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....