someone 'is'. Does that make sense?
we all want to be healthy