• Family

    • Ala Abbas
    • Clairwil
    • Daily Rhino
    • Leon Green
    • Liberal Conspiracy
    • Sajini W
    • Sid’s blog
    • Sonia Afroz
    • Sunny on CIF
  • Comrades

    • 1820
    • Angela Saini
    • Aqoul
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Blairwatch
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Butterflies & Wheels
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Clive Davis
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr StrangeLove
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feministing
    • Harry’s Place
    • IKWRO
    • Indigo Jo
    • Liberal England
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Humanist Editor
    • New Statesman blogs
    • open Democracy
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Septicisle
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Ariane Sherine
    • Desi Pundit
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Isheeta
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Real man’s fraternity
    • Route 79
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Smalltown Scribbles
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head
    • Ultrabrown



  • Technorati: graph / links

    Sorry seems to be the correct answer


    by guest on 8th February, 2009 at 10:59 am    

    This is a guest post by Sarah as part of Speaker’s Corner Sundays

    Tonight, I am wondering whether the BBC gives more importance to Britain’s prime ministers, or to tennis players. Why, you might well ask, and what on Earth does that question have to do with disability?

    Well, I shouldn’t need to tell any of you that Carol Thatcher, who just happens to be the daughter of the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, was sacked from her job on the BBC’s One Show earlier this week for calling the black tennis player Gael Monfils a ‘golliwog.’ Thatcher’s sacking was no big deal to me, until now.

    Then I read that Jeremy Clarkson has apologised for calling the prime minister, Gordon Brown, a ‘one-eyed Scottish idiot.’ This completely unnecessary reference to the prime minister’s loss of sight in one eye after an accident as a teenager has, rightly, been heavily criticised for this remark by MPs, as well as by charities for blind people. However, the BBC said it noted Clarkson’s apology for the comments and would be taking no further action.

    So, now I am left wondering, why did the BBC sack Carol Thatcher for racism to a tennis player, when they chose to take no action at all against Jeremy Clarkson for making offensive remarks about the British prime minister’s DisAbility? Is it simply because Clarkson, unlike Thatcher, apologised for his comments? Does his apology suddenly make his unforgivable and extremely hurtful comments forgivable, less hurtful, or both? Does the BBC really care more for the feelings of a tennis player than it does for the feelings of our prime minister?

    Personally, I think it goes far deeper than that. You see, racism is a ‘normal’ form of offence. It is recognised. Everyone knows what it is called. Everyone also knows, and understands, that it is wrong, and most people know and understand how painful it is.

    Disablism, however, is still so unrecognised that I wouldn’t be surprised, or blame you, if you have never heard the word in your life! I have only just remembered it myself. Most members of the mainstream don’t realise that disabled people are just as hurt and offended by cruel comments about their disabilities as any ethnic minority person is by a racist comment. They don’t realise that we have feelings too.

    So the BBC thinks it is perfectly all right to be outraged about a racist comment, made off the official record, and sack Ms Thatcher, because they recognise racism for what it is. Something unnecessary, hurtful and unforgivable. And I do think that they were perfectly right to sack Ms Thatcher, whether she was joking off air or not.

    But they also seem to think it is perfectly all right to admit, with hardly any fuss, that they are going to let Clarkson keep his job, even after he has made a disablist comment, on the official record, to journalists. Because they don’t recognise disablism for what it is. Something just as bad, just as unnecessary, just as unforgivable and most of all, just as hurtful, as racism. Something that deserves a punishment that is completely equal to that given to any racist person.

    So personally, I think that if Carol Thatcher got the sack from the BBC, then so should Jeremy Clarkson. Being physically DisAbled myself, I am sure that Gordon Brown agrees with me- not just as the Prime Minister of Britain, but also as a DisAbled person. I wonder if he will use his powers as Prime Minister to make the BBC sack Jeremy Clarkson? I know that I would.

    ****

    This is a guest post (cross-posted here, where Sarah blogs).



      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Current affairs, Race politics




    15 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. MaidMarian — on 8th February, 2009 at 12:43 pm  

      No - It is because the BBC regards Thatcher as someone they can dispense with whilst they think that Clarkson (and Ross) is someone that they need.

      It’s not about offence or -isms. It’s about getting viewing figures.

    2. Tom Paine — on 8th February, 2009 at 1:37 pm  

      I can prove it is forgiveable. I forgive him. Therefore the problem seems to be yours. Or perhaps you think my forgiveness “unforgivable” too?

      The world needs no more isms, Sarah. The ones that exist are causing social rupture already. It is no exaggeration to say I would rather be falsely accused of murder than racism (and now, though I have seen the word in print precisely once, “disablism”); (a) because I am confident of the procedures I would need to go through to defend myself against a murder charge and (b) because I am confident that my fellow-citizens could stay calm enough to allow a rational evaluation.

      If I were accused of some “ism”, many would join in the denunciation immediately, for fear of being tainted with it themselves. Does that remind you of anything?

    3. halima — on 8th February, 2009 at 1:48 pm  

      Sarah, good post - and (dis)abilities is something that we often just allow in public life without much challenge.

    4. halima — on 8th February, 2009 at 1:59 pm  

      Sarah, good post - and negative attitudes to (dis)abilities is something that we often just allow in public life without much challenge.

      However in my books the fact that Clarkson apologised makes a big difference.

      You rightly pointed out that many people are unware of the extremely hurtful impact of remarks and comments made against people with differing abilities . Clarkson made a blunder and apologised for it. It is the last frontier as far as I can see on the equalities front and we should be working hard to challenge negativity and stigma associated with it.

      Racism on the other hand isn’t something that the British public is unclear on - and so it is unforgivable coming from a public figure - who has all the priviledge in the world to know the difference and if she doesn’t know the difference - well here’s the door as the BBC rightly said.

      Incidently , I found it really interesting during the debacle with the imam of the Finsbury Mosque a few years ago when the media and everyone ridiculed the particular individual and continually attacked his character with recourse to the fact that he also had a number of (dis)abilities. I didn’t see much of a challenge from anyone when his ‘eye’ or his ‘hook’ was the subject of ridicule and laughter - and again, with Nick Griffin, I’m not a fan, but let’s leave the (dis)abilities out.

    5. halima — on 8th February, 2009 at 2:00 pm  

      correction..

      Sarah, good post - negative attitudes towards (dis)abilities is something that we often just allow in public life without much challenge

    6. halima — on 8th February, 2009 at 2:02 pm  

      However in my books the fact that Clarkson apologised makes a big difference.

      You rightly pointed out that many people are unware of the extremely hurtful impact of remarks and comments made against people with differing abilities . Clarkson made a blunder and apologised for it. It is the last frontier as far as I can see on the equalities front and we should be working hard to challenge negativity and stigma associated with it.

      Racism on the other hand isn’t something that the British public is unclear on - and so it is unforgivable coming from a public figure - who has all the priviledge in the world to know the difference and if she doesn’t know the difference - well here’s the door as the BBC rightly said.

      Incidently , I found it really interesting during the debacle with the imam of the Finsbury Mosque a few years ago when the media and everyone ridiculed the particular individual and continually attacked his character with recourse to the fact that he also had a number of (dis)abilities. I didn’t see much of a challenge from anyone when his ‘eye’ or his ‘hook’ was the subject of ridicule and laughter - and again, with Nick Griffin, I’m not a fan, but let’s leave the (dis)abilities out.

    7. Rob Atkins — on 8th February, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

      What is this nonsense being written about (dis)abled and DisAbled? Is this another piece of grammatically incorrect - but no doubt completely politically correct - spelling creeping in, because a small group in our community has found yet another axe to grind? Grow up !

    8. dave bones — on 8th February, 2009 at 2:57 pm  

      I called Carol Thatcher “The daughter of the evil one” on live TV once. She took it in quite good humour and told me she would “Give my love to the evil one” at the end of the show. She seems quite nice if a bit naiive.

      As for all this I blame the parents of course.

    9. sarah — on 8th February, 2009 at 3:40 pm  

      Rob Atkins- I take the blame. The word DisAbled is my invention, used to describe someone who doesn’t let their disability stop them from living the life that they want to live. There is nothing ‘politically correct’ about it- yet.

      Next stop- the dictionary!

      Tom Paine- if you forgive Clarkson, that makes you a better person than me.

      Thanks everyone else for your comments. As always, they are welcome, and make interesting reading.

    10. Dobbin — on 8th February, 2009 at 4:52 pm  

      This tells you all you need to know

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/08/jeremyclarkson.bbc

    11. Rumbold — on 8th February, 2009 at 9:31 pm  

      Good piece. MaidMarian has a point too, in that Clarkson is simply worth more to the BBC than Carol Thatcher. However, I do think that people are able to get away with making comments against disabled people more easily than racist comments.

    12. David O'Keefe — on 8th February, 2009 at 9:53 pm  

      Rumbold, whats happened to the Pro-war left post?

    13. Rumbold — on 8th February, 2009 at 9:56 pm  

      It is going up tomorrow morning at about 9:00am.

    14. Sunny — on 8th February, 2009 at 10:32 pm  

      I scheduled it to sunday by mistake…

    15. C Chandra — on 9th February, 2009 at 10:31 pm  

      I really dont see a problem - isnt truth a defence in these cases? Gordon Brown IS one eyed, Scottish and an idiot - QED.



    • Post a comment using the form below

    Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2009. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
    With the help of PHP and Wordpress.