Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thoughts on the Adam Goodes racism furore

Assorted hand-wringers and finger-waggers are having a field day with this case of a thirteen year old girl calling Adam Goodes an ape. But rather than revealing how much racism still pervades society, the episode illustrates how desperate PC types are to puff themselves up with lefteous indignation over things that are basically pretty small beer.

It wasn't like there was a pack of adults hurling explicitly racist epithets at him. You still see that kind of stuff happening in European soccer matches and it's deeply disturbing. But this local furore revolves around one word yelled out by a thirteen year old girl.

People should just take a deep breath, calm down and try to put things in perspective. That line from the schoolyard about stick and stones versus words is worth remembering here.

Kids can be cruel. But they really don't know what they're doing. Goodes himself said as much in his press conference:

She's 13, she's still so innocent, I don't put any blame on her. Unfortunately it's what she hears, the environment she's grown up in that has made her think it's ok to call people names. I can guarantee you right now she would have no idea, you know, how it makes anyone feel by calling them an ape.

Exactly. So why take so much offence?

And then there's the question of what was actually motivating her to utter the insult. Has she called white players apes as well? If so, then how can you be absolutely sure that she was being racist when yelling this term at Goodes in particular? (That said, it seems likely that racism was a factor in this case. But it certainly wasn't clear cut in the way it would have been if she'd used one of those notorious racist insults starting with "n" or "b".)

This politically correct rule that says that terms like ape, monkey and chimp are only racist if hurled at non-whites seems pretty suss to me. (Dubya Bush was often called a chimp, remember. But no one ever said that insult was racist.) Frankly, this double standard seems borderline racist in itself. In it, offence takers insist on racial specificity as much as or more than the offence givers. In this latest footy furore they are the ones most clearly and repeatedly linking simean characteristics with Aboriginality, after all.

This whole story revolves mostly around Goodes's interpretation of what the girl yelled out. You can certainly understand why he was hurt. But there are lots of people with similar backgrounds to Goodes who have met with similar abuse yet simply shrugged it off.

I blame the cult of victimhood built up by the (mostly white) squitterati. They cast indigenous people as victims as often as possible and are overjoyed when they see them publicly expressing their hurt. Makes them feel virtuous, justifies their fat salaries and sells papers, among other things.

My advice to Goodes: Don't play into their hands by being a victim. And I respectfully suggest that if you're cut to the quick because of what some little girl says then you should probably toughen up a tad.

Media hand-wringers purport to be on this noble mission to "stamp out racism". But of course they will never achieve this goal. Sadly, there will always be racism in society. And of course kids will continue to be thoughtless and rude.

A racism free utopia is the last thing they want anyway. If they don't have an excuse to prance around proclaiming their moral superiority and cultural sensitivity they simply won't know what to do with themselves.

What will happen is that their desire to be offended and outraged will become ever more ridiculous and extreme. Eventually it will get to the stage where a baby in a pram throwing a rattle at an indigenous player will be deemed "racist" and provoke a humungous media dummy spit!

Thanks for reading, and if you've enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting me via Ko-fi.


  1. I reckon this whole thing was confected by Goodes, who was looking to take outrage at something to bring attention to himself. The AFL, in trying to manage things, went along with it. How else to explain why it took so long for what the girl actually said to become public. It was eventually going to become public anyway. The AFL had to consult how best to spin things, hence the delay.

  2. What's wrong with being called an Ape? I thought we were all Apes of an advanced sub-species. I seem to remember a book on mankind back a few years called "The Naked Ape".

    1. I've been called an ape myself, by a white Australian female. I shrugged and got on with the rest of my day. Then again, I'm a white Australian male...

  3. The three letter word that stopped a nation.
    It speaks volumes about ugly media obsessions.
    A little girl used an offensive word at an AFL game -
    Stop the game & Stop the Press. We have new human interest story to cover.
    It must otherwise be a saintly game you guys play down there in Victoria.

    In News media the following inversion of reality applies:
    If it bleeds, let it lead, If its smear let us ALL hear.

  4. Wow. And you wonder why the rest of the world views Aussies as racists. I mean what's wrong with a little bit of racism really? Just toughen up. I believe this is National Reconciliation Week. It might serve you well to remind yourself of some of the history involved.

  5. why might calling an aboriginal person an ape be racist? *sigh* Pointless to engage in debate if you can't understand the basics. Like playing chess with a pigeon.