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  • Technorati: graph / links

    The Du Beke non-apology


    by Rumbold on 6th October, 2009 at 11:48 AM    

    Sunny and others have argued that Anton Du Beke should not be sacked, because he apologised for the use of ‘Paki’, and because it wasn’t meant in a malicious way. I have some sympathy for the latter, but what most people seem to have missed is that Mr. Du Beke did not apologise. He issued a non-apology.

    A non-apology is a device that came to prominence during the Blair years, when a minister or senior Labour figure had to resign. The non-apology does not contain any actual apology for the person’s behaviour, but rather expresses regret that others have been offended. Thus, as Peter Oborne put it, we were treated to the surreal sight of people resigning while confessing that they had done nothing wrong.

    Let’s examine Mr. Du Beke’s words:

    “I do not use racist language.”

    i.e. I did nothing wrong, and ‘Paki’ is not racist.

    “I apologise unreservedly for any offence my actions might have caused.”

    i.e. I’m sorry other people were offended.

    Note that there is no actual apology for saying ‘Paki’, merely an apology that others are offended by such language.



    Filed in: Other racists




    • Sofia
      I think Anton's apology should include the 'i'm not racist, one of my best friends is black'
    • Swampie VI
      Splendid!

      Rather like an unexpurgated Monthy Python script, a foot-in-mouth apology worthy of Billy Bunter of the 'Magnet':

      "It was quite, quite wrong of me for me to use an inappropriate ethnonym like 'sand niggers' and I sincerely hope that none of you ragheads, dune coons and camel jockeys were offended by an expression which was meant to be friendly rather than offensive and that goes, I hope, for the porch monkeys and spear-chuckers here this evening too."
    • Kismet Hardy
      Remember the guy in the pub (last seen in the mid-80s) who'd say something moronic like: 'What you drinking there Raj? Curry sauce?' Then, when you prepared to smash his face in, add: 'I'm only 'avin a laugh, lad.'

      That was his apology. He still needed his face smashed in though, didn't he?
    • Boyo
      Meanwhile the Tories have just announced a pay freeze on all public sector workers earning over 18K.

      Oh and a "warning" over bankers bonuses.

      Great to see those nurses, doctors and bin men (who earn over £18K) feel the pain... leaches.
    • Boyo
      God I bet they're haw-hawing in the City.
    • coruja
      Oh no, here we go again. A person in the 'public eye' says something that a lot of people who, should they overhear it, would find disturbing. I'm pretty sure it also falls within anti-discrimination legislation as this has happened in a work place – much like the Carol Thatcher incident. The BBC should discipline Mr Beek much like they would if he & his dance partner were working in the IT department.

      I suppose it is the tricky question of exactly who is defining what is racially offensive and who is getting offended. For example Chris Eakin could compare George Alagiah to a chimpanzee all day long in private but to see it broadcast wouldn't be that pleasant to some people.

      It is not at all adequate to say "I do not use racist language" because that is clearly a lie. I would like to see it used as a defence in an employment tribunal. It's a bit sad that we seem to be going backwards; the insults are the same, only thing different is people now complain.

      It's getting to be quite a regular thing, various 'celebrities' getting themselves in to a twist trying to explain the use of racist language (or not in this case!) as opposed to being a racist.
    • Dalbir
      What's next? Bud bud ding ding jokes?

      BBC hideously white. In a way this is great as it highlights what lurks beneath the surface of British culture.
    • marvin
      Remember the guy in the pub (last seen in the mid-80s) who’d say something moronic like: ‘What you drinking there Raj? Curry sauce?’ Then, when you prepared to smash his face in, add: ‘I’m only ‘avin a laugh, lad.’

      That was his apology. He still needed his face smashed in though, didn’t he?


      Kismet: Violence, cool! So I can glass the next c***t in the face who refers to me as kaffir right? I should have glassed about 6 people in the past few years. Dang, if only I knew!

      It's funny how when offended by racist language/jokes violence is perfectly justified. Yet I suspect if a bunch of Muslim kids lot turned up on the streets spouting vile shite and people 'smashed them in the face' they'd be quite outraged at the violent response!

      Get some standards, and stick to them

      BBC hideously white. In a way this is great as it highlights what lurks beneath the surface of British culture.

      Dalbir: Unlike the Asian community, where a majority would never date a black man. The most discriminatory culture in the country according to the statistics on inter-racial relationships.

      But yes, racism! Constantly bubbling to the mouths of the white hoards!

      Get some standards.

      Criticise and get angry at bigoted behaviour by individuals by all means, but when you start blithely referring to large bodies of people, you should check first you don't sound like a complete hypocrite. Innit, tho.
    • persephone
      It highlights that to the BBC saying golliwog at work is a sackable offence but saying 'Paki' at work is not?

      How do they judge and make a distinction between the two words?
    • Jai
      Dalbir: Unlike the Asian community, where a majority would never date a black man.


      Marvin, if you seriously believe that British Asian women don't date black men, especially in major cities like London, then I'm afraid your ideas are about 20 years out of date.
    • marvin
      Of course they do Jai. But statistically speaking...
    • persephone
      Are there statistics of % of asian women who date black men in comparison to others who date black men? eg don't see many chinese women with black men. If reliable statistics are out there it would be interesting to see.

      I do increasingly see alot of asian women - more so last 10 years in London or so but also at college before that and outside London.

      It is interesting to see that what people do in their personal lives is equated with racism at work in a public orgn such as the BBC
    • Guest
      "Kismet: Violence, cool! So I can glass the next c***t in the face who refers to me as kaffir right? I should have glassed about 6 people in the past few years. Dang, if only I knew!"

      But you have said enough times here that you would punch somebody who called you that.

      "Get some standards, and stick to them"

      Quite.
    • falcao
      BBC should do the right thing and sack this buffoon. You let this go and it opens the door for more abuse, whether he said in jest or not you can't say these kind of things in a work place or at a corporation like the bbc!
    • Kismet Hardy
      Last night, my mate who was helping me move came with me to my parents to pick up a few stuff I had stored there.

      Dad: Are you Pakistani?
      Friend: I'm from Swat.
      Dad: Are you a Taliban.
      Friend: No sir, I can't grow a beard.

      Now that conversation between two strangers has all the makings of an offensive, unacceptable exchange (and I certainly cringed like a little girl embarrassed as though my dad were breakdancing or something), but in this context, it led to the pair bonding and both reporting fondness for one another afterwards.

      That's the difference I suppose. Unlike, say, Prince Harry who was just being a racist prick without said 'victim' present to have his say or laugh it off, if there were no cameras, Laila Rouass saying she didn't find it offensive would've been good enough and no doubt no else's business.

      But it was in the public eye. If I see someone on a bus being victimised, I will step in. If I see someone on TV being victimised (and it stops being about Laila the moment someone watching an 'entertainment' show is reminded of the abuse they have or are suffering), I think we should step in too.

      Oh and Marvin, it's okay to want to smash people's faces in. Doesn't mean you should, like... (PS. Who the fuck calls someone 'kaffir' these days?! Where'd you live dude?)
    • Kismet Hardy
      Actually Marvin, just read some of your earlier posts. You're not black at all, are you? Just your average pro-BNP muslim basher in black clothes who thinks Marvin is an apt name for a black fellow.

      J'accuse. I claim my 5 euros
    • Dalbir
      Marvin@8

      Is that some sort of defence?
    • mary
      If he had said "You look like a pakistani", would it have been an insult or a compliment or neither?
    • persephone
      how can you look 'like' a pakistani?

      And why does a person have to say it anyway. Its like me saying to a caucasian you look welsh/scottish/english/irish just because of their skin colour. Would they take that as a compliment or insult?

      I say this because I was speaking to an Irish policewoman who said some people saw it as an insult being thought of as Irish
    • Amrit
      Marvin, don't even try it. While 'kaffir' is hardly a celebratory term, it doesn't have the same meaning in this country that 'Paki' does.

      Unless, as I suspect, you are actually referring to it in the religious, specifically Muslim, usage. Given the rest of your comment, it seems so. In which case, newsflash: religion is not the same thing as race.

      Unlike the Asian community, where a majority would never date a black man. The most discriminatory culture in the country according to the statistics on inter-racial relationships.


      1) Bullshit. Most of the men most Asian girls my age (and younger) fantasise about and would kill to date are - guess who? Bollywood actors? Nope, that's right - rappers, black actors and male models! My dear cousin, who is of a decidedly more submissive bent than I, has even declared Tyson Beckford and several other black (or very occasionally, Hispanic) male celebrities 'my husband.' This is a huge reason why Asian boys ape black gangster rappers so much (other than stupidity); they want to be desirable.

      2) How dare the likes of you finger-wag at Asian women anyway? Given that many of them face honour-based violence, being disowned or more mildly (as I am anticipating) years of familial and community shunning and rejection, don't you dare try to blame us for the networks of guilt and shame that bind and distort our sexual agency.

      Furthermore, there isn't an 'Asian culture,' there are several. I doubt the Chinese would be pleased at being lumped in willy-nilly in your generalisation, and if you told some Indians and Pakistanis that you consider them part of the same 'Asian culture' - more fool you.

      Criticise and get angry at bigoted behaviour by individuals by all means, but when you start blithely referring to large bodies of people, you should check first you don’t sound like a complete hypocrite


      Pot, kettle, black. Though I must say, I do share Kismet's misgivings about the latter.


      Rumbold - thank you for highlighting the lack of sincerity in this. Why is it so hard to just NOT use racist language, and then to apologise genuinely when you do?

      The P-word is not Anton's, or anyone's else's, to use with abandon. A handy lesson non-Asians might want to take from this, is that you can ONLY use such language with somebody if they explicitly say you can - and even then, only with that person. Once you start trying to pull that crap with other people, you're only asking for a well-deserved beating.

      I don't know about other Asians, but when people use that type of language, it really feels like they are trying to summon up the power dynamic of the days of the Raj. Using insults to control and dominate. Maybe some people need a little history lesson as to how things are in the 21st century...
    • persephone
      Bravo Amrit

      A tour de force @20
    • persephone
      Another apology today by an Oz presenter:

      An Australian variety show host apologised to Harry Connick Jr after a skit that parodied the Jackson Five. Connick, a guest judge on Hey Hey It's Saturday, was visibly upset by the skit, in which four men with afro wigs and blacked-up faces sang and danced behind a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing white face make-up.

      Connick gave the performance a zero score and said he would not have appeared on the show if he'd known about the skit.

      Host Daryl Somers apologised to Connick at the end of the live show.

      Somers said: "I think we may have offended you with that act and I deeply apologise on behalf of all of us. I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine."

      Somers seems to mean it is only offensive to USA, not to Ozzies & all other countries it appears
    • Rumbold
      I think people have mistaken what Marvin meant. He didn't mean that Asian women didn't date black men because they are racist, but because there is pressure on them not to. Or at least that is the way I understood his comment.
    • Amrit
      No, Rumbold. Read his comment again. In his attempt to make a cheap swipe, he is actually trying to claim that racism is what prevents girls from dating - DATING, not MARRYING - black men:

      Dalbir: Unlike the Asian community, where a majority would never date a black man. The most discriminatory culture in the country according to the statistics on inter-racial relationships.

      But yes, racism! Constantly bubbling to the mouths of the white hoards!


      My emphasis. As I showed a bit further up, this is both bullshit and totally unfair on Asian women. While some might be racist, a whole lot more simply do not want trouble, and you know what? I refuse to blame them for that. I might be brave enough to date outside the race and culture, but that's only because I'm fairly certain my parents won't kill me.
    • Rumbold
      Well, perhaps Marvin can clarify what he meant. Perhaps you are right.
    • Jai
      Rumbold,

      Could you please check your email when you have a spare minute.
    • Ravi Naik
      Let's put things in perspective.

      I think everyone understands that we do not use the same language and content in every occasion. The things you say to your mates are not necessarily the things you want your grandmother to hear, because it might offend her.

      The word "paki" is offensive when it is applied and used in front of Asians. There is no rational reason why it should be, but these are the rules in our society. Some people use "Paki shop", "chinky" or even paki as a shortcut without racial prejudice, perhaps because they've heard and used all their lives. It doesn't mean they are BNP racists... they know it is offensive when used in front of Asians, but among themselves where is the harm?

      So when Du Beke said she looked like a paki after she had a tan, he didn't actually see her as South Asian, and therefore he thought it would be acceptable to use the term in jest. Except that she is part Indian. When he says he doesn't use racist language, he is saying he doesn't use it in front of people which the term is applied to.

      I do believe that Du Beke is not a racist. Otherwise, he would not dance or be associated with a non-white. There are several newspapers that have said he asked if she was not a terrorist after she told her origin. This is boorish, immature and unprofessional behaviour, not racism.
    • Ravi Naik
      The statistics that Marvin pointed out are on inter-racial marriages, not dating statistics. And one needs to point out that white/black marriages usually only cross racial boundaries, whereas Asians marrying other races usually need to to cross culture and religion as well.
    • Rumbold
      All fixed now Jai (I hope).
    • douglas clark
      Ravi Naik,

      Do you think that:

      whereas Asians marrying other races usually need to to cross culture and religion as well.


      is likely to be an insurmountable barrier in the longer term, or not?

      Just asking.

      For I can see some opposite pressures, but maybe they don't add up to a hill of beans....
    • Jai
      Rumbold,

      Could you please put the URL link currently under "Lakhwinder" under the previous phrase "this is a wonderfully uplifting song by them" instead.

      Apart from that, everything is fine now, thanks for sorting it out mate.
    • Dalbir
      I just can't fucking believe that there is any question on whether this is racist or not.

      Laila is a cunt for acting like this is nothing, even if she is slightly fit.
    • Kismet Hardy
      Dalbir dude, there's no need to throw sexism into the pot. If she chooses not to take offense, that's her business and whether she's fit or a moose counts for shit. You can be offended, just like I'm offended, but neither of us can tell her what she should or shouldn't feel, and it's certainly unacceptable to turn on our perceived victim in such a derogatory fashion. Out of order, pal.
    • persephone
      agreed at 33.

      Rightly or wrongly sometimes by not making a fuss people hope o keep their career going as otherwise they may be labelled.
    • Dalbir
      Point taken but still, a lot of people made sacrifices to stop this type of stuff. If you had witnessed that you'd probably take it a bit different.
    • Dalbir
      Pers@34

      I'm glad you made that point. Some people endure racism in fear of their position. It is a sad but not uncommon situation. It is demeaning to the core and people have to face up to the fact that this happens and is wrong. Especially white people.
    • Kismet Hardy
      " If you had witnessed that you’d probably take it a bit different."

      Dalbir, I went to public school in the 80s. I know the difference between my day when I took umbrage on being called a Paki then the day when I laughed at the perpetrator's face.

      There are some days when I still get angry, and when it's on TV I get doubly angry because I know it effects lots of Asian people who are still exposed to racism, but I'm not high and mighty enough to tell those that are willing to laugh off a jibe that they are not worthy unless they get angry too.

      And it's a bit sad you think Laila only 'endured' the insult because she wants to further her career. That's not only patronising, it takes away her right to walk away Gandhi-esque thinking 'I look dignified, Anton looks like a twat.'
    • persephone
      Kismet, I say that career/job can be a factor but not in a patronising way because I have experience of it. I heard a senior leader in his 50's use the same term to a junior member of staff in an open plan office within my earshot several years ago.

      The junior member of staff (graduate in his 40's, a meek person who had grown up in Sri Lanka & found it hard to find work in the UK) did not raise it. I reported it to the HR Director. In a perfect world if the junior member of staff had also raised it, it would have been given added weight. But I can understand his reluctance and it was nothing to do coming away with honour intact/or being on a higher moral ground. He was simply too timid to make a 'fuss' & jeopardise his situation.
    • Ravi Naik
      Connick gave the performance a zero score and said he would not have appeared on the show if he’d known about the skit.


      You mean this Connick?
    • Binky
      I wish people here weren't so casual about using the term 'Asians' because some of us are married to Japs and they are, as you all know, REAL racists and have nothing but contempt for - well, for the sort of Asians who sh*t beside the railway line and think cows are sacred.

      Enough said.
    • Binky
      # 8

      MARVIN! MARVIN!

      Hordes are not hoards. You are NOT writing for the 'Leitrim Observer'!
    • Mahmoud
      I'm looking for contributors to:

      "How to get away with an Honour Killing"

      Get in touch!
    • Ravi Naik
      I wish people here weren’t so casual about using the term ‘Asians’ because some of us are married to Japs and they are, as you all know, REAL racists and have nothing but contempt for – well, for the sort of Asians who sh*t beside the railway line and think cows are sacred.


      It was not enough to prevent them from taking cues from this fellow. Or this one.
    • Kismet Hardy
      You know, Asians in Britain deserve to shove champagne corks up our rectum in celebration at the fact that this is the only country where when you hear 'a gang of Asians' and you don't think of the chinese state circus. We did that.

      Oh Binky, I saw this tramp (by the railway line, incidentally) munching on someone's left over cow burger shitting down his trouser leg. I thought he was just a dirty fucker but now I realise he was simply a 'Asian'

      Mahmoud. I'll contribute. If you'll contribute to my "How to hospitalise your wife in front of your children after pissing away your month's rent at the pub" feature...
    • persephone
      @40 Is that really Harry Connick Jnr? I wonder when he had a change of heart.
    • Amrit
      Laila is a cunt for acting like this is nothing, even if she is slightly fit.


      Oooh, that's really classy, Dalbir, calling a woman an offensive term for female genitals, isn't it? Aren't you the big man?

      Laila didn't 'act like it was nothing'; she immediately packed her belongings and left after Anton was racist towards her. Are you getting mad at her because she didn't withdraw from the show altogether as you would've liked?

      For all we know, Anton may have privately grovelled to her. Save your anger for Bruce Forsyth instead of spitting out crude swearwords.

      Btw, Kismet - you rock.
    • Dalbir
      Now my fond childhood memories of good ole Brucie are forever destroyed. What a knob (is that better?).

      Look people, I'm sorry for the use of language but all this got me thinking of my teen days and those guys who used to look after us by patroling the street and making sure any thug nazi got their just desserts. They made sacrifices in facing extreme violence as well as being outnumbered. Many did time. Just so we could walk around without being called this.

      Then along comes Laila.

      And the media who can't seem to get enough of the word p**i...without the asterix.
    • persephone
      @48 “ all this got me thinking of my teen days and those guys who used to look after us by patroling the street and making sure any thug nazi got their just desserts. They made sacrifices in facing extreme violence as well as being outnumbered “

      And the reason why they looked after us (and were outnumbered) was because not everyone was strong enough to make a stand or were so used to being mistreated it became difficult to get out of a submissive/passive pattern. Unfortunately, like in bullying, they are also the ones who are targeted in the first place.

      But we should protect them nonetheless and certainly not villify them.
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