the hey hey controversy

I slept through it last night and it has become the biggest news story this morning…

Nonetheless I’ve decided to wade into this debate regarding Harry Connick Jnr’s (HCJ) disgust at the apparent racial inappropriateness of last night’s Jackson Jive skit/act on the Red Faces segment of Hey Hey it’s Saturday (Wednesday). He was so disgusted that Daryl Somers had to issue an on-air apology at the end of the show that also offered HCJ an opportunity to express his reasons for giving the act zero.

I personally thought that it was a segment which was supposed to be a humourous play on the Jackson Five. Whether or not it was tasteful  is another question that I will not delve into. On the question of whether or not it was racist, I would say that I would not have reacted in the same manner as HCJ. I think Australians have a sufficiently mature mindset as to understand and appreciate the Act for its humour rather than for its racial undertones.

I believe as a country we are more tolerant. This cannot be said about other countries who are still conscious about the need to continually remind its people to be tolerant. It’s all very well to talk about it and promote it, but if people’s attitudes do not change, then there has been no progress. I think that those days are behind us in Australia.

Our education here promotes the notion of egalitarianism, that is, equality for all. We were taught that assimilation has not really been successful. That’s what they did in Britain to assimilate their new migrants. Here, we are all equal despite our race, gender, age and so on. There are more nationalities in Australia co-habiting than any other. Just look at Sydney. As a result, we have had a tremendous challenge in trying to promote racial egalitarianism. I believe that to a greater extent it has worked. Sure there are aspects which can be improved upon, but I think that we are a much more tolerant country than any other. 

Or am I just deluded and fail to see that we are just inherently racist, and have just accepted it, meaning that HCJ was right?

The video of the skit and the story from a news perspective from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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