Wednesday, 14 January 2009

My and Prince Charles' Sooty racist shame

Following Prince Charles' national humilation and shame for nicknaming an Indian friend "Sooty", it is time I came clean. We had a cat, when I was young, called..."Sooty". Because of his black fur. Black fur! Oh, I'm nothing more than a swivel-eyed bigot, I see that now. Have me sent to one of Harriet Harman's re-education camps now, for my own good, please.
Multi-millionaire Mr Dhillon (Prince Charles' Sooty - as it were) has said of the fuss:

I enjoy being called Sooty by my friends who I am sure universally use the name as a term of affection with no offence meant or felt. The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice and both of his sons have always been most respectful.

But Show Racism the Red Card have said:

In our view there's no friendly banter where racism is concerned. Members of the Royal Family, with all the money that's been spent on their education, should be aware that calling people 'Sooty' is unacceptable.

So Mr Dhillon enjoys being called Sooty by his friends, and SRTRC think that his friends calling him Sooty is unacceptable. Why do they think that? Well, presumably, the logic of their posiiton is that they are in a better position to judge whether Mr Dhillon's friends are acting in a racist way towards him than he is.

Strikes me that condescending attitude smacks of...racism.


JG said...

Think this is a tricky one.

Don't think your cat analogy stands up, funny though it is, as black cats haven't suffered centuries of oppression and even enslavement for the colour of their fur. And black cats anyway aren't singled out - grey cats are often called 'Smokey', ginger ones 'Marmalade' and so on.

Re Prince Charles's friend 'Sooty', it's all about the context really. Maybe 'Sooty' calls Charles 'Whitey' which might make it a bit better. Or maybe it's a self-conscious joke, showing awareness of the racist connotations of the term (e.g. Spurs' fans use of 'yids' applied to themselves). But all we really know about this at the moment is that the heir to the throne is calling the (presumably only) black person in the polo club 'Sooty'. 'Affectionately' or not is irrelevant I think. Even if Dhillon himself is okay with it, it's still not ideal, as my guess would be that he isn't accustomed to moving in the most enlightened circles. Some women are presumably 'okay' with their partners referring to them as 'the ball and chain' or whatever, but that doesn't mean it's fine.

BJ said...

Clearly (another) case where the answer is to let the market decide. I propose that Mr Dhillon should join a variety of polo clubs and choose to spend his time at the one where he feels most comfortable. A problem will only arise if he's called Snooty, sorry, Sooty (Snooty's my pet name for Charles) in every polo club he goes too. In that case we would have on our hands what is known as a market failure, for which the remedy might be some puritanical and authoritarian bullying by the state, or other well meaning body.

dNo said...

JG - how is it possibly better if he is racist back to Charles surely that is two people being racist instead of one???
Jonny - did you not also have a cat called Sweep because he also was black, the colour of chimney sweeps? Is this offensive to all wedding lucky charm trades, such as bagpipers and heather sellers????

Jonny Mac said...

JG - v thought provoking as ever; see my comments above. Nothing personal when I say "I don't like this"!It is tricky, as you say, more than I suggest above probably - I come back to the fact that I simply don't know what my line would be if his happy, consensual, enjoyed etc nickname was "Nigger".

BJ - hmm, if you're being cheeky young man I may have to be 'puritanical and authoritarian on yo ass', as my dear mother used to say

dNO - super, thank you, except Sweep was of course a girl cat. Bless her.

JG said...

dNo - my point was that if everyone in the polo club has a funny nickname according to the colour of their skin, then it's not necessarily racism is it? But if everyone else gets called Charles, Tarquin, Peregrine etc, and only the black person gets called Sooty, then it's beginning to look a bit more dodgy.