Who's A Racist Then?

There's been a big hue and cry in the press about some guy in the stands calling the English cricketer Monty Panesar (Sikh, beard, turban and all) a 'stupid Indian.' Some say that's not racist, because calling someone an 'Indian' is not racist, but the guy is English, not Indian and bringing up his ethnic roots is surely an attempt to separate him from the rest of the squad and then mock him with the 'stupid' remark. In that context, separating him based on his ethnicity, it is a racist statement. In actual fact the guy went on further claiming Monty can't speak English, so he would need to say it in Indian (mind you, there's no such language as Indian, just as there's no such language as Iraqi, or Australian).

What is an acceptable insult at a sporting event? If Monty was called a 'stupid poofter' I doubt we'll hear much about it. We can still bash gays. We can call him a 'stupid prick' but certainly we'll get dirty looks if we call him a 'stupid cunt.' The male genitalia is open for insult, but not the females. I recall a few years ago an Aboriginal player in the AFL complained being called a 'black cunt.' The perpetrator denied calling him black-I fail to recollect what he claimed, but some women wrote in asking why denigrating a skin colour is considered bad, but calling someone a 'cunt' acceptable? We often make fun of women at sporting events - 'he's a big girl's blouse' might be acceptable on account of it being a depiction, but what about 'he runs like a girl' or 'at this rate we should all wear skirts and play in high heels' (Steve Bruce). Is that acceptable?

I'm starting to think that everything in this regard is contextual. I can happily call my friend from KL a 'west malaysian imperialist pig' and he can counter that I should live on the ground rather than a tree and we'll just have a laugh, just as a lot of Black (African-American should 'Black' now start becoming offensive) rappers call each other 'niggers.' But I grew up going to matches calling the ref a 'pukima punya semenanjung' and while there's no doubt the refs were a bunch of 'pukimas' I really should not be referring to their place of birth. Ultimately, I should not insult a person's origins as I would not like it heaped upon me. Yet the 'pukima' statement would be considered offensive by some women (not least by the refs' mums)but I consider passable as I would calling Heskey a donkey, lest the RSPCA complain. We all have our standards, but what is acceptable?

Most will agree racist statements are out, so no black so-and-so, but say Indian and Nigerian so-and-so and it starts getting a bit less clear. Though certainly calling someone a French so-and so is these days clearly an insult in football as it intimates that they are soft, whingers, and divers, no thanks to the generalisations of people like Pires (Spanish mum, Portuguese dad!!).

Women, gays, fat people, dumb people? Can I call Frank Lampard fat without offending some fat guy next to me? Or say that Ade Akinbiyi is 'fucking blind' when he misses another sitter - will a blind person take umbrage to my assertion that blind people can't score open goals? Can I continue calling Van Nistelroy 'horse-face?' or intimate that Graeme Le Saux might prefer the company of men?

Context is everything, isn't it? Tough call to make sometimes....


  1. mm...really no comment on this racial slur debate. i try not to bring up one even with close friends.

    anyway, juz read bbc, gerrard finally spoke out that he prefered playing in the centre. he used to speak for benitez, saying team is the priority yada yada. but if he's not playing efficiently in that position, that means it's not good for the team, is it?

    any updates for that in ur blog?

  2. will do sir!!!
    Interesting you won't even bring up this topic, coming from malaysia where racial slurs fly thick and fast...I thought everyone would have a view.

  3. ah...actually i didnt mean that i'm not interested in this topic, hell i am! :) what i meant was i wouldn't call my mates by names like d*rty *ndian, or musl*m p*g things like this, even if we're very close. dunno lar, maybe i'm just not sporting enough lol

    maybe becoz as a minority ethnic in msia, i've been a victim of racial discrimination INDIRECTLY, so i hope it wouldn't happen anywhere in this world.

    oh, many ppl didn't know about racial discrimination in msia. one night while walking home after having a few drinks with shaz, i chat with an aussie and he thought malaysia was a paradise until he learnt the racial discrimination situation from me

  4. Yup, racial intolerance is a real issue in Malaysia often swept under the carpet. What do you expect from a nation where the major political parties are based on race and religion? And thank your lucky stars you're Sabahan-imagine being from west malaysia with all the endemic racism there!!

  5. thank you, lucky star, xoxoxo

    that's why i've never been a racial discrimination directly in sabah, not that i can remember.

    my dad did, and it almost costs his life. one day not long after the 13th may incident, my dad was driving in his mini and a malay kid ran into his car. ya, orang langgar kereta, bukan kereta langgar orang. and the kid passed out. a bunch of malay guys started chasing my dad, more followed, some in bikes. my dad told himself that he'd be dead if he step out of the car, he sped off to the nearest police station.

    just before he entered the station, a guy grabbed his arm and said to him "kau mau lari kah?!" to whom he replied "saya mau lapor polis!"

    my dad was shaking in the police station, the police was very kind to my dad and didn't show any sign of greed. my dad was not in the wrong position in the first place but he treat the cop some duit kopi just to make sure he handle the case properlly coz his life is on the line.

    scarry, isn't it? not ur fault in the first place and they're chasing after u.....in gangs!

  6. oh, my dad's from johor. not sure that happened in johor or other part of west msia

  7. I suppose the only question I raise about your dad's incident is whether the mob was acting out of anger about the kid lying on the road or was it fuelled by racial hatred? We can't always generalise about these things, but certainly in those moments one does not ask, but act!

    My dad was very nicely flying in to KL from KK on 13 May 1969 for an athletics meet. The entire Sabah contingent was met at the airport by the police and they spent their time in KL locked up in the police station for their own safety!!

    Not many know but Mahathir was certainly an instigator of those riots-certainly I'm not accusing him of starting it; that would be a lie but he was one of those fanning the flames. Read the "Malay Dilemma" lately? It'll give you a good spin on Mahathir's views and why he was for a while, kicked out of UMNO.