4 December 2010

"M" word becomes the new "N" word?

I know many reading this blog would have no interest at all in boxing, indeed you may even despise it with a passion, which is fair enough. Don't worry, this post is not about boxing. However, publishing my boxing blog Sydney Stadium - The Old Tin Shed did start me thinking about other things - namely, how far we have progressed.

Or Have we? Let me explain.

Many of the posts to the boxing blog are from old newspapers going back to the 30s and 40s. My research material includes hundreds of photocopies of old newspapers, magazines and diaries going back to the very early days of the 20th century. You would think therefore, it would be quite safe to publish these articles. Not at all - I have to check each one carefully and censor if need be, or in many cases, scrub the whole article as the amount of censored words would render it unreadable.

The old Australian newspapers had no qualms about using words that today are rightfully considered derogatory, racist and insightful. For example, I have an article dated 1920 that looks back on a fight that took place in 1911. It begins, "Who would have thought Sydneysiders would pay money to see two n*****s fighting."

Not only do I find that word highly offensive, publishing it would deservedly be considered a "no-no."

A 1940s article carries the sensational headline, "White girl found smoking marujuhana (sic) with n*****s". I am not sure if the reporter would have found it more acceptable if she had been found sharing a joint with a couple of dinky-di Aussies. And yes, they did smoke "marujuhana" way back then, and it had nothing to do with video games, left wing do-gooders or single mums on benefits. It just happened.

Thankfully we don't see such racist reporting any more except for Tony Parsons in The Daily Mirror and Fleet Street whenever things go against dear Ole England or the British - in which case it is always Johnny Foreigner to blame.

To come back to my question - have we really changed?

Let's take a look at the blame game. Throughout my collection there are articles complaining about young persons, "youth gone wild" stories so beloved by today's newspapers. A 1950s paper blamed juvenile delinquency on the Lone Ranger and Frank Sinatra. Other articles blame lax parenting adopted by "today's parents" meaning the 30s, 40s and 50s. The same eras' tabloid readers with selective memories and little knowledge of social history, like to hold up as an example of what was so good about the rotten good old days.

Fair enough, I haven't seen too many old newspaper articles reporting pupils bashing teachers, although there are a couple. However, if they would have reported the number of pupils verbally and physically assaulted by teachers on a daily basis, it would vastly outnumber the statistics paraded in "shock-horror" stories of today's, "our wild west schools" articles.

The problem remains, the problem is still reported in gory detail - we just have different scapegoats.

Have we moved away from racist reporting?

Take a look at the tabloids. How many negative stories on Muslims do you see? Plenty.

According to the red tops, Muslims are responsible for just about everything from England losing their bid to host the world cup, (which denied them the chance to parade Myra Hindley as an example of famous Brits, as they did at the Beijing games), to anything to do with what the press sneeringly like to call "'elf and safety" thinking they are oh-so clever about a topic that is actually more often than not just common sense.

As for political correctness - or as many would regard it, "good manners" then the list of grievances against Muslims is even greater.

True, we thankfully no longer see the, "N" word. However the "M" word has rapidly come to have the same negative perceptions.

Meanwhile, we the good Christian Soldiers are marching unto war with our banners of self-righteous piety waving magnificently in the Wind of Sorrow, that blows from the lands we have laid to waste in artificially created and mass media promoted wars.

Wherever you may be - be safe
Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved