Black Eyed Peas members apl.de.ap, will.i.am, and Taboo. Picture: Richard Dobson
Black Eyed Peas members apl.de.ap, will.i.am, and Taboo. Picture: Richard Dobson

Why playing the race card does more harm than good

There was that time that I wrote a column that was critical of the royal family and among the hate mail that I received for my trouble was one message which read simply "Irish pig!"

Had I been subjected to a racist slur? Perhaps, but I was laughing too much to care in the same way that I laughed at Irish jokes and Italian jokes and Jewish jokes in those days when people still told them.

I also laughed at the British television series Till Death Us To Part in which actor Warren Mitchell played the raving, ranting racist xenophobe Alf Garnett, whom writer Johnny Speight said he created to expose racism, and laughed at John Cleese in Fawlty Towers as he abused the hopelessly inefficient Spanish porter Manuel.

I'd be spared the laughs now because these programs - a dusky Peter Sellers doing his trademark Indian accent in the 1968 comedy classic The Party anyone? - would be howled down as racist.

The Black Eyed Peas musicianwill.i.am has accused a Qantas flight attendant of racism. Picture: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
The Black Eyed Peas musicianwill.i.am has accused a Qantas flight attendant of racism. Picture: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

It is now fashionable to "call out" racism and musician will.i.am is the latest to do so, accusing a Qantas cabin attendant of it on a domestic flight last week.

Cries of racism are becoming the default setting for non-white people whenever things don't go their way.

If we are to believe Mr will.i.am, the Qantas employee surveyed the passengers, saw that he was an African-American and decided to give him a hard time.

Flight Attendants Association of Australia secretary Teri O'Toole said the problem arose because the musician refused to stow his laptop.

"A flying laptop could cause serious injury to another passenger or crew member. It seems like a pretty simple request (to stow a laptop for landing) and it's there to protect passengers," Ms O'Toole said.

The musician's followers dutifully reached for their keyboards and labelled Qantas a "white supremacist airline".

Basketball star Ben Simmons cried "racism" when he claimed he was refused entry to the Crown Casino in Melbourne because of his dark skin.

The real story is that he refused to show ID. He's famous, after all.

In a statement, the casino said "Crown's internal security policy requires our security officers to check identification of those persons they believe to be under the age of 25, this is an enhanced safeguard to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is permitted entry to the Casino Floor as required by Law. The group subsequently provided identification and were permitted entry".

Ben Simmons’ Instagram post after being denied entrance to Crown Casino Melbourne. Picture: Instagram
Ben Simmons’ Instagram post after being denied entrance to Crown Casino Melbourne. Picture: Instagram

Racism? Doesn't sound like it.

The problem is that the constant employment of the R word in an attempt by people to claim victimhood tends to make people highly sceptical of any claim of racial discrimination.

If you miss out on a job, it's because of racism, not because you were hopelessly underqualified. If you haven't got a big house and car to match, it because of white supremacists.

There are those people who hide behind their race. They are rude, abusive, insensitive, arrogant and uncaring of those around them but presume they can get away with it because if anyone complains, they will accuse them of racism.

They do the cause of equality no good and there are many, I would suggest, who are heartily sick and tired of it.

mike@parkinpr.com.au



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