10 May, 2014

The r-word

One of the silliest pieces of news has been the story of Jeremy Clarkson and the n-word. Incidentally, don't you find this terminology daft? I first heard it from George H Bush (Bush père) referring to the F-word. It doesn't seem to convey meaning in a straightforward way.

Anyway, Clarkson previously had referred to an Asian gentleman as a 'slope' (the s-word, or perhaps one of the s-words, this is difficult). For myself I shouldn't have known this was slang for an Easterner had not some daft woman threatened to sue.

Now, apparently in an out-take, Clarkson recited the Eeny.meeny-miny-mo tag, mumbling the n-word, but this was not enough. So he's a racist.

Surely this is pretty low-level offensive, indeed not much more than silly. Why didn't the BBC edit it out?

Contrary to newspaper reports, the BBC will not fire Clarkson. The reason is that the licence fee goes towards making the programmes. There is some other income from sale of material, much of which is provided by Clarkson, and this pays for the chauffeur driven cars and decent lunches of the executives. There would be uproar, not just among the general public, if they got rid of him.

I am just wondering if our problem isn't over-use of the n-word, but of the r-word?

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