Monday, January 12, 2009

The Prince and the P word

A serious posting for once.

I've just been listening to a radio phone-in program where on the one hand a number of listeners (who were probably almost entirely not Asian) were saying that Prince Harry's use of the P word to describe an asian colleague in the army was not insulting nor racist and the whole affair had been blown out of proportion, whilst on the other hand a number of Asian people were saying this was an extremely derogatory and racist word being used by a member of the royal family and it scandalous that is has happened.

I myself am a Chinese person living in Britain, and I'm not particularly bothered if someone uses the term "chinky" in my direction. That however does not mean I think the word is not insulting onr racist; that is just a reflection of how personally sensitive I am to that word. And I am only one Chinese person.

This is surely stating the obvious but the people who should decide if a word is racist, derogatory and insulting or not should be the people on the receiving end. If they deem it to be racist and derogatory then IT IS. Just because some black people have reclaimed the 'N' word does not give everyone else in the universe (especially members of the royal family who supposedly have been given the best education in the world) carte blanche to use what terms they think are acceptable to describe peoples of other ethnic origins. The prince has issued an apology, and whether it was sincere or not is something only Harry knows himself.

However people of Britain who want to defend the guy, dismiss this whole thing as "banter" and think this whole affair has been blown out of proportion do not know what it is like to be on the receiving end of vicious racist abuse.

1 comment:

The_Editrix said...

I like your blog, it's witty and funny.

About this particular post: I too think it was blown out of proportion but I can relate to your feelings, the more as a member of the royal family ought to watch what he says even more than an ordinary man.

However, you seem to imply (I may be wrong) that only non-whites are at the receiving end of such racist remarks. That is not true as many of my fellow Germans who are forced to rub shoulders with an increasingly aggressive Muslim minority will tell you. I guess it is the same at other places as well, but this is the one where I am living.

Keep up the good work!