Sunday, January 11, 2009

I have to ask...

..and maybe I'm completely out of touch with public feeling here, but is "Paki" really such an offensive term? It's just Pakistani abbreviated, surely? Is it so different to "Brit"? It may have been used in an ignorant way in the past but for our generation does that have any relevance?

Of course the question is posed in relation to the headline story on the BBC now (more important than a couple of hundred people dying in Indonesia apparently), that Prince Harry supposedly used the expression in a video diary, as the nickname for a Pakistani friend of his in his army troup.

I would strongly suggest that it is in fact the very groups kicking up such a fuss about this story that are the ones inciting hatred and racism in this country, rather than the subject who had a Muslim friend and was referring to him by his nickname.

Ramadhan Foundation, the News of the World, Aki Nawaz, and all those who jumped on the bandwagon, dividing society by race in our beautiful multi-coloured country: Shame on you all!

More generally, I think the point here is that people latch on to descriptors both when searching for terms to insult and for affectionate names for people. For whatever inconsistent logic some of these are acceptable - Fat, Ginger, Northern, and some are not - Black, Welsh, the dreaded "n word", the last being acceptable for black people, and indeed used as a term of endearment, but not for whites? When I was in Botswana, one of my (black) friends there said that I was the only white guy that was allowed to call him "the n word", although he did then caution that I shouldn't say it too loudly in bars in case I was lynched!

Here's my suggestion - reclaim these words! South Park was right on when they differentiated between certain words and the language of hate in general. People will always find words to represent their hate or stupidity, let's pull some back from the ignorants who seeks to divide our society.

Of course, I'm white, so I can't do this (damn ignorant racist by birth of course)! According to South Park, Jesse Jackson is the global leader of black communities, so I guess it's for him to start this movement! Perhaps Amir Khan can kick things off here, or if not, well, I'm sure Gabrielle Union and I can make a start together on integration :)

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