Friday, June 08, 2007

Are you pushing it out...

...you nigger. These were the words that got Emily Parr turfed out of the Big Brother house yesterday. I heard this on Radio 4, shortly before Andy Duncan was castigated by John Humphries for broadcasting it on C4. Double standards ftw, hmm.

Funnily enough, I was working at C4 when I had a similar experience to young Emily. I have some married friends; she's from Grenada, he's from Yorkshire. He calls her 'nig' or 'nigger' all the time.

We were watching some after-dinner porn (as you do) and the thorny question of penis size came up. John Holmes was on screen, and my Yorkshire friend claimed that he was in fact King Dong. 'Nonsense', I replied, 'King Dong is a nigger!' (actually it's a film). All eyes turned to me, and silence reigned for several seconds, broken only by my partner inquiring archly 'what did you say?' 'He's a nigger, you know, a black guy.' I stuttered.

The conversation passed on, but our friendship was never quite as close from that day.

I've blogged about swearing before, and in general I think it's a bit infantile to be offended by rude words, but racially-charged epithets carry a particular connotation, i.e. that the user is themselves a racist. I feel slightly sorry for Emily Parr, as I don't think she meant to be racist, as I did not. I don't think C4 should have thrown her out. Apparently 900 people agree with me, as opposed to 86 that don't.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

UPDATE: spiked online says something sensible about this. Shock. Horror.

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