So, it started like this:
... give it up for the rich racist guy 32 minutes ago
icedmaple @trohman This is all being completely twisted. A guy can't poke fun at his own mate using a nickname he gave himself? Weak. 20 minutes ago
trohman @icedmaple yea, but he also dressed up as an SS soldier for halloween. I think he has some issues past the point of just poking fun. 16 minutes ago
icedmaple @trohman Granted, that was a really, really dumb thing to do, but it's a different context completely. 15 minutes ago
icedmaple @trohman I'm going to elaborate on this, actually: I understand why you'd be pissed off by his behaviour, but I spent years involved >< with the British military, and there is an entirely different attitude relating to acceptability between soldiers/airmen/etc. >< In this case he used a term most deem racist. He could have called him fat, or ginger, or a Paddy, and it would still have been >< with the same level of malicious intent: none. The guy himself used the nickname 'Paki', just as I call myself a "wop" because >< my father is Italian. Yes, he has done some horrendously offensive stuff, such as the SS uniform, but as far as I can tell his >< biggest flaw is to be too thick to think his actions through, or realise that he might hurt people's feelings. I still think >< that even if he has truly been a complete pillock, there is no real racism to it, just very, very, very poor judgement and >< lot, in this case, of deliberate media melodramatics. His friend didn't complain - who has the right to say how he should feel? 3 minutes ago
Now, if you're here, you probably know I adore Joe. But this is such a media-manipulated way to look at this that I want to smash my head on the nearest hard surface.
Before we get wound up - of course
he probably took the Nazi uniform thing really personally, and I appreciate and understand that; Harry most definitely had a serious, serious judgement failure there (even if the party was something along the lines of 'Imperialists & Natives' themed - which, is a bit of a crass concept in itself - and it was an in-joke with his friends; because let's face it, we all take the piss out of the Royal Family for being Germans and/or Nazis. It's a comedy TV staple). But this is a completely different context and situation.
Harry was talking about a good friend
who had addressed or nicknamed himself as 'Paki'
. He did so as a joke, in a situation where he almost certainly assumed only people who would 'get' the joke would be privvy to it. It's worth noting that this whole thing happened THREE YEARS AGO and he's had time to grow up since then. He's acknowledged that for a lot of people it could be deemed offensive, but has stressed that in the context it was used, it was not intended in such a way.
It's like me calling Julie a 'Paddy' or a 'Mick' (which, oh hi - is actually used in the title of a FOB song, Joe, even if it is apparently a quote), which I do on a regular basis. She just comes back with something about kicking the English out of her country. As I said to Joe - being half-Italian/Sicilian - I regularly refer to myself as a "wop", which could be considered an offensive and old-fashioned word for Italians.
I also come from a background where I was involved with the British military in my teens; for four years, I hung out with cadets of all ethnicities and backgrounds, I stayed on military bases and was instructed by real current and former members or the British Armed Forces. In that environment, the rules are different
. Social conventions are different. People call each other fat, or ginger, or stupid, or poofs, or Paki's or black, and it's really not in the same way it's used on Civvy Street. It doesn't hold the same depth of connotation - it's broadly accepted and just a matter of bravado and familiarity. It's like saying, "Your mom!" to your own sister. These people probably called Harry a "rich, ginger prick" themselves. If not worse.
Unless you've been around people who have called each other things like this, in this sort of context, it may well be hard for people to understand or rationalise - but given that the relationship between military personnel is so different from what most of us are used to, it shouldn't really be an outsider's place to judge.
The boy in question did not complain at being referred to as a 'Paki' - he didn't find it offensive, because, again, it was apparently a term or name he'd used for himself. Who the hell are the rest of us to judge what a guy says about his friend, in affectionate jest, in said friend's presence, if the friend is not offended by it?
In the very same video, Harry takes the piss out of HIS OWN GRANDMOTHER. Come on
. Can any of this video honestly be taken seriously at all?
As for the "raghead" aspect - please
. He's a soldier. He's expected to shoot and kill, or guide airstrikes/mortar attacks on this very enemy
and people freak out because he used the term "raghead"? It's a nickname for an opposing force - a force most of us would deem 'terrorists' and who are believed to be behind the attacks which killed thousands of people. No one complained when we called the Nazis "Jerries" because their helmets looked like jerry pots (that's an old word for potty, to you and me).
The biggest problem Harry has, in my opinion, is being too thick to have the foresight to think his actions and how they will be perceived/impact other people through. I don't believe this kid is any more racist than the rest of the average population; I just think he's insensitive and dim.
Personally, I like the kid and I think his dedication to his role in the military, and to pulling his own weight in said role, is admirable.
The ultimate issue here, is that hating or maliciously disparaging ANYONE based on their race, creed, sexuality or appearance is not acceptable
; but racism is largely in the intent, not in the words themselves. Affectionately teasing your own friends without intending any malice is not racism, it's boys being boys, even if it is a dumbass thing to do - whether you're third in line to the throne or not.