What’s your confectionery of choice?
And why is the throw away term choc ice or bounty potentially offensive to people of colour?
I have to confess, I have been called a Bounty. I’ve also been called a half-caste, but that’s another blog post. The Bounty thing, as you can imagine, has nothing to do with being sweet and delicious on the tongue – stop it reader – that’s another blog post! It’s about being fake. And that’s a pretty bad insult if you listen to rap music where the goal is to convince listeners you are as ‘real’ as they are, even though you may have left the projects a long time ago and drive around in a super shiny convertible. It’s about being true to your roots, proud of your origins and not being a ‘sell-out’.
Of course being true to your roots has also been a tricky thing for Caribbean people, as their roots are a glorious mash-up of West African, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Indian. As they say in Jamaica, ‘out of many one people’. In my opinion these chocolate bar related insults are a bit dated. If you think about how language develops, slang terms of derogatory terms used to describe women also change over the years, so there is no reason why terms used to describe people of colour shouldn’t befall the same fate.
The insults are historical in origin and go back to the days when black people or negroes where defined by their skin colour. It’s well documented that darker skinned slaves were made to work in the field, whereas their lighter skinned brothers and sisters may have been elevated or trusted to work inside the house. It’s a broad generalization and there would have been exceptions but, like the apartheid system, people of colour – of whatever the shade – knew their place.
So going back to my school days, the Bounty insult meant someone who was black (or brown) on the outside but behaved as though they were white. It seems strange now to think of it, with such a diverse UK population, achieving, succeeding and surviving in all walks of life. Being quite a thoughtful kinda girl, I wasn’t offended, (an only child is usually an outsider anyway) but I thought, hhmm, attitudes of black and white together in one person? That’s interesting; I could work with that!
Rio was charged by the Football Association for “bringing the game into disrepute by making comments which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race”, read the full article here.
Race is such an emotive issue, and provokes as many hot reactions in the sporting arena as it does in the political one.
I have already blogged about the dangers of Twitter trolls but the other danger is tweeters themselves, who in a mad flurry of typing, forget that they may have a considerable level of influence and authority, they have the power to hurt or insult and perhaps most important of all, inflict damage on themselves, their reputation and career, through their inability to self-censor.
The Football Association was responsible in their response to Rio’s fly-away joke. Whether or not it was meant as a joke, hopefully it serve as a gentle nudge to Rio Ferninand and other ‘famous’ or ‘celebrity’ tweeters of their latent power and sharp intake of breath – responsibility.
© Suzy Rigg