Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is discrimination relative?

We've just had a debate here at work that has really angered me.

It started because somebody sent an email around the agency asking about our opinions on the 'Chk chk boom' news report.

For the record, my opinion is as follows;

There are some commonalities in all media stories that get traction with young girls as the face of the story – the girls are all hot.

Other examples in history -

1995 when
Anna Wood died of taking ecstasy
2006 LonleyGirl15 work for the New York Times
2009 Heidi and
The Man in the Jacket

The only reason this has taken off is that Claire is good looking. Sure she’s made some semi-racist comments, exposed the real exploits of young girls to worried parents across the nation and epitomized the ‘bogan’ but who has she really offended? AND, I also think that in general fat/skinny wogs have probably made enough cat-calls at her (ala “hey baby wanna root”) to justify her colloquial description of them.

I would argue that the people who are kicking up a stink - the middle-upper class white people - have taken offence to the ‘fat wog/skinny wog’ statements because they don’t want the world’s impression of Australia to be Claire.

Moral of the story is we have a winning formula – innocence + pretty girl = immediate publicity.

There was a bit of backlash to my opinion from an English guy. He insinuated that all Australian's are racist and that it is the fault of our media.

So this got me thinking - are Australian's racist or is it simply a question of relativity?

I, being half Maltese, have been called a wog many a time and take no offense to it. In fact, I am quite proud of my heritage. Even public opinion says that wog is not always a racist term. On top of this when you look at some of our pop-culture - Fat Pizza, Wog Boy - you realize that even the 'wogs' themselves embrace this stereotype.

So here I am left feeling insulted that this English guy has called Australian's discriminatory and I think, "We don't have a naked girl on page 3 of our national tabloid...." and if we did, there would be uproar. But in the UK, there is no hesitation to sell The Sun (with naked page 3 girl) to dirty men, kids or women who may all be subjected to an overt act of discrimination.

So my conclusion - discrimination is relative and if you can't adapt or take on the nuances of the place in which you are living then choose somewhere else where you can.

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