08
Oct
09

On air: Should we have more of a sense of humour about race?

This act on an Australian TV talent show seems to have offended a lot of people – including an American celebrity on the judging panel. 

jackson jive credit

Jackson Jive first appeared on Channel Nine’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday twenty years ago – and came back this week for a special reunion show.

But Harry Connick Jr was on the judging panel and he wasn’t entertained:

On behalf of my country I know it was done humorously,” he told the show’s host, “but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart.”

Neither were lots of bloggers. You can watch video clips here where a YouTube user has reposted a news report on the controversy: she says “Australia fails to comprehend its own racism“.

But this Australian news site says lots of viewers believe it’s “a storm in a teacup”. Sixty-nine percent of the 30,000 respondents to their online poll said it wasn’t racist.

Are those Australians right to see white people painting their faces black as harmless fun? The country is almost as well known for its multiculturalism as for Australians’ laconic sense of humour.

In the UK this week there’s been more outcry over one of the professional dancers on the hit show “Strictly Come Dancing” saying his female dance partner looked like a “Paki”.

The dancer has apologised, but more fuel was poured on the fire when the show’s octogenarian host Bruce Forsyth seemed to lament the furore.
“We used to have a sense of humour about this. You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing.”

Is one of the best ways to combat racism to get people to laugh about race? Are we too sensitive about issues of race and humour?


176 Responses to “On air: Should we have more of a sense of humour about race?”


  1. October 8, 2009 at 10:06

    Nobody appears to have noticed a far less ambiguous “is this racist or not?” moment from the show.
    I just posted on this here….
    http://notesfromthebartender.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/hey-hey-whats-racist/

    Look at the last video from those three…. in all the subsequent furore, that line of Somers appears to have been forgotten

  2. 2 VictorK
    October 8, 2009 at 10:43

    Offensive: yes. Funny? I don’t see it. Racist? Nonsense.

  3. 3 Kat95
    October 8, 2009 at 11:05

    Well maybe some people find it offensive that people are now discriminating against Aussies, that is, by calling us racist. Lol. But anyway, Hey Hey is one of the few television programs that the entire family can watch and enjoy, now everyones having a go at it… What’s with these people i read about who are calling it so “disgusting” ???? No harm was meant, how the hell did it offend?
    Yes, Harry Connick Jr had every right to state his opinion, the host made an apology seeing that he had found the act racist. We don’t pay attention to skin colour here, Australia is an incredibly multicultural nation [OBVIOUSLY].
    I can’t believe it has caused such a big deal, i think people just try to make big deals out of the little things sometimes. If people truly were offended, they have their apology and knowledge that no offence whatsoever was intended.
    I’m apalled that so many people think Australia is racist now…
    This is just not right, even i can tell that and i’m a kid.
    Grow up.

  4. 4 Rex
    October 8, 2009 at 11:29

    I am not offended by this. The world has become too PC!

    • 5 spheriscope
      October 8, 2009 at 18:35

      Maybe, but aren’t the aborigines in Australia oppressed? Is this a reflection of the attitude that is oppressing them now?

  5. October 8, 2009 at 11:30

    Yeah that’s very offensive. It was extremely ugly to watch.

    It would have been even more offensive 20 years ago; I can only imagine.

    Comedy like that could be expected more from the 1920s and 30s.

    Intention is irrelevant. The result is that people are offended, and if you can’t empathise with the offence, you’re just going to have to trust that it is offensive.

    • 7 Kat95
      October 8, 2009 at 12:07

      What part of it was offensive? It was a skit, random guys with painted faces sung and danced…

      • 8 Josiah Soap
        October 8, 2009 at 12:57

        @ Kat – It wasn’t offensive, but as T points out (and is very sad) its got nothing to do with your intention but whose feelings you hurt. T suggests empathizing with the people we offended, but most of us are not that pathetic and sensitive. These days it is fashionable to be a victim and it appears we must pander to everyone who could possibly get their feelings hurt. Eventually we will be afraid to say or do anything because of PC and will end up living our lives like humourless robots.

      • 9 Adrien Beckford
        October 8, 2009 at 19:55

        A similar skit was done on the Brazilian channel Globo, by premier satirists, Casseta e Planeta. The potential for offence was far greater in that instance and I, a black person, found it incredibly funny.

        I myself have never had any derogatory epithet spat at me, or met any other considerable instance of racism. This will, of course, lead to me being less suspicious as to whether what is said in jest is in fact awash in racist undertones.

        But, obviously, there are still people out there who have to live in extremely discriminatory environments. There are also those who, whilst not the targets of discrimination themselves, have seen the ravages of it, and are very eager to see it done away with. For people who are judged daily by their skin colour, its rather hard to separate insults born of deep-seated hatred from a mere joke.

        Kat, you say you’re a kid and based on your statements, I surmise that you’re Australian. You have no experience of an era where murdering people merely because of their skin colour was the order of the day; where skits done in black face were used to highlight/assert the inferiority of a people.

        So, its not about a lack of a sense of humour, its about having a long memory and open wounds. Until race is completely a non-issue, there’ll always be uproar about these things. A little delicacy is all that is required. That said, I would be hard-pressed to find this racist. Its rather boring, but not racist.

    • 10 NSC London
      October 12, 2009 at 16:49

      “Intention is irrelevant. The result is that people are offended, and if you can’t empathise with the offence, you’re just going to have to trust that it is offensive.”

      Oh, ok, then by your absurd logic anything is offensive. In fact, your comment deeply offended me, and if you can’t comprehend that you’ll just have to trust that it is true.

  6. 11 Mark Sandell
    October 8, 2009 at 11:45

    Video response on Youtube here

    As this blogger says, it seems to be coalescing around one camp saying it is grossly offenive- end of story, and other saying it was meant in jest and people are “too PC”

  7. 12 Nat
    October 8, 2009 at 12:11

    I have to say, I was shocked when I saw this that it had actually been broadcast! I couldn’t say for sure whether it is out and out racism or not but my gut instinct tells me it is! In either case, it is without a doubt highly uncomfortable viewing and shows a severe lack of sophistication and wit if this is being branded as humor!

  8. 13 Franc
    October 8, 2009 at 12:26

    Its obvious that people react too quick to such issues that to find out the background. The Jackson Jive skit members were an Anglo-Celtic, a Sri Lankan, an Indian, a Greek, an Irish-Italian and a Lebanese. So by this rekoning, if your an asian, europeans or middle eastern living in Australia, then you a racist. What a load of crap!!!! Whether you find it funny or not, labeling it as racist is stupid and ignorant. Maybe we should ask Connick Jr about his MadTV skit a few years ago when he backened his face for comedy.

  9. 14 Josiah Soap
    October 8, 2009 at 12:50

    More politcal correctness. Its a joke and its funny. If you don’tthink its funny then don’t watch it. I’ll never watch Harry Connick Jr again. There’s nothing racist about this, but these days people are on a witch hunt to find bigots everywhere, whether they exist or not. It does however seem quite alright to make fun of christians and uppity white people!

  10. 15 patti in cape coral
    October 8, 2009 at 13:19

    Parodies of famous people are as American as apple pie. To me they seemed to be poking fun at themselves, as well as the Jackson five. That being said, it was uncomfortable to watch, but I figured the Australians probably see it differently and don’t mean any offense at all. The host was very nice in extending his apology and allowing Harry to talk, and I thought Harry accepted the apology very graciously and explained that he understood that this was meant to be humorous, not at all offensive. All in all, they were an example to us all on how to resolve a problem. How can you judge all Australians on this one incident, really a non-incident?

  11. 16 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 13:56

    For some reason, in Tropic Thunder, the blackface used by Robert Downey Jr. didn’t seem so bad, it was realistic. But stuff like this looks comical, made to make black people look like clowns or something.

  12. 17 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 13:59

    One thing about the political correctness issue, is that this only makes the news if white/westerners do it. There was no media uproad over this japanese guy in blackface impersonating Louis Armstrong….



    • 18 Josiah Soap
      October 8, 2009 at 18:55

      Steve, thats what political correctness is. Its not stopping people saying bad things etc about others. PC is identifying one group as oppressors and others as victims. Anything even slightly risque by an oppressor group is hateful and racist. The other way round its called showing your freedom from oppression or self pride in one’s group. Remember only white heterosexual males are bigots.

  13. 19 VictorK
    October 8, 2009 at 14:01

    “We” being? Majorities? Not their ox being gored. Minorities? Depends on how insulting the humour about them is. If these performers had been realistically made-up to look like Blacks that would have been one thing. But how obtuse must Australians – and others – be to think that shoe polish and mega-afro wigs are OK?

    I’ve no doubt that any racist sites that picked up this story would delight in the offensiveness of it, trying to justify it off as just ‘humour’.

    Nothing wrong with a little commonsense and courtesy, even at the expense of humour.

  14. 20 Jennifer
    October 8, 2009 at 14:06

    Re: “On behalf of my country I know it was done humorously,” he told the show’s host, “but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart.”

    Overreacting! This is just silly….

  15. October 8, 2009 at 14:11

    Once again these self appointed quangos have jumped up to try and make themselves important. They are the rascists by making an comment said or action done in fun and for general entertainment racist. Not long ago a film featuring two black guys the wayan brothers making up as white people, surely this is in the same context but I didn’t hear a peep from these self appointed self important do gooders. Anton Du Beke said Paki as a regard to the darkness of the tan he could have said Pakistani or Indian in no way was this a racist slur just an observation. The Black and White Minstrel show was the most successful entertainment show of its age. The make up was a tribute to the brilliance of the Black nations singing ability not as an insult. Robinsons Golliwog was a trade mark unfortunately children growing up with it including me referred to coloured people as golliwogs not as an insult but as a reference point remember in the 50’s many of us had not seen coloured people to any large extent. I accept there were people who used it offensively but that will never change regardless. In fact by the 70’s many of my mates were black, asian, greek and we called each other names in jest without fear and certainly not racist, and it is time we lightened up and started to look seriously at these so called anti racist anmd just what problems they are creating.

    • 22 Linda in Italy
      October 8, 2009 at 15:29

      Sorry David, have to disagree about the B & W Minstrels, this was seriously cringe-making. It should have been called the White and White MS and I have a feeling that this whole business of so-called Minstrel Shows, which started in the States, with white men pretending to be black and singing what was perceived as “black” music was because of the colour bar in the popular culture of the day.
      Similarly, early US white rock ‘n roll, Elvis et al., was the acceptable white face of the Blues, despite the fact that most of these guys absolutely murdered it!

  16. 23 scmehta
    October 8, 2009 at 14:13

    Only the tolerant and the forgiving are capable of enjoying jokes on self and others. The sense of humor is always reciprocating; you just cannot laugh at any humor/joke and enjoy, if the you don’t see the others joining in and enjoying with you.

  17. 24 Monica in DC
    October 8, 2009 at 14:38

    I am not sure I was exactly offended, nor did I see it as necessarily racist, more like a tribute. However… blackface in the US tends to be considered racist and considering our history regarding race issues, I stand by Harry Connick Jr. He is from Louisiana, the South… bad history there especially. I understand that Australia is not the US, however.

    I do think that people should lighten up in general but he is entitled to his opinion. Frankly, he should be more embarrassed he went on what appears to be like the old Gong Show!!

  18. 25 nora
    October 8, 2009 at 14:54

    Connick Jr. is a son of New Orleans and has bonded with his fellow citizens through tragedy. He is a voice of the New South and I really like it that he expressed his discomfort honestly. I like that there was a heartfelt apology. Life is imperfect and the main players seem to have worked it out on the spot rather peacefully.

    I have to say I can’t bring myself to watch it. I am not ready to watch minstrel style blackface Aussie Jackson impersonators at 6AM….call me weak. I don’t do Elvis impersonators before noon either.

    Michael Jackson is with Elvis now but his kids are right here on terra firma and they are very bright, so it would be nice if they caught a break from the freak show and got a nice chance to grieve and then come out into the world.

  19. 26 mohammad
    October 8, 2009 at 14:56

    Racism IS hilarious!
    I have fond memories of watching Luney Tunes as a child, and watching big-lipped, dark-skinned monkey-dancing characters clad in loincloths making fools of themselves chasing after bugs bunny.
    Hilarious

    And who doesn’t love being chased around with bats the day after 9-11, being called a sand-nigger and terrorist! And when I visited my best friend (who also happens to be desi) in the hospital, we both had a good chuckle knowing that the white boys who beat him to within inches of his life would get away scott free!

    I also have fond memories of always being “randomly” selected at security checkpoints in airports. If only my luck would transfer over to lottery! Violating my personal space, and my right to travel within my own country. Hilarious.

  20. 27 paul8222
    October 8, 2009 at 15:04

    Looks like 1st post at the top by Dr. Throttling is right. You colonials may find residual humour in it but one suspects it is not PC in the UK.

    It does tend to belittle or demean by skin colour.

    Ask the Director of Programmes BBC1 if he would like to rerun an episode of the Black & White Minstrel show?

  21. 28 Andrew in Australia
    October 8, 2009 at 15:12

    Let’s face it Michael Jackson went from being black to a white appearance so parody of him seems to describe what he did and not intended as a racial slur to African Americans.

    More than this, using the Borat example, is it OK for a white person to parody another European (it seems so and box-office receipts have proven that point) but to parody one of darker skin tone is considered racist.

    As for the self-righteous Connick Jnr. I am not entirely familiar with the context of his appearance in black face, but footage exists of his efforts at parody in black face. So why does he hold the moral high ground when it is apparent he is an extreme hypocrite for having done the same himself? And how many black actors and commedians in the US itself – for you US commentators – have applied the makeup and passed themselves off as Caucasians for laughs? Isn’t that racist based on the criteria surrounding this instance?

    And it should be noted the people who were involved in that skit were Indian and unless I’m mistaken they have dark skin also.

    But all in all we are getting to sensitive about humour and race and crying foul all too often when the situation certainly doesn’t warrant such a reaction. There was no intent to deliberately denigrate black people as a whole, but to send-up Michael Jackson.

    P.S. Mr Connick, why weren’t you standing up for children when Michael was implicated in dubious activities involving them?

  22. 29 Zo
    October 8, 2009 at 15:17

    RE: David Govier
    To suggest that minstrel shows were a “tribute” to the ability of black nations to sing is one of the most backwards things I’ve ever heard.

    Minstrel shows portrayed blacks as nothing more than lazy, singing and dancing, fried chick and watermelon eating buffoons. If you consider that to be a tribute, then you would have fit in well with the people of that era.

    I suppose you consider the pictures of families gathered around for a photo with a lynched black man to be some sort of “tribute” to integration?

    And, I personally found “White Girls” to be a really stupid idea, and had whites complained about it, I would not have disagreed with it. I have not, and will not, ever bother to see that movie.

    The black face in “Tropic Thunder” was more of a parody of an actor in black face, and they handled the character really well.

    Jackson Jive doesn’t even compare to “Tropic Thunder”. It was buffoonery, and even if it wasn’t meant to be overtly racist, there is no denying that it was racist.

    To empathize with racism is the same as being the perpetrator of racism. Black Face has been and always will be offensive. White/European people should just live with it. That is the legacy of blackface. That is the legacy of whites/europeans. And denying the pain that seeing that brings to blacks is sick.

    Black face brings up images of oppression, lynchings, injustice. While it may be easy for you to laugh that off, it isn’t easy when that is your history.

  23. 30 Tamatoa, Zurich
    October 8, 2009 at 15:19

    Humor is a good coping mechanism. It can relieve tensions that arise when you don’t know what to do in complicated situations – political correctness. You create a similar world where you can try out your actions. Humor and satire is also a way of protest against current social structures or offering constructive criticism to the current regime in a subtle non-offensive way.

    Events like these will happen again and again. The global society tries to establish a noble goal: the erradication of differences between races. This will maybe take another 30 years. So we just look at this incident and realize it wasn’t the best thing to do and then look for better solutions or even act on your own and be prepared to fail.

    Last, there is no racism in that skit. They personally attack Michael Jackson. Maybe they should apologize to Michael’s family.

  24. 31 Gary Paudler
    October 8, 2009 at 15:23

    My estimation of Harry Connick went way up. Even if the skit was not intended to be racist, and I’m willing to believe that it wasn’t, it was in terribly bad taste and definitely offensive to me. What element was humorous; bad singing and dancing? No, all the intended humor was in their exaggerated blackness and the whiteness of the clown playing Michael. Cries of “political correctness” must be recognized as the usual knee-jerk defense of offensive expression; let’s not automatically accept that. What political agenda was Connick playing? How will Mohammad (above) benefit politically by noting the effects of easy racism?

  25. 32 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    October 8, 2009 at 15:26

    Racism is cultural, not biological. It’s an outgrowth of the ancient “us versus them” mentality. It’s judging a book by its cover, it’s ostracizing those who are different from us on the basis of unimportant physical differences.

    I am an American of white European stock, whose family now includes two black, two Hispanic and two Asian branches. While a couple of family members have been ostracized for their intolerance of such unimportant differences, the rest of us understand that we’re all in this together. “Political correctness” is inappropriate, and is a bar to true acceptance and understanding. As long as there is no incitement to further intolerance or violence, making fun of those differences is a good thing: we’re all fair game because we’re all in this together.

  26. 33 Linda in Italy
    October 8, 2009 at 15:32

    The sense of humour is an endangered species. If we can take jokes about our own nationality, colour, gender, sexual inclination or religion, we are allowed to laugh at jokes about others.
    Humour is about human foibles and frailties and our make-up as human beings includes these characteristics.
    If a gang of guys (of any colour) got up in drag wanted to take the Mickey out of the Spice Girls, I wouldn’t scream sexism. One of the best Thatcher impersonators was a man, and Italy has produced a fantastic female comic who does all the male politicians perfectly.
    I‘m quite happy to laugh at Ozzie caricatures of “wingeing Poms”, my Irish background (2 grandparents) has never prevented me laughing at Irish jokes, nor at Essex Girl jokes, that being my place of birth, nor, as an ex-blonde (now grey), at all the “blonde” jokes around on the Internet.
    Humour can have no taboos – its job is to deflate egos and point up the ridiculous side of human existence, particularly our prejudices and uncritical acceptance of cultural/religious icons.

  27. 34 Nanci
    October 8, 2009 at 15:36

    Personally, I think at times it helps to laugh and humor eases things.

    I love the senior black analyst on Jon Stewart’s the Daily Show. He is able to say things about black/white relationships and racism that whites cannot say.

    The other night he played the ‘race card’ and it was an ace of spades. Funny stuff. Of course, if a white person in the US did it it wouldn’t be funny.

    I just think PC language and monitoring can be so grumpy and judgemental. I like Donnamarie’s comment above. As she said, we’re all in this together and we have to laugh at ourselves and our differences to other people. It’s okay.

  28. 35 patti in cape coral
    October 8, 2009 at 15:45

    Just to address the two movies mentioned -I didn’t see the one where the Wayans brothers portrayed two white girls, but it just doesn’t sound like something I would find funny anyway. I did see Tropic Thunder, and I thought they were making fun of actors. Also, in that movie there was an actual black person who addressed the irony of the Robert Downey character, so it avoided being one-sided and appearing racist by showing the other side of it. Also, the Downey character wasn’t made up as a parody of a black man, he was realistically made up.

    As I said, they handled it very well on the show, can’t everyone else just follow suit?

  29. 36 Zo
    October 8, 2009 at 15:51

    Donnamarie, would it be acceptable for me to make jokes about the mentally handicapped?

    I enjoyed “Tropic Thunder”, as I stated above, but I did cringe when I saw the picture of the guy lamenting about his handicapped son. It wasn’t funny, nor was it appropriate. I didn’t find “Happy Jack” as offensive, but I can see where people do, and I wouldn’t argue with them about it. I don’t know how it makes them feel.

  30. 37 Tom K in Mpls
    October 8, 2009 at 15:57

    I posted a Bill Cosby quote before, it looks like it is needed again. I’ll add a couple more. Most people have considered him to be a model of tasteful humorous insight and a true ambassador of good will. Keep this in mind.

    “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

    A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.

    Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.

    I wasn’t always black… there was this freckle, and it got bigger and bigger.

    Bill Cosby.

    Personally I find Politically Correct people to be disingenuous, annoying and lacking in respect. As a result, I usually just blow them off.

  31. 38 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 16:02

    If any of you haven’t seen live and let die recently, watch it. It portrays all blacks basically as pimps.

  32. 39 archibald
    October 8, 2009 at 16:04

    The fact that this type of act is still considered entertaining says a lot about how far we still have to go with race and our true understanding of one another. Just because racism is, “in the past”, does not mean that it doesn’t still sting when it is revisited in the very common and disparaging image of, “blackface”. Thanks Amos and Andy….

  33. 40 Anthony
    October 8, 2009 at 16:05

    That’s funny. What I find funny is the racist things blacks say and no one seems to care. I was just watching a movie yesterday where a 10 year old black boy kept calling a young white guy “cracker”, “honkey”, and “red neck” and it was funny, yet if a white kid were to make a reference to a black and a monkey, there’s NO WAY that would be in a comedy.

    I think making this such a big deal when it really isn’t a big deal is making the world more racist.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  34. October 8, 2009 at 16:10

    Should we have more sense of humour? Yes if we have exhausted all other things to have sense of humour about and if the feeling is mutual. Don’t poke fun about my race if I can’t do same on yours especially when I am not interested. Clearly it should not be the subject of tv-shows.

  35. October 8, 2009 at 16:15

    Offensive and racist,undoubtedly.These acts may become popular as it appeals to baser instincts of human beings of being happy of watching somebody being ridiculed.Satire is one thing, buffoonery and ridicule is another and the line dividing is very thin.What would have been the reaction of Australian whites if coloreds present a show some whites in convicts clothes with Australian National flag behind them;what if some body ridicules Holocaust victims?People should not humiliate a race that has suffered in the garb of humor.

    • 43 Tom K in Mpls
      October 8, 2009 at 17:43

      Come on, this was a Micheal Jackson joke. I guess it went over a lot of peoples heads. Now if you want to say Micheal Jackson was an anti-black racist…..

  36. 44 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 16:19

    @ Paul

    If you think the cries of political correctness are a kneejerk response to offensive expression, must we ban everything that someone might find offensive? So of course, no more Mohammed cartoons. No criticism of islam, as that’s offensive to Muslims. No making fun of anything. All sports teams will be renamed to the Snowpersons…. I mean, how muzzled do you want to be in your quest of living in an offense free world?

    • 45 Chintan in Houston
      October 8, 2009 at 17:59

      @ steve

      Not every joke is offensive. We can’t just make fun at someone or a group at their expense. I understand race jokes, well in fact i find Carlos Mencia and Dave Chappell really funny but if their jokes were done by someone who do not belong to the race you don’t know if they are just trying to be funny or there is an underlying hatred for their group.
      It seems you are confusing criticism v/s sarcasm

  37. October 8, 2009 at 16:26

    While it is certainly refreshing to have a good sense of humour, one should also be aware of the blatant racism where non-whites are taunted and discriminated against. Of course there is reverse racism in Africa by the blacks against the whites and Indians. All this is totally unnecessary;Having lived in Europe for more than 33 years, I have experienced name-calling with swear words galore without any provocation. Rather than react in a negative way, I have given a lot of positive thought to the problem; Racism is like a cancer that has to be nipped in the bud. This could only be done through education. Teachers and parents need to be exemplary and inculcate the right values in children from the primary school onwards. Teaching young people about respect, tolerance and good-will for other races would certainly help in bulding inter-cultural bridges. With increased globalization, human beings should reach out to one another irrespective of race, colour or creed.

  38. 47 Venkat Gopal, North carolina
    October 8, 2009 at 16:34

    I wouldn’t call it racist, but, absoulutely distasteful and insensitive. The irony of it all is, it was not even humorous. When an Indian Cricketer “supposedly” called Andrew Symonds (Australian cricketer of African descent) a monkey, Australia almost went to war with India and now we have people on your blog questioning people’s sense of humor and being too politically correct. I would like to see some one do a parody on the Aborigines and see how Australia react to that.. GO FIGURE!!

  39. 48 John in Salem
    October 8, 2009 at 16:39

    You don’t have to be politically correct to not be insensitive to what might offend some people but context is a large part of humor. Connick could have just said he didn’t think it was funny and left it at that. Hearing the audience’s response to the act should have cued him to keep his moral judgements to himself. At the very least, someone should have suggested he watch a few nights of Aussie tv so he would’ve known what to expect.
    I found it unfunny and uncomfortable to watch and couldn’t help wondering what the average reaction was from people of aboriginal descent.
    But that’s just me – humor is about as individual as it gets. In my perfect world Chris Rock would tell hilarious jokes about white people all evening and never descend into “potty humor”, America’s Funniest Home Videos would never show movies of people getting hurt and Benny Hill… well, the less said the better.

  40. 49 Peter
    October 8, 2009 at 16:43

    Harry Connick Jr is right. It is downright racism

  41. 50 Rob Walker
    October 8, 2009 at 16:55

    It seems that the only race relationship the English can still have where we abuse and poke fun of the others without fear of offence is Australia (and, I suppose, New Zealand). I wish we had the same relationship with other nations whereby we can take the mickey out of each other without fear of offence (that is of course, when we are not deliberately trying to be offensive). It actually promotes a healthier trust and understanding of each other than any amount of sensitive correctness can achieve. The rules for acceptable comment and behavior have been over-intellectualised and this has stifled the spontaneous jokey friendship that we can still enjoy between members of the same ethnic origin. We’ve missed a big opportunity to integrate naturally by intervening in anything close to a ‘sensitive area’. So now we’ve had to bury that spontineity and the golliwogs have had to go underground!

  42. 51 John & Linda Minnesota USA Sirius Ch. 141
    October 8, 2009 at 17:15

    I had a chance to view the video clip. I believe it was racist and insensitive. Those men have no clue what it is to be “Black and African American” or any other racial minority group. Especially here in America. Black and African American are still viewed as “unclean, nappy headed,simple minded and directly related to monkeys and apes. They go on air to a predominately white audience, who like them are ignorant of and in some cases, not caring to know the stereotyped racist and racial seperatist information they are feeding their children. It is insensitive because Michael Jackson recently died. He is revered along side of other great leaders and spokesmen of our er;by many People of Color and White Americans and others around the world.The white face of Michael can be seen as him trying to pass for “white”, but his brothers are painted “Black” that was to remind the character Michael he was still a “Nigger”. I say this because I am a Black man and lived in the same era as Michael Jackson. He was and is a great man to me and should not be made to look like a fool.

  43. 52 Rahman
    October 8, 2009 at 17:16

    We just need to relax & not be so stuffy. We also need to stop forcing American values upon others. This is harmless humor in Australia. So just let it be.

  44. 53 the one
    October 8, 2009 at 17:18

    error at their expense

  45. 54 viola
    October 8, 2009 at 17:20

    It’s good to have this dialogue. I’ll tell you why.

    Humans of all kinds find humor in cruelty. It’s a fact, and denying it won’t make it go away. Making fun of how someone looks is undeniably cruel. Saying it was all in fun doesn’t change that basic fact.

    I’m looking for a positive side to this kind of humor. Perhaps it is a way of expressing how one race truly feels about another race. That can be either a good or a bad thing, I think. Saying the truth about what you really think at least offers you the opportunity to confront your own cruel nature and, hopefully, reject it and become a better person.

    The next step, if the lesson is taken, would be to make fun of your own cruel nature you exposed by making fun of another race.

    If humor is used to explore and communicate it can be very useful. If it remains a stick to hit someone with, it won’t be.

  46. 55 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 17:20

    @ Rahman

    And yet you make the presumption that this is American values, and that American values are somehow inherently bad?

  47. 56 Kevin PE
    October 8, 2009 at 17:27

    Do you know what is ridiculous? You can call somebody a moron, an idiot or a fool just as long they are not from another race group. What the hell is wrong with people? There must be a million jokes about the Irish and I have never heard any complain. As a South African I need not explain how sensitive racial issues are in this country, but calling this skit racist would be laughable even over here. I don’t think it is funny or even a good performance, but come on lighten up. The act was not a send-up of black people; it was a bad Michael Jackson spoof. There are plenty of white skits done by black performers and no offence taken. If a nation cannot laugh at itself, its time to vote in the Taliban.

  48. 57 Zo
    October 8, 2009 at 17:41

    RE: TomK

    Here is a quote where Bill Cosby references black face.

    ((In “Birth of a Nation,” D.W. Griffith used white actors in black face to portray black legislators as having low intelligence and acting like fools. Today, we have a band of real life congressional fools seemingly bent on blocking any meaningful reform of the health care system. But if we allow even one American to die simply because he or she cannot afford treatment, we are creating a shameful scenario that could aptly be called “Death of a Nation.”))

    Please don’t hide behind the quotes of a black man to justify your callous attitude.

    • 58 Tom K in Mpls
      October 12, 2009 at 15:52

      If you want to pick specific cases, you will always find something. That is why I hate ‘poster child’ topics here, that is why the bible is poor for making points. When I first brought up Cosby, as I remember, it was on politics, not race.

      I brought up his belief that we all need to get along. We need to realize that good will means more than empty ceremony. That some people just don’t ‘get it’. The only thing that might be callous in my post is the way I treat narrow minded people looking for a cause to either fight about or hide from.

  49. 59 Chintan in Houston
    October 8, 2009 at 17:54

    Its only racist if person making fun of a race does not belong to it.
    I am not offended by the subject matter of this humor but such humor propagates the stereotypes that already exist in the society.

  50. 60 Josh (Indianapolis, IN, US)
    October 8, 2009 at 17:55

    Whatever happened to “being respectful of other cultures”? Many here in the United States are criticized for not being tolerant of different beliefs, social norms, and so on. The fact is that it exists elsewhere, too. If an American television show had done a blackface spoof of Australian aborigines, imagine the outcry that would be coming from that country. And everybody involved would go to the Apology Chamber and issue a sincere statement of regret.

    Also, the Jackson Jive act, beyond its racist elements, just wasn’t funny, at least in my opinion. I’ve seen armadillos that are funnier than that bit.

  51. 61 James Turner
    October 8, 2009 at 17:55

    I’m a black man. I agree to a point that it is not racist in this situation, this show! It is however in poor taste in any situation. If one single person is offended than it should not be done. Compassion is a feel that is lost it sting in the world today! If we examine our actions when trying to entertain. More of our actions will be entertaining and not hurtful. First question! WILL ANYONE BE HURT BY MY ACTIONS? A yes answer means…….. don’t do it!

  52. 62 Andrew in Australia
    October 8, 2009 at 18:05

    The whole thing was blown out of proportion for the simple reason that the Australian media wanted to generate a story to fill the news time slots as presumably the usual fare of glorified gangsters or sick kids was not available.

    There is a history of the supposedly honourable media here making a beat up on an insignificant story to give it a life of its own and this is such a story.

  53. 63 Anthony
    October 8, 2009 at 18:09

    Yeah, notice it was the American who got upset. The uber P.C. American makes racism worse by seeing racism where it’s not.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  54. 64 Dave in Florida
    October 8, 2009 at 18:12

    Just a few nights ago the movie “White Chicks” was shown on a national cable station here the U.S. Two black men in white make-up and in drag, passing themselves off as white women. Why was that all right? They made fun of whites and women. Talk about a double standard.

  55. 65 Monica in DC
    October 8, 2009 at 18:13

    I think if Connick hadn’t said anything and gone along with it, and the story had come out in the US about it… he’d have gotten reamed by Americans. I don’t think he was trying to force our values on Australia, but had every right to stick to his.

  56. October 8, 2009 at 18:14

    Isn’t Australia known for the poor race relations there, and racist culture? Seems as though its 20 years in the past…

  57. 67 Davinder M
    October 8, 2009 at 18:14

    I don’t think its racist, for something to be racist in my eyes it has to be done with an intent to offend or upset, i see neither in this video.

    Some thing that i have noticed when things like this happen is that it isn’t the people of the race that is joked about that is offended but white people who think they have to feign offence in-case people think they are racist.

  58. 68 Sean - California
    October 8, 2009 at 18:15

    There is a long history of Minstrel Shows in the western world… This skit doesn’t take into account any of that. Bruno wasn’t funny by the way.

  59. October 8, 2009 at 18:16

    If a lot of work went into that skit, a lot of thought didn’t. There is a lot of history written on racism, but the 1936 definition uses the phrase ‘inherent superiority’. I would hardly call the skit superior-tasteless and tactless come to mind. If black people put on white face, it would have been lost in translation because of the ‘inherent superiority’. The humor of this skit also escapes me-perhaps I missed the punchline.

    Harry Connick Jr is a person who happens to be an entertainer. He felt prompted to speak up because of the insensitivity of the situation.

    Perhaps society has along way to go..Maybe we can start by remembering that first, we are all from earth and that there are cultural (and visual) differences. But most importantly, in the name of humor, there are lines you still cannot cross.

  60. 70 Anthony
    October 8, 2009 at 18:16

    So why don’t Brit’s get crazy when on American shows they show the British as boring people with really nasty teeth?

    Do me a favor, and watch BET comedians for a one show, and see how they portray white people as lame dorks, who cant play sports, cant dance, and are small in the genitalia area. And this is on Cable, and no one has a problem with that, so why not?

    Dave Chappelle use to put on his “White Face” all the time, where were the protesting there?

    Reverse Racism, that’s what that is.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 71 Joane in Cleveland
      October 8, 2009 at 18:52

      Don’t have to watch Dave. I just have to watch commercials and how they portray white wives as fashion plates and their husbands as spare tired, balding, idiots. While you are pointing a finger at us, look where your thumb points. No matter how our comedians portray you, we do not not consider it a stereotype. That you do so well. I am black and unless I miss my guess there are white people who read that to mean no father, children with no father or more than one, poor, etc., every negative stereotype known to man. I know because I have been asked this to my face. There is a difference in portrayal and a stereotype. If you have seen Robert Downey, Jr. playing an Australian, playing a black man in Tropic Thunder, you will know the difference compared to the rapacious, lazy, drinking white men in black face in Birth of a Nation.

  61. October 8, 2009 at 18:17

    In the fields of entertainment and the media, if something is potentially offensive to a race or ethnic group, don’t do it. It’s a pretty simple formula to follow.

  62. 73 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    October 8, 2009 at 18:17

    Are the Australians involved in that show clueless?
    The characters chosen for the skit have negative historic association in the US.
    Come on Australia. You are not really that out of touch.

  63. 74 Mike in Seattle
    October 8, 2009 at 18:19

    If you don’t understand why some find this performance racist, look into the concept of the American “minstrel show”.

    Here is a link from wikipedia if you aren’t familiar with topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel_show

    The practices of black face invoke the painful stereotypes of Zip Coon and Jim Crow. I’m sure this wasn’t the intention of the performers, but it brings up some incredibly uncomfortable feelings for many who watch.

    This isn’t about being stuffy or forcing American values on others. It’s about recognizing the historical significance of such performances.

  64. 75 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    October 8, 2009 at 18:24

    The Australians I know do not think that jokes about them being prisoners from England are funny.
    Therefore, I am shocked that your guests do not understand the reaction of rhe world.

    • 76 Linda in Italy
      October 8, 2009 at 21:38

      Sorry Phyllis,
      maybe the Ozzies you know have been infected by US pussy-footing PC.
      Most of the ones I know, and as a Brit, I feel maybe out cultures are a little closer, including sense of humour (sledging anyone?), consider being descended from one of the Botany Bay “emigrés” is a badge of pride.
      Someone on the prog. who made the point about Americans living in a bubble was quite right. The rest of the world knows all about US apartheid, but the US is totally ignorant about how things work in the rest of the world.

  65. October 8, 2009 at 18:24

    I’m from Chicago and I lived in Sydney (Glebe and Newtown) while going to College at UTS from 1994 to 1998 and I found Australia to be fairly prejudiced against Asians and Aboriginals. Queensland appeared even more intolerant.

  66. 78 Lamii Kpargoi
    October 8, 2009 at 18:25

    I’m a black person and see no problems with people of other races making fun of black people as long as it is made with no intention at degrading black people. After all black comedians do poke fun at other races.

  67. October 8, 2009 at 18:25

    Dave and Anthony…

    there is a double standard for a reason.

    There is a thing called history! Racism and Hegemony has a history. If historically people of color oppressed caucasions and the roles were reversed, then the sensitivity and resulting political correctness would also be reversed.

    And lets not forget the Jacksons are an American family, therefore many Americans would feel entitled to comment.

  68. 80 Brian from NYC
    October 8, 2009 at 18:25

    I think we need to be clear here that this sketch refers to a very specific thing in America’s past: Blackface. The act of white people putting on black face paint to imitate African American stereotypes is a MAJOR symbol in the U.S. of the blatant racism common in American in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I do not believe the performers meant it to be so racist, and I honestly think that they simply made an incredibly ignorant decision. Clearly, Australia does not have the same relationship with blackface that the U.S. does. I would imagine that if the “Jackson Jive” performers had done something depicting Australian Aboriginals, it might have had a more negative effect in their own country. Harry Connick Jr.’s comments were spot on. It was not so much the intent of the performers, but rather, what they did, and the context that it has for Americans (and, I’m sure, people in other countries as well).

  69. 81 Tom D Ford
    October 8, 2009 at 18:26

    It is only recently that white Australians have been able to embrace their past “transportation”, are they now able to joke about it, joke about themselves?

    • 82 Joane in Cleveland
      October 8, 2009 at 18:54

      No, to do so is a crime. Mention Botany Bay Colony and see what happens. Let somone sterotype that and see how it goes over.

  70. 83 Half-Not
    October 8, 2009 at 18:28

    Not offensive.
    Not racist.

    There is nothing wrong with being politically correct, providing you’re correct! People who find this racist are simply incorrect. Black humans are not a sacred cow regardless of their history. Anyone and everyone can be parodied or satirized at will. Whether this was funny or not is irrelevant; a separate issue entirely.

    To those who say this was racist, define the racist component. Go ahead. We are all waiting… .

  71. 84 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 18:30

    If you watch any sitcom here in the US, the white, male characters are ALWAYS protrayed as bumbling idiots, like Homer Simpson. They would never do that with any other race.

  72. 85 Anthony
    October 8, 2009 at 18:31

    Lol. That young black woman thinks that everyone should look into the USA’s racial problems in the past? I’m sure she has looked into the problems with the Gypsies, Armenians, South American Indians, and other minorities that were killed and forced into horrible things throughout the world in the past.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  73. 86 Erica
    October 8, 2009 at 18:32

    I am an American who has been dating an Australian for six years. One of the things that I have learned from this relationship is that there are cultural differences in respect to how race is dealt with. While I initially viewed Australians to be extremely racist, my boyfriend brought up an interesting point:

    Do the Australians, in their application of humor to race, acknowledge more significantly the presence of racial stereotypes and the need to dismiss these stereotypes as ficticious and products of history? Does this humor integrate discussion and awareness of stereotypes and racism into daily life that Americans attempt to avoid and disguise?

    The fact is is that both nations have people who are racist and not racist. The question is which approach is more actively addressing the issue that all nations struggle with.

  74. 87 Zach (Jamaica)
    October 8, 2009 at 18:32

    Though I am of African descent, I did not take any offense to the parody but that it is because Jamaica does not have a racially sensitive culture.

    I however understand the concerns of person who found it offensive, because when I watch movies I find it extremely offensive when we Jamaicans are constantly depicted as Rastafarian and marijuana smokers.

  75. 88 Tom D Ford
    October 8, 2009 at 18:32

    That was an interesting comment that white Australians did not exploit Australia, they made Australia.

    That is true generally but a very few White people owned and ran the plantations that English prisoners were transported to work on as cheap labor. Van Diemen’s (sp?) Land, now Tazmania, being a case in point.

  76. 89 Davinder M
    October 8, 2009 at 18:33

    People need to stop living in the past, we shouldn’t be carrying the burden of our ancestors guilt.

    Words and acts are only racist when we decide to view them as such, i find it stupid that people are putting this in the same ‘bracket’ as things like the KKK and the BNP.

    I wonder if a fuss would have been kicked up if one or more of the men was black.

  77. 90 Annette, Florida
    October 8, 2009 at 18:35

    Jokes about race are fine. Just do some research on your characters.

  78. 91 Anthony
    October 8, 2009 at 18:35

    @ Phyllis , Naples Florida

    If someone in the states had done a skit about Aborigines, would you have any idea what and why people had gotten offended?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  79. 92 Tom K in Mpls
    October 8, 2009 at 18:37

    Okay, nothing human is perfect, so think of this. Do you want to deny both the tasteless and idiotic people the chance to let the world know exactly what they are?

  80. 93 gary
    October 8, 2009 at 18:39

    Appreciation of humor, the ability to love, intellect, and free will are all that set us apart from animals. Just as people do not have equal physical abilities, so their appreciations of humor differ also. Many people of African descent have been treated and some are still being treated very poorly. Their dark skin has provided both means and reason for their selection as targets for abuse. Thus, humor focused upon skin color is problematic. They may make jokes about themselves as they will, but sharing this humor is not a right but a privilege Africans might grant to lighter-skinned friends. The only difference between this and other “inside” humor is that membership in this club often required heavy dues.
    Sure, we should have a sense of humor about every troublesome issue. It is a useful way to put troubles into perspective. However, we owe our fellows enough love and care, that our laughter does not cause them pain. This isn’t an issue of “forget you if you can’t take a joke.”
    g

  81. 94 Reagan - from NJ, USA
    October 8, 2009 at 18:39

    I am a white American female. It’s offensive. I know the “actors” are Australian and white but the people they are portraying are American and black. I see what they were trying to do, light comedy, but that is received differently over here. We lived, learn and continue to have first-hand experience with racial tension. The painting of faces is a very sensitive thing, I believe. If they had done it with wigs and no paint I DO NOT think we would be having this conversation. People will get over it, trust me we don’t think less of Australia(ns) because of this silly skit.

  82. 95 Thomas Murray
    October 8, 2009 at 18:40

    Should we be more sensitive regarding race and humor?

    Yes, but within limits. The language in the American movie “Crash” would be considered patently offensive, especially given that the co-writers were white. But in this case, matters of racial sensitivity can be forgiven because the film tackled serious topics that transcends race.

    On the other hand, an American actor (Ted Danson) got into serious publicity trouble after showing up to a Hollywood Halloween bash in blackface. It was his African-American girlfriend (Woopie Goldberg) who came to his defense and saved his career.

    As such, it is acceptible for the races to make fun of themselves. But care must be taken when the shoe is on the other foot.

    No writer in his right mind advises blanket self-censorship. For broad satire, being for a higher purpose, it’s okeay to take ALL the stops out. But one needs also to seek the imprimateur of the target audeince to gauge how well the messeage is being received.

  83. 96 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 18:40

    There are 300,000,000 Americans, and your Australian co-host is able to come to determination that all 300 million of us are ignorant about other cultures and live in a bubble?

    At least in the US, we don’t have brands of food that say on the product “Proudly made in Australia. Don’t buy the competitor, because it’s made by Kraft, which is an AMERICAN company”. And this product had a souther cross on it, and made all sorts of competitors to vegemite, peanut butter, etc.. We would never have “don’t buy australian, or chinese” in our stores like they do in Australia.

  84. 97 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 18:41

    @ Aaron

    I believe in Sydney they’ve been having a problem of relations between youths of middle eastern and Australia origin, basically lots of fights and assaults.

  85. 98 John in Salem
    October 8, 2009 at 18:43

    I’d just like to add –
    “All in The Family” did a wonderful job of showing the inherent silliness of bigotry.
    Where is Archie Bunker when we need him?

    • 99 Linda in Italy
      October 8, 2009 at 21:49

      John, you had a sanitised verion of what was originally a BBC prog Till Death Do Us part., Alf Garnett (the real one) was far worse, even then, in the 70s he was considered too strong for the delicate sensibilites of the US audience (gun-toting KKK members included) , and therefore he exposed the idiocy of racism to the full.
      Satire has never really been understood in the UK, but in OZ maybe it is alive and kicking.

  86. October 8, 2009 at 18:44

    Australia is known for its racism!

  87. 102 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 18:45

    How can your guest know that Whites only voted for Obama because he had a white mother?

    • 103 Linda in Italy
      October 8, 2009 at 22:04

      Yeah Steve, the whole point about the US is that if you have any non-Euro blood in your veins, you aren’t white. It never ceases to amaze me how Americans see “Hispanics” (i.e. people form Central/South America, as racially different). I am a Brit, I live in Italy, if I speak to a Spanish person I don’t feel there is a racial difference, whatever that means.
      I am also a bit p….ed off about all this “first black American president” thing – maybe only because you are eithe white or not – apartheid South Africa anyone?. Why are Americans soo obsessived with certain minor genetic differences that determine hair culour and texture and skin and eye colour?
      These minor details may be a huge issue in the US, but please don’t expect the rest of the world to assume your neuroses.

  88. 104 Chad Edward
    October 8, 2009 at 18:46

    The Australian broadcaster has taken this opportunity to portray Americans as ignorant and, therefore, more sensitive to racism. At least, that’s the only thread of logic I can weave through his making points about “Americans living in a bubble” and the stated topic of the show. It seems a stretch to even make that point in this discussion. Talk about the wrong context!

  89. October 8, 2009 at 18:47

    To back up the listener saying that Australia is known for racism: I visited a few years ago and oddly enough, several times locals assumed that because I am a white American woman that I would be racist. It was astounding to me how many times it came up just during a week visit, as well as how negative the attitudes were. One man said, he knew it was wrong to be racist but that, “You know, aboriginies really are degenerates.”

    It made me so sad because other than that, it was a beautiful visit.

  90. 107 Aslynn
    October 8, 2009 at 18:48

    In 1989 I was fifteen years old and went to visit Australia for 3 months with my family. Hey, Hey instantly became my favourite weekly ritual. When I heard this story this morning on the radio my first thought was not, “Is this racest?” it was, “I hope Red gonged those twits out with a huge grin on his face!” (which says something to how we perceive all events in the context of our own personal stories). After watching the clip I can clearly state two things: a) If you’ve never watched Hey, Hey you wouldn’t know that scoring during this part of the show is generally all about dark and often negative humor (negative scores aren’t uncommon!) and b) it was plain, from the moment Harry Connick Jr. responded to them, that he’d seen the show before, knew the format, and while giving an honest response, was also giving one completely in line with that portion of the programs format (indeed, the only abnormality was that Red gave a higher score than he did!).

    As far as the conversation regarding whether it was inappropriate or not, I think until we start spending more money on things like poverty and less on industrialized warfare we should focus a little less of our energy projecting our issues onto others and more actually changing the world where it’s actually hurting. Two cents from someone born in Australia but raised in America.

  91. October 8, 2009 at 18:49

    Even George W Bush said Australia reminds him the most of Texas of any nation in the world. We all know, at least Americans do, that TX has a very racist past and even present.

  92. 109 Anthony
    October 8, 2009 at 18:49

    Lol. This woman is telling us how racist America is, try going to the middle east sweetheart, then you’ll see REAL racism. There are PARTS of racist America, especially in the South, but it’s def not as bad as other countries.

    People like this just want to see things as racist, so they can perpetuate this “power” that it makes them feel like they have, but it ultimately segregates them more than anything.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  93. 110 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    October 8, 2009 at 18:50

    The CHARACTERS Chosen for the skit is the problem. Those characters have a history. Robert Downey’s character was very different .

  94. 111 Tom K in Mpls
    October 8, 2009 at 18:52

    While listening on air, I came up to a realization on WHYS topics. WHYS uses current events to bring up basic discussions. And all too often, like today, the event degrades the discussion on the basic topic. Many callers/posters would rather get indignant about a meaningless side point than recognize the real problem.

  95. October 8, 2009 at 18:53

    I have no doubt that people voted for Obama because he had a “white mother” but I think pointing them out doesn’t do her point any justice.

    People are going to see what they see, and dissecting things and FINDING racism in situations I don’t believe is the answer.

    As George Carlin says, it all comes down to intent. Its the intent behind the words and actions that have the potential to be dangerous and offensive. Words themselves carry no harm.

  96. 113 Parag Deb
    October 8, 2009 at 18:54

    Parag Deb, Bangalore

    Racism is a heinous crime. It should be condemned and the perpetrators should be subject to punishment. There is a gentleman in your pro gramme said that Australia is a modern country and there is no racism. I guess the person is ignorant of the endless physical attacks on Indian student for past couple of months. There is a serious problem in Australia, and the government must take some serious steps to stop it. Black, brown or White, we are all children s of God.

  97. 114 atbean
    October 8, 2009 at 18:56

    The point is that if the comedy is funny enough, or your audience is big enough, your career will not be over. There are many comedians pushing the envelope that are groundbreaking and really have an interesting social commentary to share, like Dave Chappelle. But if you’re not sure about whether your message is strong enough or whether you can pull it off, you might be better off not doing it!
    It’s definitely a personal risk that comedians take.

  98. 115 steven
    October 8, 2009 at 18:56

    With globalisation, Harry Connick, Jr knew that he would be pilloried in the US if he didn’t say something when the video went viral. Connick’s sincerity aside he was also aware of the impact if would have on him in the US.

  99. 116 Moses
    October 8, 2009 at 18:56

    Robert Downey Jr was NOT mocking black people. He was mocking METHOD ACTORS by taking it to a point that went over a line that most rational people wouldn’t cross. THAT is the difference. That is why he is funny. There was irony involved. There was NO irony involved with this Australian mockery.

    Watch Bamboozled by Spike Lee to get a glimpse of what a minstrel show really means. You will never find one funny again.

  100. 117 Luther
    October 8, 2009 at 18:57

    The person that said President Obama is only president because of being “half white” just uttered one of the most racist things I have ever heard!

  101. 118 Ruslan (Philadelphia, PA)
    October 8, 2009 at 18:58

    How about the movie where two undercover black officers were playing two white girls. it was funny.

    • October 11, 2009 at 23:13

      Please bbc bring back the comedy ‘Mind your Language.’ It is time for us to move on and stop this racial silliness. Let us loosen up and stop been uptight about our colour or race. I see no colour apart from rainbow. And since all people have race and colours, let the Comedy role on please.

  102. October 8, 2009 at 18:58

    Sorry…

    but many Aussies seem just a little too care-free, to the point of being care-less!

  103. 121 rob w
    October 8, 2009 at 18:58

    Australia? Not racist? Hilarious!

    Aboriginal reservations without schools, healthcare, sewage. John Howard sending in the army to sort them out. Apologising for the Stolen Generation needing a change of government. Aboriginal life expectancy is 20years left than white. Pauline Hanson. An endless list. I could think of a enormous 200yr long list, but there isn’t space. How many famous Chinese Australians do we know? How many nonwhites are in the cricket team.

    Most Aussies I know think Aborginals are subhuman and their culture inferior, and I lived and worked there for 3 yr.

  104. 122 Kohby
    October 8, 2009 at 18:59

    I feel that this debate is useless. I See that inherent discussions of ‘multi’ cultural ism fueling racism. It has an inbuilt need to ‘include’ and ‘exclude’. The problem lies in this paradigm. The discussion needs to be focused on the problems of multi cultural ism. Look at omni cultural ism for answers. Debating multi cultural ism in a waste.

  105. 123 Jim
    October 8, 2009 at 19:03

    I think it is ironic that your black panelist comments that Barack Obaba wouldn’t have won the election if he wasn’t half white. Thank you for generalizing the white population and assuming that it “made us more comfortable” to vote for a black president because he was half white. What a bunch of crap! I voted for him because he was such a better alternative to other candidates, not because I was so thankful that he was half white. Why should you downplay his victory because he was half white?

  106. 124 Kety
    October 8, 2009 at 19:07

    I am from republic of Georgia, currently living in the US, Florida. I am white (funny that we have to define this) but never had anything to do with opression of “people of color” in America. For me people are just people; I don’t judge them according to color – personality is more important for me. So maybe it’s time to leave past in the past and start thinking where are we going from here. If somebody personally is racist, lets punish them but putting all whites on offender’s chair is racism against whites.

  107. 125 Peter
    October 8, 2009 at 19:08

    1997 , I visited Brisbane. Taxi driver refused to take me because I’m a chink. White guys screamed at me to get out. There was a white only policy on migrants in the 70s. Please don’t deny that u are racist. Peter-singapore

  108. October 8, 2009 at 19:08

    I have to say I do not think the skit was appropriate, but also take offense to the comment from the female comedian from the US. Her comment about people only voting President Obama because he was half white was extremely offensive. Everyone I know, including myself, who voted for him voted for who he is and what he stands for, not what color his parents were or what color he is.

  109. 127 Oftenbark
    October 8, 2009 at 19:17

    Moderator. Your comment re a dancer in England referring to another dancer as ‘Paki’ has no relevance to the subject at hand. There was no reference, express or implied, nor intended, to ‘race’ in last night’s Hey Hey show, as some, if not all of the performers on the Jackson Jive skit were Australian citizens, all professional medicos, originally from, or from families born in/on the subcontinent. The three words I despise most in reference to the citizens of my country (Australia) are (1) Multicultural, (2) Ethnic, which both draw a definitive distinction between citizens on the basis of race, and (3) Tolerant, which by dictionary definition would assume one ‘tolerates’ a fellow citizen of another race as less than optimum company.
    What Americans think of the Hey Hey situation is also irrelevant. To wit, Hey Hey has outrated by a huge margin every other TV network show here in the only and last 2 episodes of Hey Hey; the other channels of course would have been showing mind-numbing American violent rubbish.
    I would recommend that the English not be so sanctimonious in this regard, and that the Yanks have a good hot cuppa cha, some paracetamol (Yanks should feel right at home with slow working dope), and a good lie down for an hour or two.
    Footnote: The same performers first performed the same routine on Hey Hey 20 years ago. Damn the internet and youtube.

  110. 128 martin
    October 8, 2009 at 19:18

    The way I see it is this discussion is more racist then that skit was. I think complaining so much about something so stupid is counterproductive @ best

  111. October 8, 2009 at 19:21

    Australians don’t think this is racially offensive and inappropriate? *Yikes* Mmmm I think that says more about Australian culture than anything else! However, Dutch people still don Black face to portray Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) for their Sinterklaas celebration every year. Visiting the Netherlands in November/ December 2007 I was completely appalled and not a single Dutch person I spoke to could see the inappropriateness of painting their face black.

  112. October 8, 2009 at 19:30

    Doesn’t Australia have a deep history of racial issues revolving around Aboriginal people as well as attacks on Asian students? Mmmm, I think Australian society could do with some self-examination rather than dismiss the US and other countries as suffering from “political correctness gone mad”!

  113. October 8, 2009 at 19:34

    of course white people don’t find it offensive it was never intended to mock or offend them! I am surprised that these Australians are really that comfortable with this whole thing. Do the aboriginals think this is funny?

  114. 132 Oftenbark
    October 8, 2009 at 19:35

    BTW. Hey Hey is NOT a talent quest show. The ‘Red Faces’ segment on which the Jackson Jive appeared is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a former ‘New Faces’ talent quest show shown on another network. Talent for appearing on Red Faces is not a pre-requisite; humour is.

  115. 133 steve
    October 8, 2009 at 19:35

    How come it’s okay for a Brit to call an american a Yank, for an American to call a New Zealander a Kiwi, and an American to call a Brit a Limey, yet all hell breaks lose if someone says “Paki”????? I don’t understand it. It’s an abbreviation for the name Pakistan. Germans call Awmericans “Amis” which is their short form for Amerikaner. They call the USA, “Amiland”. Why is that okay?

  116. 134 Leonet Reid- Jamaica
    October 8, 2009 at 19:45

    As an African American, I did not find that clip racist or even offensive. It was made for laughter, not arguments like these. It is time, Blacks and White move from the past into a unified future. One cannot pay a blind eye to the historical significance of Black-Faced characters during the Pre and Post Civil Rights periods. Fortunately, Blacks have won the respect and recognition that they need. Haven said that, it is then not offensive for a five white men dressed in black face to poke fun at the Jackson Five.

  117. October 8, 2009 at 19:55

    Just wanted to bring peoples attention to the December festivities in the Netherlands. swarte Pete (Black Pete) is a helper for sinterclass. And there are parades all over holland where people (mostly white), black themselves up with facepain, paint their lips red and don curly afro wigs. They run around throwing small cinnemon candies at children. As this rather bizarre tradition goes, a threat to naught children accross the country is that if they do missbehave then Black Pete will put you in a sack and take you back to pain.
    Amazing.
    I questioned a Dutch friend about this practice and they said it’s just a bit of fun. During the pararde, a Black family that were standing next to me were all shouting and trying to get Pete’s attention. The kids were collecting biscuits and they dodn’t appear to be offended at all.
    I am white from south London and my step father and half sister are black, and to be honest, tradition or not, I found the whole experience mindblowing!

  118. 137 Oftenbark
    October 8, 2009 at 20:07

    Oh deary me Peter of Singapore. Isolated cases of ignorant racism are prevalent the world over, which does not reflect on the general populace in any way; you draw such an insular conclusion (jokingly, I trust). However, on an official note, it was the despicable Dr. Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia who declared Australians were the ‘white trash’ of south-east Asia. For God’s sake!

  119. 138 Dan
    October 8, 2009 at 20:23

    I’m a white Australian male, and can definitely report that there IS racism here. I’m generalizing, but i believe “mostly” by “lessor educated” – working class people, in the poorer suburbs, and also is more prevalent in isolated rural towns, where there maybe something of a time-warp to 1950s (and prior) thinking and intolerance’s. I should add also that I’m working class/poorer …just my personal observations from my interactions. But, as mentioned by others, i doubt you could quantify that “we Australian’s” as a whole are anymore racist that any other country or culture. Certainly in my brief travels to other countries, and interaction with foreigners, I’ve observed similar intolerance’s as to what I’ve seen here by ignorant Australian’s. That skit was cringe worthy to my eyes, but it’s certainly not in context with current Australian TV, ie. this ain’t something that you would expect to EVER see on TV here. Also, to follow up another point raised by the poster “Abna”, regarding the Asian student bashing’s, i believe this is likely more as are result of opportunists after money rather than solely race motivated, maybe not true of ever case, but in general, that’s just my personal thoughts at least.

  120. 139 Attila Aranyos
    October 8, 2009 at 20:31

    Hi All,

    I am one of those who does not understand the fuzz .. While this is not a great comic act, it is a parody not of black people but the J5. I do think we should take it more easy when it comes to fun, ad everybody deserves to have fun about!

  121. 140 Matthew Houston
    October 8, 2009 at 20:39

    Harry Connick, Jr is right. This is horrible.

    This is the worst kind of racism, the kind people jokingly excuse as funny. It’s that insidious, contagious, covert racism. People know it’s completely inappropriate, but it’s that last push of passive-aggressive behavior in society that’s drifting away from those values (or lack of values).

    I’ve seen this happen in the US. It stems from a fear of low self-worth. As if the only way to feel better is to make sure that someone else is always lower. The truth is, though, that those who put themselves lower are usually the strongest.

  122. 141 Peter-singapore
    October 8, 2009 at 20:39

    G.day! The natives in Alice Spring don’t think the restrictions on their booze and x rated is flattering. Calling them aborigines is degradatory. If you think it is not offensive to you does not mean others might think so. Why were the Lebanese so angry about that they rioted in Sydney a while back. Maybe some Aussies may still not know.

  123. 142 Matthew Houston
    October 8, 2009 at 20:45

    Apparently the US isn’t so terribly far ahead…case in point — those horribly offensive Obama joker masks. It’s a thinly-veiled sambo caricature.

  124. 143 Ottilie
    October 8, 2009 at 20:59

    I found just even the photograph posted here to be creepy, appalling and in no way funny.

    As the African American comedienne pointed out, images have power, as you can see in the following link:

    http://blogs.nybooks.com/post/206201697/the-new-american-hysteria

    To be honest I think there are very few countries in the world where racism or prejudice does not exist against a minority population. The real question is whether the majority culture makes an effort to come to terms with it. Example: Germany after WW II. It doesn’t particularly seem that Australia has done so, notwithstanding Kevin Rudds’ fitting apology.

    There have been sporadic attempts at this in the US, with very mixed results.

  125. 144 Peter-singapore
    October 8, 2009 at 21:00

    @oftenbark . Mahatir Mohd is a Malaysian. A country full of racial issues. Nothing to do with singapore ‘s citizens. If any racial slur occur here we will be warming the prison’s bunk. Singapore is australia’s closest ally in south east asia.

  126. October 8, 2009 at 21:25

    I listened to this program on the BBC today on my way home from school. I attend the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Just this morning in Social Psychology we watched the famous PBS program called “A Class Divided” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/etc/crusade.html). I challenge any of you to watch this 45 minute program and tell me if discrimination is funny. I think we have to be really careful in sending the message that one group of people is better than another – even in jest – someone gets the message. Maybe a child, someone downtrodden, who knows? There is a phenomenon in Psychology called “self-fulfilling prophesy” which basically explains that when we are treated a certain way we begin to act in a way that fulfills that role. The intention may have been to make people laugh, but at whose expense?

  127. 146 Linda in Italy
    October 8, 2009 at 22:22

    My last word.
    The J5 was a fairly average to poor pop group.
    Without the media they would have been nowhere.
    MJ was a wierdo, not his fault, just ask the parents.
    Ergo they are valid targets – this actually has nothing whatsoever to do with race.

  128. 147 Jyoti Roy
    October 8, 2009 at 23:33

    As a non-white Australian living in the United States the term ‘global citizen’ is something I think about often. But what does it actually mean? We have access to information moving faster than our lived experience of it, putting identity in flux. Context and history are important to community and identity, so how as global citizens do we agree on an international standard in judging, say, what is racist and what is not?

    READ MORE AT: http://jdr-writeon.blogspot.com/2009/10/global-citizen-addressing-racism-in.html

  129. 148 Liz Rich - Aussie- 10 yrs in the South USA
    October 8, 2009 at 23:55

    The Hey Hey program is rather stupid TV! Any joke missed me in the news clip I saw. However i could not see it as anything but a slurr on Michale Jackson with his rather ridiculous white face. Australians attitude to people of colour is NO WAY similar to that of a lot of US Southerners…and perhaps other areas? I was almost fully integrated there and learnt the hard way how a white must behave towards blacks at the threat of a bomb in our living room! I had been chatting with a black couple at the apartment swimming pool!

    Most Aussies know the US history of persecution and slaves and a bit about racistm but have NO IDEA of the depth of hatred many in US feel. Hopefully this is less widespread with Obama as President!

    That TV was for an Australian audience – not US — there is a huge difference in humour- for SURE!

  130. 149 Dennis Junior
    October 9, 2009 at 01:07

    Is one of the best ways to combat racism to get people to laugh about race? (Maybe)

    Are we too sensitive about issues of race and humour? (Yes)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We don’t need a sense of humour but, we need to accept the differences among all races…

    =Dennis Junior=

  131. October 9, 2009 at 01:52

    omg how pathetic are we all getting there was no racisum if any one should be upset it should be the jackson family cos it just lookd like they were makin fun of jacko to me and what about the movie borat makes fun of a whole race of people and bruno making fun of the gays if we keep going the way we are we will have no entertainment industry cos everyone will be offended by sumthig and as an aussie ifind it silly that it has gotten so far out of hand i mean robert downy junior went through a whole movie painted black in tropic thunder playing an aussie did we get upset no what cos it was made aparent that it was not racist its fine just coz is was funny who makes it funny mabey we found that offensive but cos usa say it funny we wear it not fair we live in 2009 people get over the past and enjoy the future why dwell its so not worth it grow up world stop beening so soft and see it for what it was a stupid skit that was not funny

  132. October 9, 2009 at 02:03

    If you can’t see or find the joke please do not watch it. Someone else may find it and enjoy it.

    For instance, few of us Tamils went for a popular stage show in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    Lionel Wendt Theatre.
    The Sinhala and Burgher artists parodied a Jaffna Tamil man coming to Colombo the capital of the country. A bundle of Murunga and complete with an umbrella.
    And the witty script kept me laughing out loud much to the chagrin of my Tamil collegues and near by audience too.
    Later my friends pitched into me: ”How can you laugh like that when they were joking at us Tamils like that ?”
    I shrugged my shoulders and moved away.
    Now you tell me who the racist in this episode.
    My Tamil friends ? Or the Sinhala actors ?
    If one cannot see the joke and enjoy it – – – !

  133. 152 anna
    October 9, 2009 at 02:25

    Australia was called the most racist country in the world by a someone from the UK which actually is extremly racist about Australia.I am only 11 and i am appauled at the names people called Australia and i think Some Americans and Some English people are being very very rude to Australia.It has gone too far you are making a bad example on us kids and I am astonished at how rude you are.Grow up and Get over it!!!
    MIchael Jackson is probably watching over us and thought that was a great show i can hear him sayin “You go guys you rock!” Your starting a war over nothing.If Australia had a really famous band with Aboriginies in it and in America they had people dressed up like them,painted their faces black and was on a talent show i TRUTHFULLY dont thin k Australia would be so rude to the other country like calling them the most racist country in the world and that were still living in the 80s. Yes we would be a bit upset but we wouldnt make it a worldwide thing.

  134. 153 Josiah Soap
    October 9, 2009 at 03:04

    I lived in USA for 15yrs. Its the most racist country ever. Not because people hate each other, but because almost everything you do is deemed racist. To American’s this skit is terrible. They find racism everywhere and anywhere. To Americans racism is the worst crime you can commit, murder, well thats childs play. Unfortunately the rest of the world is starting to follow. If just one single person might get their feelings hurt slightly then its racist. Unfortunately there are just as many minorities that parody white people, but no one bats an eyelid. These days I am offended or have hurt feelings = you are racist bigoted hater.

  135. 154 Kuda
    October 9, 2009 at 04:40

    I think it is offensive but not racist. It is offensive because the make up is ugly. The “blackface” version of Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live by Fred Armisen is not ugly racist or offensive.

  136. 155 Steve
    October 9, 2009 at 06:21

    Must have been a slow news day!

    No country is perfect, no people are perfect. I grew up in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia where peoples of many countries, races, and backgrounds mostly get along fine.

    I wonder how many people were truly offended and how many were offended that someone else may be offended.

    Everybody is deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Anybody truly offended deserves an apology but too much energy is wasted on PC……

    • October 9, 2009 at 08:19

      Steve hi,
      Thanks for your comment. Just to point out that it wasn’t a slow news day. Many news stories were discussed in our editorial meeting including the one we decided to do because it was the one that had the most conversations going and people were talking about it not just in Australia but all over the world.

      Thanks and keep posting.

  137. 157 Don in Detroit
    October 9, 2009 at 07:52

    Being from a mostly black suburb of Detroit and being old enough to have clear memories of the race riot which burned down a fair part of the city in the late 1960s. Just recently I was perusing YouTube downloading and saving some videos of my favorite performers and I came across a performance by the iconic French singing star Mireille Mathieu which was recorded for broadcast on French television in 1978 (11 years after the race riots ravaged Detroit). The song/dance was “Le Vendretti de Nouvele Orleans” (Alexander’s Rag Time Band) and much to my surprise it featured every dancer on the stage except for Mimi herself done up in black-face as a “mistrel” right out of the old vaudville shows of the 30s. If there is one thing I know for a fact about Mireille Mathieu is that although she may not have much formal education she is a quite magnanimous Christian and would never harbor malice toward any person much less an entire race. I felt I got an education from this in that at first look I was aghast at the spectacle but upon further reflection I now realize that folks from one culture may well be totally oblivious to what may offend those with a different cultural sensibility. If Harry Connick Junior is so very offended by white people giving recognition to black perfomers (how clumsily or comically is not the issue) then I trust he will very carefully scrutinize his own musical repetoire to be sure and remove any song which was originally written and played by a black performer so as to avoid giving any such similar offense. I think he might find he would no longer have an act having much of anything to do with New Orleans if he were to do so.

  138. 158 Don in Detroit
    October 9, 2009 at 09:31

    In relation to my previous comment I should point out that the dancers in Mimi’s production were in black face not gratuitously but for a quite historically accurate reason: the song itself was written and popularized at a time when minstrel shows were a very popular if not the predominant format in which such song and dance numbers were usually performed. I might also call attention to another “Mimi” video entitled “Jambalaya” which is also available on YouTube with English subtitles. For some reason unfathomable to me the song which in original English had nothing to do with Native Americans is performed in French with the Indian tribes as it’s main focus replete with references to scalps as trophies. For as much as I find Mimi delightful as a popular performer I can’t help but think that it is only because she is so tiny that members of various races she has quite cluelessly offended haven’t been able to find her to tar and feather her yet.

  139. 159 Kat95
    October 9, 2009 at 12:08

    “Should we have more of a sense of humor about race?”.
    What??? That’s not why it was funny…It was funny because they were dancing and such and just having a good time.

  140. 160 steve
    October 9, 2009 at 13:37

    Though it’s not about race, someone on the air brought up Southpark, and the latest episode, Dead Celebrities, even made me feel guilty about laughing so much. It features Billy Mays, and Michael Jackson holding up the flight to their final destination because he hasn’t accepted his death, and that Michael Jackson always wanted to be a little white girl in life, so when he wins a beauty contest, he finally is happy, and accepts death. The the plane, with Billy Mays, ted kennedy, michael jackson, patrick swayze flies to hell.

    • October 9, 2009 at 13:56

      South Park, though I don’t really watch it, is meant to be what it is. You know this up front. You get offended, don’t watch. There is a song the Late Isaac Hayes sang as chef, that keeps me in stiches. He is singing one thing but the double entendres are ripe and hillarious. He’s singing about cooking and sugar. After Roman, don’t know what can be posted here.

  141. October 9, 2009 at 13:51

    Harry Connick, Jr. is from Louisiana. He grew up with and among black people. Your post is disingenous. His repertoire covers mostly standards done by everyone from Duke Ellington, Ella fitzgerald, Glenn Millerm, you name it. It has nothing to do with ‘race’. he does not put on ‘black face’ when he does ‘Take the A Train, take it off and come back white to do Cole Porter. Get a grip. Nothing you say will take away the historically, negative impact ‘black face’ has in regards to black people. I grew up in the HOugh area of Cleveland and remember it’s riots. So what!! I also know that during minstrel shows, even with the great Florenz Ziegfield, a back performer, including Burt Williams, HAD to appear in black face or offend the audience with his ‘presence’. Black plays were done in black face or not run and no kissing or any romance was allowed between the characters. It would offend white patrons, even if the cast was white. As for the ballet, different genre. In opera, when Othello or Aida is done, the singers use a darkened makeup for the roles of a Moor and Nubian princess but they never go in black face. Sir Elton John did one better, he hired a black actress as Aida.

  142. October 9, 2009 at 13:53

    I meant to write even if the cast were all black. Sorry.

  143. 164 steve
    October 9, 2009 at 14:04

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Indian-origin-doc-in-race-row-over-MJ-skit/articleshow/5103725.cms

    ““I am an Indian, and five of the six of us are from multicultural backgrounds and to be called a racist … I don’t think I have ever been called that ever in my life before,” he said. ”

    In short, he’s saying that only whites can be racist…

    • 165 Tom K in Mpls
      October 12, 2009 at 16:05

      Not even close. You do know how to twist things. He is saying ‘we live multi-cultural and multi-racial lives. I can’t believe anyone could get that idea from us.’.

  144. 166 moshezve
    October 9, 2009 at 16:03

    The black minstrel shows ended because they were offensive so are these.
    Only whites do not get the point because they are not being offended
    See the point of view of others and do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you, that would make a world fit to live in by humans, we are not behaving as humans, it has lost the meaning to be human.

  145. 167 Sebastian Daze
    October 9, 2009 at 18:38

    The problem with this sort of act is that the actual “joke” is the fact that someone white is dressing up as someone black – as if being black is of itself funny and worthy of ridicule: like wearing a clown mask. I do not have a problem with someone making a joke about the Jackson 5 or Michael Jackson or Barack Obama or Nelson Mandala or a white Australians. What I do find offensive is the thought that in this here 21st Century, the simple fact of being black and not white is sufficient material for comedy. How many white people would find it “hilarious” if a group of black “comedians” donned white face paint and pretended to be the Osmonds. I bet none because there would not be a joke just white face paint.

  146. October 9, 2009 at 19:28

    Well, he is donating the award to charity. My choices are Sickle Cell Anemia, Breast Cancer research, UNCF just to name 3 possibilities. I hope where ever it goes, it will benefit those in need. Humans not animals. We have enough people puting them first, now, here in America.

  147. October 10, 2009 at 02:54

    Being interested in your post and having read nearly all of the posts I am astounded at the fallacious comments that have been posted. Clearly, 95% of the posts factually incorrect and in themselves have racial undertones. A black and white minstrel show or Lenny Bruce?
    Gold Coast Aussie, lived in the US, UK, Asia, Africa with 6 mixed race children and 8 black grand children of course I am racist and the skit was meant to be funny. The were just poor actors.

  148. 170 Claude in Ohio
    October 11, 2009 at 08:09

    If it offends you, change the channel.

  149. 171 nina in texas
    October 11, 2009 at 16:09

    Racism is complicated. I think American comedians are making interesting endeavors into dealing with such a subject because they are aware of the context in which their actions exist, to put it more accurately, you could describe what they do as a criticism instead of an action the perpetuates our current predicament. With that said, all this clip does is magnify the differences in our cultures. I would probably feel completely alien in a culture that found that clip funny or in any way endearing as a tribute, but that is because of my own baggage growing up as an American.

  150. 172 Marica Lewis
    October 12, 2009 at 02:58

    The world has become a sad place, no sense of humour. The word racist is overused and sometimes does not apply. I have been to parts of africa where people paint themselves white and make fun of whites and so I call it sense of humour. Lighten up and enjoy life. One is being a racist when a person is attacked personally, is being abused and being unjustly treated. And most of the time the word racist should not be used either, rather ignorance because this is the root of all the problems. It would be nice when most people did not use colour as an excuse for their lack of sense of humour or their means to creating unnecessary problems.

  151. October 12, 2009 at 17:42

    I don’t think people are using color here for an excuse for their lack of humor. You do not have to attack someone personally to be racist. This act on tv was racist, and the performers should have been more aware of how their act would be perceived.

  152. October 13, 2009 at 00:55

    I endorse the following comment in toto.
    Wish we could have the Mr Minister series too.

    ” Author: Enitan Onikoyi
    Comment:
    Please bbc bring back the comedy ‘Mind your Language.’ It is time for us to move on and stop this racial silliness. Let us loosen up and stop been uptight about our colour or race. I see no colour apart from rainbow. And since all people have race and colours, let the Comedy role on please.”

    Ya, let the Comedy roll on please.

    Cheers,

  153. 175 Kathleen
    October 13, 2009 at 20:37

    It seems to me that Australians definitely have a problem admitting that there may be a certain amount of racism in their country. A case of constantly calling racism a “one off” maybe? The problem with that is, how many times does it have to be a “one off” before you admit that it may actually be a problem?

    The way I see it, this was an Australian TV show that had an act that parodied an American pop act; therefore, Americans and Australians should be free to comment on it.

    No doubt if it had been an American show with an American act making fun of Aboriginals, the US would have been crucified by now.

    Pot. Kettle, methinks.


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