Hey, Hey It’s Racist!

Apparently, Hey Hey, It’s Saturday is an Australian institution. It has recently made a resurgence. And for the life of me, I cannot understand why. In my journey to better understand the historical culture of this country I now call home, Chris and I watched last week’s reunion episode. While mildly amusing in parts, I found the “comedy” to be very “old school”, slapstick and borderline offensive. I didn’t find it innovative, intellectual or really funny. I may have chuckled once through the whole show. But, yes, this is just one woman’s opinion.

Last night’s episode has been the talk of the town today. They performed a satirical “tribute” skit to the Jackson Five that was incredibly poor taste. Guest judge, and one of my personal musical heroes, Harry Connick Jr., was visibly and then vocally aghast by the performance. I give Harry credit for standing up and calling the show on their racist and incredibly insulting performance. I agree with everything he said. And for those of you Australians who’s repsonse is “lighten up Harry” or “don’t be so politcally correct”, I have one thing to say to you. “Why don’t you stop defending and just listen for a change – you might actually learn something.”

You might learn that insensitivity, disrespect, focusing on differences over commonalities and judgmental behaviour are not funny.  You can be funny without mocking, belittling or criticising others. It’s not cool to embrace the philosophy of “anything for a laugh”, especially if it encourages or fuels ongoing racism.

Repeatedly, I have been astounded at how insensitive and sometimes downright racist, some people in this country can be. In Australia, there are images and comments on television  and overhead on my daily round that astound me by their racial, gender or physical  insensitivity.

I think that we need to stand up and call this behaviour as it happens and I applaud Harry for doing this. We need to be nicer, more accepting, more respectful of each other. I hope that we can all learn a little something from the dialogue that ensues as a result of this.

Thanks Harry for being brave enough to stand up and speak up for what’s right – makes us love you even more!

harry-connick-jr--picture-1

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3 thoughts on “Hey, Hey It’s Racist!

  1. For those that did not grow up watching this show when it started in the early 70’s, i wil admit it is hard to understand the humour – as you see, this show was off air for 10 years, and the 2 eps you saw were only 2 off specials and that is the end – no more – it was more of a trip down memory lane, so you would have seen alot of oldschool / slapstick and even vaudaville… when this show was on every Saturday night (for nearly 30 years) it made more sense… the last regular show was in 1999.
    Harry got i perfectly right though… he said he knows it was meant in fun and not mean or delberately being racist BUT, as it turns out, it was offensive… I did cringe when i saw this and thought it would be an issue… I am pleased Daryl (host) apologised unreservedly for any offence and am equally pleased with Harrys response… the remorse was gunuine from Daryl and stood infront of 3 million viewers and took his medicine and absorbed every word Harry had to say.
    It would be fair to say everyone got caught up in the momentum of the show and failed to observe the boudaries of taste on that occasion.
    remeber, there is a difference (albiet small) between delberate racism based on hate and unintentionally belittleing someone.
    when the progamme were shown the error of their ways, they withdrew the comments, apologised, allowed Harry to say what was needed to be said and did not attempt to defend it. Harry wouldn’t have gone on if he knew he would be judging an “act” like that and if the producers were thinking properly and thought that the contestants act would be seen as racit then i believe they would not have put it on either.
    1 important point to remember, it was not a cast member that did this, it was a talet contestant – however, this “act” should have been squashed at the audition stage.
    An ugly television moment, which ever way you look at it.
    Shano

  2. An Adendum to my last post…
    Just to put a new spin on the blackface “act” that was broadcast last night…. I’ve just learnt the guy that was singing at the front with his face painted white (pretending to be michael jackson), was actually a black man himself, an Indain (as in India not USA).
    so it’s not so much a bunch of white folk picking on black folk – it seems now to point towards Daryl’s (host) contention that it was all meant in fun and not mean.
    just a thought.
    shano

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