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Prince Harry. Racist remark or friendly banter?

Have the daft thought-police been activated with Harry’s ‘paki’ remark or was what he said racist?

Published on January 13th 2009.


Prince Harry. Racist remark or friendly banter?

The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..Yes:Yes:Yes:Yes:- 46%- 46%Yes:Yes:Yes:Yes:- 46%- 46%No:No:No:No:- 54%- 54%No:No:No:No:- 54%- 54%The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..The Results so far..Yes:Yes:Yes:Yes:- 46%- 46%Yes:Yes:Yes:Yes:- 46%- 46%No:No:No:No:- 54%- 54%No:No:No:No:- 54%- 54%

The three year old video released of Prince Harry referring to his colleague as 'our little Paki friend' has created yet another Royal mess.

It's also provoked debate of whether it's okay to use derogotary or 'racist' terms amongst friends if they're fine with it.

Racist remarks and the Royals is not a new association, of course. The 87-year-old Prince Philip is perhaps best known for his loose tongue. But can it really be a case of like grandfather, like grandson? Or has Prince Harry's comments come from a generation who have now incorporated historically racist words into the context of colloquial conversations amongst multi-cultural friends? In other words we’ve moved on yet again.

And this is the core of the problem. ‘Paki’ as used by skinheads in the seventies (and idiots today) as an insult, referring to implied inferiority, is of course vile and to be condemned outright. But if it’s mates joshing – and seemingly ok with it - where does that leave us?

To condemn or police this interaction moves us into the realms of thought police. To purge language is always a suspect strategy: the natural change of English under the influence of a multi-cultural reality and people’s direct experience in meeting each other is the best way for linguistic adaptation. What was acceptable in one generation becomes unacceptable in the next.

That said, Harry’s behaviour does cause concern. Remember he was the silly boy who wore a Nazi uniform to a friend's fancy dress party. This time his rash words, rather than actions, have compromised the image of the Army and annoyed a large section of British people. What will he do next?

Gordon Brown has said the British public will let him off, and Harry has said sorry. Perhaps that’s the end of that, but the whole affair raises questions of how we react to such transgressions from prominent figures; and how we might normalise relations between groups with different ethnic backgrounds, whilst not trying to control language.

Confidential promotes open debate but any offensive remarks on this subject will be removed immediately.

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53 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

SiJanuary 13th 2009.

How come these racial undertones are always implied when a white Brit uses the term(s) that both blacks and asians use amongst themselves as nothing more than a greeting? Several of my mates gladly refer to themselves as a "p*ki" or a "n**ger", almost as an identity rather than an insult, yet it's deemed unacceptable whenever it's used by anyone outside of their own community?

The QueenJanuary 13th 2009.

Well this is a minefield. Where do I sit on the on the political racism fence calling my little Grandson a ginger tyke? Oooh he does get into some scrapes with his tomfoolery.

johnthebriefJanuary 13th 2009.

There certainly doesn't seem to be any shortage of people ready to take offence on behalf of others

emma graceJanuary 13th 2009.

He should definitely have known better...the fact that he said it shows that he thinks it, and the fact that he thinks it says it all as far as I'm concerned

BeeJanuary 13th 2009.

In reality the term 'paki' should be about as insulting as 'brit'. It's because the word has been hijacked by people intent on using it as a derrogatory term that people find its use offensive. Communities need to reinscribe the meaning of words and reduce their power. We should only be upset if Harry's friend was - only he understands any malicious intent behind the word's use.

Jimi CJanuary 13th 2009.

The lad was involved in banter amongst his own platoon, the soldier himself has admitted himself he does not see the issue.We've all used terms which can be turned around to make us look like racists.The issue being that Prince Harry can't say a thing without ten cameras recording it, sad way to live your life personally.I personally like the fact he's human and he acts the same as the rest of us.

ChippychapJanuary 13th 2009.

Probably gets it off his dad James Hewitt

ErnaldJanuary 13th 2009.

Such a very trivial matter.

MacJanuary 13th 2009.

My husband was Jock in the army his mates were 'scouse' Taffy' geordie' mick and Paddy. nobody objected! it was not malicious!!!

get a lifeJanuary 13th 2009.

Please please please, all of you who are getting offended on Harry's colleagues' behalf - get a life. This has nothing to do with you.The bottom line is, the chap in question was NOT offended. Furthermore, the context is important, not the term - it was not said in a malicious, offensive way and the chap was not offended, so thats the end of it!You people who get upset about all these things are helping to destroy this country. Concentrate your anger on the government - they are destroying our liberty, our freedom, right before our eyes and hardly anyone realises or gives a damn.

eugene aka get a lifeJanuary 13th 2009.

Check out http://www.no2id.net/IDSchemes/whyNot.php for more info. (Hope this doesn't breach any terms of this site, I am a regular poster, just voicing my opinion on something I am gravely concerned about)cheers

zabzyJanuary 13th 2009.

Who cares really, my Uncle John from Jamaica calls me "Dutty White Bwoy" but you dont see me crying!!

Secret4uJanuary 13th 2009.

Prince Harry only got to Sandhurst because he is a member of the Royal family. He was not accepted on merit as a private individual.Therefore, he must act with due decorum as the potential head of a multi ethnic, multi faith nation. IMHO his use of the term 'raghead' is as bad, if not worse in the current context, as 'Paki'. It is a dehumanising term applied to the sort of people whose countries we are now occupying.His comments give credence to those who want to present the UK as anti-Muslim, which it is not.They undermine our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has abused his privilege and should be sent away.Perhaps he could become governor of Bermuda and spend the rest of his days sidelined and drunk, like his great Aunt Margaret.Where on earth are we going to get a worthy replacement to Elizabeth II? Who can match her sense of duty and restraint?Not an adulterer like Charles. Or a playboy fool like Harry.Perhaps William has the necessary gravitas, and self-restraint. I hope so - otherwise we should review our constitutional arrangements. Or perhaps look at Princess Anne's children? After all, the rule of primogeniture is a myth. Ever since 1689, parliament has chosen the monarch.

DigJanuary 13th 2009.

Fact is we don't know in what context it was actually meant. If his Grandfather has had any influence on his views of minority ethnic groups then Harry is a mindless xenophobic racist who speaks and acts before thinking. I'm sure we all remember his Nazi fancy dress. How mindless and disrespectful was that? Forget the Royals, the real Royals are The Royles.

AJJanuary 13th 2009.

Im from Scotland and nobody complains when Im called a Jock or a sweaty sock?? harmless name calling has been around for centuries, some people just need to grow up!

Frank VJanuary 13th 2009.

I was disgusted on reading about the abhorrent discrimination used in a personal video of Prince Harry.I know it's a private video, that wasn't intended for public view. I also realise that the comments made may have been intended in good humour and probably didn't cause any offence to the person to which they were directed.However, I have to say that you can go too far. Harry is a member of the Royal Household, who has had to endure even more public scrutiny than even Britney Spears, but this is beside the point.It is simply unacceptable to make fun of somebody because of the colour of their hair.I can only hope that the soldier in the video is taken to task for his remark to the Prince, "Are your pubes ginger too?" An apology is not enough, he should be removed from his post of soldier, (where he is paid a pittance to put his life on the line, in order for left wing liberals to remain free in their politically correct view of the world) and be forced to come back to England, where he can sponge off the welfare system instead. After all, surely this is racism?

eh?January 13th 2009.

Frank V -so on the one hand he has been born in to a family with restrictions that he had no choice in and when he chooses to behave like the average squaddie you want to treat him like ,well an average squaddie? you seem to be contradicting yourself there a bit Frank... you shouldnt argue his position and then accept that he deserves different treatment either he is allowed to be like the others or he isnt.The very fact that he isnt like the others unfortunately means he gets away with it?!

Frank VJanuary 13th 2009.

Dear eh?I'm afraid the ironic nature of my post may have been lost on you.My point is supposed to contradict itself in order to show the hypocrisy of most people's views. I was being sarcastic, pointing out that people were quick to have a go at Harry, without caring that he was subject to exactly the same type of abuse.

eh?January 13th 2009.

lost on me ?sarcastic? WHATEVER!!! tehe

DavyJanuary 13th 2009.

The figures for the vote look interesting. Maybe Man Con should have asked that when submitting your vote, identify your ethnic origin - just to make sure!(..there's no end to this one - and just to put matters right everyone, I'm Green Lethargic)

cping500January 13th 2009.

Does anyone know why the NoW runs two and a bit year old moldy story with hairs on? Is it Murdoch republicanism or an attempt to smoke out the pc brigade, or some sort of racism ...Pakis in the army = al qaida. What were they trying to do? Or was the editor away??

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

No racism at all - I've got a little ethnic friend we all call Sambo. I'm the last person in the World you could call racist.

sukhJanuary 13th 2009.

I think that some of these comments miss the point of what is conveyed by the use of the word paki. Try speaking to the numerous British Asians who have had (and still have) insults such as paki hurled at them in a hostile and derogatory manner, being lucky if it is not followed by aggression and violence. Derogatory terms used to stereotype and dehumanise people are insulting even if you choose not to be insulted. It is worse that Harry's "friend" was not insulted making him complicit in the abuse. Maybe coming from Pakistan he did not understand the origins of its use, Harry should have known better. However it is to be expected in a conformist and hierarchical organisation such as the army. Also the appropriation of the word by those being insulted does not make it okay to use.

ZabzyJanuary 13th 2009.

Could be worse, he could of called him a Banjud!

A RealistJanuary 13th 2009.

If the results so far are 50/50, does that mean in reality just like the congestion charge poll on this site, the real figure is 80/20 with 50% of people not caring enough to even voice an opinion?

Big KJanuary 13th 2009.

Everyone needs to chill out. If thats his nickname for the guy then let him call him pakki. I have a black friend who i call negro, he does not find that offensive. People always take racism too far, especially when it is in the context of blacks, or asians, what about when it happens ot white people hey??

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

Surely we should expect more from someone who's third in line to the throne? I don't care if it wasn't intended to be malicious or if the soldier took offence, the very act of using the words "p*ki" and "n*gger" (by any member of any ethnic group) just perpetuates racism and intolerance and frankly, he should know better. And another thing, it really makes me cringe when people say that "p*ki" is just equivalent to using the abbreviation Brit for Briton. It is NOT!

John de BaptisteJanuary 13th 2009.

Racist through ignorance in that he didn't realise he was being racist.An all too common thing in someone that has led a privelidged and sheltered life such as HRH Harry.I'm sure he meant no offence at all, in much the same way HRH Duke of Edinburgh never means to casue offence!Lets simply inform and educate the royal prince and move on.

sukhJanuary 13th 2009.

I am amazed, I have lived in Manchester for 20 years and for most of that time have not considered it to be particularly racist compared to London where I grew up. This website has made me realise how wrong I am. Big K you are racist there is no excuse for calling someone negro, if your friend is not offended then you and he need to question why. Racism against whites is not to be tolerated either. What this website has proved is that racism is well and truly alive but acting in a covert manner. All of us need to stand up to bullies who insist on using derogatory terms against any ethnic group. I for one am sickened by the excuses offered on this website for the disgusting use of language against any ethnic group be they black, white or any other colour. Manchester you are RACIST wake up to it and deal with it, don't make excuses. Racism may not be as overt as it used to be but this website has clearly shown that it is still occuring in a covert manner and needs to be tackled. The people who insist that these terms are not racist are just bullies, plain and simple. Try calling me a Paki, Nigger, Jock, Paddy etc and I will tell you how narrow minded and racist your attitude is. Racism needs to be tackled not given excuses to flourish.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

I can guarentee a large number of the 53% that said no was white, what you need to do is think about it the other way round, if a white person walked into a situation where there were 20 black people and one said "here's our little honky friend" you may laugh at the time (probably through shock) but as soon as you got back amoungst your own you would ask them what they thought of the situation you had encountered simply because that situation felt uncomfortable or it would be on your mind and you wouldnt mention it to your white friends because you would feel embarrassed at the situation you were in. It always amazes me when whites give there unvalid opinion on racism; think about it, does my opinion on breast cancer as a 6'2" black male carry any weight.I was in a situation where while talking with a black bouncer his white friend came along, they were chatting and in the middle of the conversation the white guy said "it was me that got the black c**t the job here, well my chin hit the ground, the bouncer immediately took the guy outside - i suppose to have a word. I thought about it and had to stop myself from waiting till he was back with his white friends then going over and waiting for him to say something funny so i could then say ha ha your so funny you white c**t, just to see everyones reaction. Now correct me if im wrong (which i know im not) but i dont think there would of been any white people laughing at my comment nor would they have found it an acceptable comment to make; they would of thought or said 'wooo easy tiger where did that come from, that was a bit strong - i would have been seen as racist, i dont like whites, i got a chip on my shoulder and all the other crap that white people come out with when they feel a black person is not acting in a way that whites feel comfortable around' So my point is yes prince william's remark was racist but in all honesty you should'nt expect anything less from someone like him, he wasnt brought up amoungst every day black or asian people, he's not a working class city person who mingles every day with different cultures (which sometimes makes the white mind even worse - f**k**g foreigners everywhere - think of your own parents or grandparents). I can go on and give you hundreds of situations where in past conversations whites have said to me 'sh*t, i have never thought of it like that'. To put an end to my posting, i just want to leave you with this; I used to live in central america where there were a few expats (whites) and one day we all were chatting (i was the only black person there) and all these expats started ranting about the negativity they received from the locals and how they felt uncomfortable in everyday situations and they didnt like the derogatory names the locals called them. So until you have experienced derogatory remarks from people who see you as different, until you have trouble getting a cab, getting a job, finding a place to live, hearing everyone in the shop queue being called sir and you get a blank stare and the list goes on and on, i really dont think your opinion on prince harry's remark carries any weight. Go on say it, he's got a chip on his shoulder!

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

cigpapers - your situation is unbelievable, in fact your not the problem because you are naturally dumb, the problem is the guy you call sambo, i think he needs to get some identity because he sounds really lost in your disfunctional system - when you realise that calling him sambo isnt right please tell him to seek some counselling from the african and caribbean mental health services.

L.ChambersJanuary 13th 2009.

All this is called European Conditioning, its just the way Europeans are - Here's a funny story. I (a black man) was sitting in the foyer of a office block about 15 feet away from reception. The reception was immediately in front of the entrance and the foyer was about 15 feet over to the left. Behind the reception is a white middle aged man wearing a suit and i am wearing a tracksuit in the foyer 15 feet to the left of the RECEPTION. The postman walk's in with a parcel and looks straight ahead at the RECEPTION which has a sign saying RECEPTION with someone at RECEPTION, he then looks to the left of the RECEPTION at the waiting area which looks like a waiting area with seats and a little glass table with magazines on and asks me where a certain company is. I reply "i dont know, i dont work here" i then point and say "why dont you ask the RECEPTION" (the little box that has a sign saying RECEPTION which is in front of you when you walk in the door. This is called European Conditioning, it's just what European's instinctively do. A friend of mine called Anne - a black girl - who run's a private Radio College was greeted by the sentence "excuse me, are you the cleaner, can you tell me where i find Anne.

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

But he likes being called Sambo - it's been his codename since he was a kid. Maybe you need to chill out a bit.

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

To Anonymous - you've got so many chips on your shoulders that you should open a chippy!

MikeJanuary 13th 2009.

L. Chambers - The situation that happened with you is not simply something that happens to non-whites, I've been asked prices in shops by customers, and even got called over to someones table when I took a toilet trip in a restaurant (it's rare enough for me to wear a suit, but to be mistaken for a waiter when I do) ..... and it wasn't only white people asking either, therefore your point on 'European Conditioning' is invalid as far as that goes.....................................................................Anonymous: Yes, I'll say you have a chip on your shoulder, and at the risk of being labelled I will also say that you are in fact racist ..... not from what you say, because you are in fact correct about a lot of it to an extent, but from what you don't say.

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

Mike - if you want to see naked anti British racial hatred then go to the Dick Leese story - some ranters were even suggesting The British People don't have the right to their own homeland!I can't stop chuckling when I think of Dicks multicultural reality check!

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

Mike and Cigpapers, If your definition of someone being ok is to be able to call them Sambo then i am happy to have a what YOU call chip on my shoulder. However is'nt funny that i aint never met a black person who's said i've got a chip on my shoulder. Someone made a good point to me not long ago - White people love a Frank Bruno but aint to keen on the Nigel Benn's of the world - Think about it. As for opening a chip shop - your so predictable : )

cigpaperJanuary 13th 2009.

Anonymous , you seem a deeply disturbed and potentially violent person. Maybe you need some help. Have you ever been involved in any sort of violence?

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

Also L Chambers , have you ever been involved in violence against a white person?

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

Unlucky Cigpapers, Your knocking on the wrong door. However here is something that is funny, i'll keep these post in my favourites so when conversations about these things come up again, i can refer to your posts to show what ignorant idiots we have to put up. Why dont you read sukh's post. I suppose he has a chip on his shoulder because you cant call him derogatory names. Its always everyone else with you lot. Why dont you go and discuss this topic with your little sambo friend - he'll agree with you, by the way is his name FRANK.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

By the way Cigpapers - Go and see the Emory Douglas Black Panthers Exhibition at the Urbis; Its on now until April - I suppose they had a chip on their shoulders as well (take little sambo with you)

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

That Rosa Parkes had a attitude problem as well, if she would have sat at the back of the bus like she was supposed to. Martin Luther King had one big chip on his shoulder, demanding equality, who does he think he is. And Ghandi, well he was just a opinionated P*** spreading all his spiritual non violent rubbish. Wouldnt it be great if we could just call them all P***'s and N*****'s and they didnt answer back, you know like the good old days. You'd like that cigpapers, wouldn't you, a few more like your little friend and you'd be well confortable.

MikeJanuary 13th 2009.

I'm glad you were being sarcastic there anonymous, because you've just picked out three of the people I most respect for their ethics and accomplishments, but then again, the way you speak you're like none of those ..... the balance between what you say and omit is closer to the Mugabe way of speaking, although obviously not anywhere near as bad (then again who could be?) ..... And where did I once say that I called any of my friends of any ethnicity by derogatory names?

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

Mike, you seem like a bright spark; The first point i want to make to you is, the restaurant situation is nowhere near to what i am refering to, you didnt seem to realise the fact that you are in a restaurant in a suit going past a table where the customer takes a glance and makes a mistake. Lets look at it this way - A group of chinese photographers stop and take pictures of you while your standing at the bus stop in a suit going to work on a monday morning and as they walk off one says "im glad i got a picture of one of those football hooligans". Where's the simple mistake in that. And lastly, with regards to the nature in which one expresses one's self, let me point out something that English people never seem to grasp, different cultures express themself in different ways, in case you didnt notice (which i know you have) black people are generally exuberant and white people are generally reserved, its got nothing to do with a closer to the Mugabe way of speaking. The sooner you realise there is a difference in individual people and cultures and learn to accept people and cultures as different from one another, the sooner you would have an understanding how different people express themselves around the world - Remember the Army advert where the African man is (what you would call shouting intimidately)-(what i would call expressing) himself to the camera; Then it ends by saying "what would your response be". Mike, Only a fool (cigpapers) would expect everyone on his street to be the same.

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

Anonymous - it's uppity ethnics like you that are getting people to support The BNP.You have made the choice not to live in your own lands ( Africa I presume ) so you can benefit from the success white people make of their countries - a success clearly eluding black run countries. If you have a single problem with anything British people say then you shouldn't live in Britain - it's as simple as that. I've travelled The World and lived in various countries and I wouldn't even dream of telling people of other countries what they can say or think.It's called respect for the host Nation.

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

Personally I think rosa parkes should have rode the bus all the way back to her own lands and people in Africa.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

Well Done Cigpapers, you hit the nail on the head. So we must put with your rubbish everyday, but if you receive the slightest bit of confrontation about your stupid ignorant attitude your ready to join the BNP. Listen if you had to go through half of what any minority group went through your weak little butt would have commited suicide a long time ago (or be high up the BNP ladder). By the way assumption is the mother of all f**k ups - no im not african but your doing a good job of fu*king up are'nt you!

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

You probably think the same about your mate sambo (riding the bus back to africa)

cigpapersJanuary 13th 2009.

No Sambos one of us now - he's on the firm.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

Yes i know, "he's alright, he's not like the rest"

EDITORIALJanuary 13th 2009.

Right that's enough. This has got out of hand. The debate's neither clever nor funny. And it's getting malicious and racist.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2009.

and why's my doctors a P*k* (maybe because he went to medical college for 6 years while you thought i was cool to smoke spliff's all day). Let me tell you a joke - Your Life

Oh come onJanuary 13th 2009.

Oh lets knock this on the head. Lets face it, a racist comment is something which is said with intent to offend the person you are saying it to. You can't start stringing people up for using nicknames, or things said between friends who are NOT offended.I used to get called white boy, ghost, honkey tonk, paddy (for Irish background) etc by black and asian friends but never once was it considered racist. Being tall I'd also get called stretch by the same friends, again, referring to a distinguishable element of my appearance but not at all offensive to me.To a greater extent I can understand use of the N word, but then again people who use it to one another (rappers etc) should then not be offended when others use these words as by using them they have embraced it and should then consider it as being non racist.The word Paki however, is simply a shortening of the person's country of origin. Auzie, Pole, Brit, Scot, Swede, Dane.... why should Paki really be any different. Yes if some says you Paki B"""""d then this is not acceptable, but with Prince Harry it is all a matter of context - I have many Pakistani friends who also feel that the phrase should be widely accepted and therefore become non offensive. I previously worked in a very mixed office environment where there we many different nationalities working. The lads there were all very close, and Americans were Yanks, Australians were Auzzies, French were frogs etc, Irish like me were paddys (or worse), scousers were bin dippers etc. We all had a right laugh calling each other as everyone knew it was a laugh between mates and part of the culture there. If anything it seemed a shame that we couldn't laugh along in the same way with black or Asian colleagues. One of my best mates worked there (who is black) whose nickname is Zulu - given to him by other black friends. One day a girl (who happened to be Asian) over heard us calling Zulu by his preferred nickname and put in an official complaint.We all got warnings about using derogetory terms to describe his herritage, even though that was his chosen nickname. The very same girl had been there for about 4 weeks and had heard me called all sorts of other names including IRA bomber, potato farmer etc and not said a thing instead choosing to refer to this isolated incident with Zulu. I think that certain groups look for racism too much, rather than judging each case on its merit. yes calling Zulu a F'ing dumb N"""" would have been way over the top, but just saying 'hey Zulu, can I borrow a pen' should not have warranted this action.By being able to use and laugh at these phrases we are taking a huge step forward and ridding ourselves of past prejudices in our society. By people continuing to be offended by them in this type of situation (i.e. prince harry with a friend who is not offended), we are never going to move beyond racism.

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