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 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?