Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Racism can be funny

Or at least it can have entertaining results.

A couple of weeks ago we had a bit of a scandal in this country ... one of our rising young stars in the sport of skating made a complaint against her coach ... some sexual harassment thing, I'm sketchy on the details, but apparently there was some talk at a dinner party that got out of hand, and this guy, the coach, doesn't really get that there are some things you can do and say between people who are colleagues that you can't get into if you're their superior. Bad sentence, but you know what I mean. :-)

Anyway. He'd gotten a bunch of warnings for various other issues in the past, and this time it just got to be too much, and he was fired. This created a lot of debate. I don't really follow sports ... or, one might say I don't follow sports in any way whatsoever ... but this was impossible to miss, it was all over the media constantly. A lot of debate. Was it right to fire him, was it wrong? Personally I don't see the problem. As a coach he must have been hired to motivate the skaters to do their best and win competitions, obviously. Well, if telling people that they're fat and a disgrace to the Norwegian flag, and asking them in public whether the rumors are true that they give good head, turn out to not be working as motivation (and this would seem to be the case as we haven't really been producing a lot of world class skaters during this guy's tenure as coach) then he's not doing his job, so why not fire him? Anyway.

One guy who got involved in the debate is a person whose name I don't even know ... he's a sports anchor at our biggest commercial TV station (or possibly at their much smaller subsidiary, but that's beside the point) and he posted some speculation on his blog about this case. He was supposedly sort of thinking out loud and wondering if maybe this young skater's situation was being used by the Skating Association to forcibly eject the coach from his position. Reading this made one of our MPs see red, and she said to the media that this anchor guy should be given a dressing down by the powers that be at his channel, because this was just too much.

I'm not going to say whether she was right or wrong to do this ... or, well, I'll say that I don't quite get why she cares. :-) But this post - it does have a point! - isn't about what she said but about an absolutely stellar reaction that her statements provoked. It's brilliant, it's a masterpiece of meta-irony. :-) Wait for it.

So, the MP in question is Hadia Tajik. Just for the record, I do not like this woman. I voted for her party, Labor, in the parliamentary election in September, but I crossed her name off the list. Not because she's Norwegian-Pakistani - except of course that what I hold against her most likely was a result of just that - I resent her for her actions in the hijab debate earlier this year. I disagree with her completely on that issue and I will not vote for her. But that is neither here nor there. Here's the thing. Dagbladet had an article about this and they opened it up for debate. And the most popular comment in that debate is what is so incredibly ironic. I mean, it's almost beyond ironic. And the reason why the heading on this post says that racism can be funny is that I'm pretty damn sure that if Tajik had been a white person - most especially a white man; sexism can be funny too!! - whoever wrote that comment would not have done so. Think I'm wrong? Maybe. But I am pretty damn sure. A colored woman will have to take some shit that a white man won't even have to worry about. :-(

But, OK, the point. This statement is just the best. I love it. I want it on a T-shirt.

We have freedom of speech in this country, so shut up.

And just to end on a completely different note, happy birthday to my father who is 67 years old today. :-)


Paz said...

:D, great post, have seen that sh1t here too.
Freedom of speech in modern society seems to be of the the Model T Ford variety, you can have it in any colour you like as long as its politically correct, suits everyone and does not offend any of the vocal minorities.

Calyx said...

Hehe. Det minner meg om et stykke graffiti vi hadde i Asker en stund:
"Norge for normen". Nok et bevis på at rasister ikke kan stave, eller en skikkelig underfundig kommentar? :)

Shiva said...

Freedom of speech is vital!

Btw. Leisha, maybe you want to check out my discussion with ukorrigert here. I used a quote from you in my blog post and he has issues with the quote ;)