Friday, July 31, 2015

Adam Goodes noted

Of course, the Australian sport that I have the least possible interest in (well, apart from cage boxing, I suppose) is Aussie Rules Football, but it's impossible not to comment on the Adam Goodes story.

It seems to me that the on the "this boo-ing has gotten out of control" side is every current AFL player, the management of every AFL team, the AFL management itself, every single politician who has commented on it, including Coalition members such as the down-to-earth indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion,  the editorial team at The Australian, as well as everyone down to the cleaning staff at the ABC and The Guardian (but the latter is not unexpected, of course.)

On the "Adam Goodes is a sook and ought to suck it up and he started it all anyway" side is a newspaper columnist who lost a court case about race and has spent a decade or more downplaying racism as an issue to a silly extent; an ex AFL player or two; the intellectual giant of cricket Shane Warne; an economist from South Africa who had never even heard of "ape" being used in a racial context; and a group of right wing columnists who are most notable for despising Julia Gillard and not believing in climate change.

I don't know - I got a feeling in my bones about which side on this might have the better "cred".


Not Trampis said...

bloody hell I am with Sinclair Davidson and Andrew Bolt.

I need those blue pills

Steve said...

It's a worrying sign indeed, Homer.

Steve said...

Just a reminder of SD's commentary from Catallaxy:

But is it racist? Many individuals are having a go at me on twitter for questioning whether calling an Indigenous man an “ape” is actually racist and not just rude. For many people it seems self-evident that is is racist. But nobody can say how or why. The “best” story I’ve heard is that Social Darwinism ranks “people of colour” below animals.

That remains, to my mind, the most amazing thing he has ever written. He could, of course, have made the defence that the girl may well not have intended that "ape" carry a racially motivated meaning; but to say that people have to explain to him how it could be racist - incredible.

Not Trampis said...

Steve I wrote about this.

In my time when I went to Thugby League matches people called people apes because they were hairy not because of their skin.
South Sydney had quite a few aborginals in their side and I never heard the term used against their players. A lot of other terms but not ape.

It was usually reserved for hairy tossers which applies to Goodes!

Steve said...

Yes, I understand that argument, and it might well be that the girl did not intend a racial element. But as you can see, SD was not merely arguing that.

Furthermore, just as with the famous incident of Bert Newton calling Ali a "boy": if you accidentally make a racially charged insult, you still apologise. In this case, Goode said he was called by simian names before, including "monkey" and "ape" I think. There is no reason, in my view, to say that he is wrong in seeing a racial element to this repeated insult - especially with "monkey", as the "he's just a hairy bloke" defence does not really hold up with respect to "monkey".

Steve said...

I might add - I actually don't disagree with SD that the way the girl was treated on the grounds was over the top - the police questioning without an adult, for example. But, of course, Goodes was not responsible for that. He was also careful and moderate in what he said about the girl the next day.

Why should Goodes wear the blame for that?

Not Trampis said...

I really do not think the girl should have been treated like that.

Let us assume the expression was racist. did she know exactly what she was saying? Should have she been taken out of the stadium in the circumstances she was. Surly a quiet talk about what is racist and why it is wrong is the way to go.

Monkey and Ape are interchangeable. They both have a lot of hair.

Steve said...

Homer, Goodes himself said he accepted that the girl did not realise the racist aspect of it.

The phrase "hairy ape" is sometimes used with respect to hairy men.

I do not recall ever hearing of a hairy man being referred to as a "monkey."

On the other hand, I have seen umpteen examples of Obama and his wife being photoshopped, and referred to, as simians. It is also of some notoriety, for more than a decade, that monkey taunts were used against black players in European football.

We can agree that the way the AFL and police detained the girl for two hours without her grandmother was over the top.

But I will not agree that Goodes himself was wrong to see a racist motivation and point her out.

Steve said...

By the way, the follow up to the incident, including Goodes' call to people to not blame the girl, and his telephone call with her, in which she apologised and which he accepted with grace, is all detailed in this column in yesterday's Oz:

That the girl was the subject of a media attention frenzy was not Goodes' fault, either, in my books.

There is no evidence that I know of that the girl herself claims to be scarred by the incident, although clearly her Mum is still angling for an apology. Any apology should come from the police or AFL for interviewing the girl without an adult from her family present. But whether the girl herself is expecting it - seems questionable.

Not Trampis said...

Neither monkey nor ape have ever been used as racist taunts in sporting games I have gone to.
As I said previously Ape was directed to hairy people.

We live in Australia not any other country so what they think is racist is not pertinent.

Are we selective racists here. We boo Goodes but no other Aborigine. how come?

Steve said...

Yes, it is entirely possible to be selectively racist, just as it is to be selectively insulting to homosexuals for being homosexual. Do you think the commenters at Catallaxy refer to the homosexuality of Tim Wilson the same way as they do for David Marr?

Not Trampis said...

You seem to know moire about what occurs at Catallaxy than I.

Sorry but I fail to see how anyone who boos Goodes is racist when they do not boo any other aborigine.

It does make little sense.

Steve said...

The problem may be with the use of the word "racist" here.

The more careful way of putting it is whether he is being the subject of racial insult or racially based bullying.

If we define it more carefully like that, surely you can see that someone can be generally "not a racist" (have aboriginal friends, not boo every aboriginal player on the field) yet chose to make racially based insults against an aboriginal he or she doesn't like.