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Qantas finally nails the true spirit of Australia

By Amy McQuire and Chris Graham

Qantas' two competition winners dressed in blackface at last night's Bledisloe Cup match. Qantas posted the picture on its Twitter account.

NATIONAL: Qantas Airways, an iconic company which promotes itself as the “spirit of Australia”, encouraged two men to dress up in blackface and attend a major international sporting event, then posted the evidence of the marketing stunt on Twitter.

The airline last week ran a competition to win two tickets to last night’s sold-out Bledisloe Cup clash between the Wallabies and the All Blacks.

It called on followers via its official Twitter account to “tell us how you will show your support for the Wallabies at the match”.

In response, Twitter user Charles Butler, who goes by the alias of @Pek_anan, wrote “we will dress as Radike Samo. Compete with Afro Wig, Aus rugby kit and facepaint”.

Radike Samo is an Australian player of Fijian heritage.

The men made good on their promise, and were awarded the tickets to the match.

Earlier today, Qantas Airways posted a picture of Charles Butler, his face, legs and arms covered in black paint, stating that it “looks like our Twitter winners of the Bledisloe Cup tix lived up to their promise! Good work @pek_anan”.

Butler also posted a picture of himself and his friend with Mr Samo.

But the pictures soon sparked a Twitter revolt.

One user, John Carney, wrote to Qantas, stating that he was “not so much offended as utterly gobsmacked that blackface is still seen as acceptable by some”.

Another user – Lainey – also wrote to Qantas, slamming the airline for “backing such ignorance”.

Qantas has today deleted the picture and apologised, stating it had spoken to Mr Samo.

“We apologise the photo of 2 Radike fans offended people. We’ve spoken with Radike and whilst he has no issue with it we have removed the image,” the tweet said.

Qantas also apologized to several Twitter users who raised concerns.

Mr Butler has also posted an apology on his Twitter account, stating he is “deeply sorry” and that it “was only our intention to show support for Radike Samo”.

Tracker is still seeking comment from Qantas, and from Mr Butler.

The scandal comes just two years after Chanel Nine’s Hey Hey Its Saturday sparked international condemnation when it aired a blackface skit.

The show depicted five men, their faces blackened, performing a Jackson Five number.

While Australia debated whether the piece was actually even racist, it was a further blow to Australia’s international reputation on race relations.

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63 Comments

  1. Posted August 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    What a shame Qantas is deleting every comment on their facebook page that expresses concern about their actions. As a Gold member who puts the majority of my staff travel through Qantas, I don’t think I’ll be using them again when an alternative carrier is available.

    • Jah Bless
      Posted September 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Everybody should just chill out. It’s a bit of fun and it just shows all the people complaining have no sense of humour and nothing more. Unbelievable that this has assumed such importance really; just get over yourselves you whingers!

  2. Tony
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Jo – I can still see your comments on Facebook.

  3. Lachelle
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Don’t just blame Qantas It just amazing me at how Ignorant Australians are! first Hey Hey now Qantas surely they all should know better

    • dan
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Lachelle, I find it absolutely ridiculous that a small part of our society would think this is racist. Radike Samo is a black fijian…They dressed up like him, so naturally they would paint their faces to suit. The Jackson five, were BLACK!! So, if you would perform as them, you would dress as a black male. If a blackman was to perform as Elvis, he would surely paint his face white..? I have many black friends and they even think this is a case of do gooders going too far. The world could learn a lot from Australia and it’s relaxed views. ooohhhh, and multiculturalism has worked in better in Australia than anywhere else in the world…so, no. We are no racist. Signing out- Honky Dan.

      • Hillel
        Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Hi Dan, I see what you’re saying, but you’re ignoring one important thing and that is history. Black people have a long history of being treated badly and with no respect. Much was done by whites in blackface in various media forms – radio, tv, film – that made fun of black. So it’s a sign of disrespect to many people – myself included – for whites to use blackface. A little bit similar to flying the Confederate Flag, wearing a swastika as a necklace, or (to some Japanese at least) giving allegiance to the Japanese Flag.
        Aussies should know better and think more about other people’s feelings. Quantas – how insensitive they were.

  4. Nicole
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Hey Jo…..Virgin Australia is available. They even have a promo at that moment that they will match your status of another carrier to get your business with them. Head to the Virgin Australia website and look for the section on Velocity. You should find all the details on how to transfer over…..Good Luck.

  5. Posted August 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to see them try this walking through the streets of Baltimore …. let’s drop them off in Redfern and see what happens….

  6. Geoff
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I completely support Qantas. They shouldn’t have apologised for something that was clearly NOT racist.

  7. Posted August 29, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    World gone mad.

  8. John
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Seriously guys, grow up and get over it, nothing was intended but a little fun, no one was offended other then the people running around trying to be pc

    • Chris Graham
      Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Brilliant stuff John, what you’ve just said – literally – is “no-one was offended except all the people who were offended”. Priceless!

  9. Dean B
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    What a disgrace that people have been kicking up over nothing again. Radike Samo scored an freakin awesome try, is proud to play for Australia and loved that these two guys dressed up as him.
    Are we the racists or these guys?
    Shyamla saying youd like to see these guys dropped off at Redfern infers that we are violent people who would attack a white person because of how he is dressed. What are you saying about us as being racists and as a violent race of people?

  10. Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Not at all Dean. I am an Australian-born Indian woman and have been at Bollywood-themed parties where white Australians have donned brown face paint, put on an Indian accent and told me they like butter chicken! I wasn’t the only person of colour that was offended and I highly doubt that these two could walk down the streets of Redfern – or even Harris Park for that matter – without people stopping and asking what the hell they think they’re doing. In my opinion, it’s not acceptable and it’s offensive – for ALL people of colour. Blackface was responsible for preventing black people from working in theatre and was used to propogate racist stereotypes worldwide!

    • Dean B
      Posted August 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Hymala I feel sorry that youre offended by it, but its your choice to be offended. I see racists in black and white people and choose to ignore them both. People that would bash someone for any reason other than in self defense are disgusting and the fact that we know these two guys couldnt walk through Redfern dressed like that sickens me. We both know people wouldnt be stopping and asking what the hell they think they were doing, we both know they would be bashed by racists from my mob. Its only offensive for all people of colour because whining activists have told us thats how we should think. We really shouldnt care at all, we should laugh at them acting as clowns not living in the past when this was something offensive. People need to get over them selves. Im so sick of people wanting to make me a racist. Radike Samo is not an Australian Aboriginal but if these two guys were brothers wearing afro wigs no one would have complained at all. Im so tired of reverse racism from my side of the fence from people trying to make a name for themselves and trying to force their racist thoughts onto me, it makes me sick.

      • Chris Graham
        Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        We have a word to describe people in your situation Dean. It’s called “colonized”. Just feel really sorry for you mate.

  11. Barry
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The only racist thing about this discussion is the incredible belief that the achievements of black people can’t be celebrated by fans. If they donned a swimming cap and went as the bald Steven Moore, not one complaint would be raised. Why should people not be able to celebrate the remarkable achievments of a man who has worked so hard to succeed in his sport? Black face has never been an issue in Australia. You can’t transplant the African-American experience to Australia and all of a sudden expect people to know the connotations associated with it. It’s a joke, why can’t we see these guys as just trying to have fun and celebrate Radike Samo, rather than trying to insult all people of colour?? Seriously, not everything is meant to be offensive!!

    • Chris Graham
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      What a ridiculous comment. The last time I checked, people didn’t have their children removed because they were bald. They had them removed because they were Aboriginal. And contrary to your assertions Barry, blackface had a rich history in Australia. You just don’t know about it, like the vast majority of other Australians. As I write I’m looking at print out of an ad from the 1930s which depicted Aboriginal people in Blackface, with the caption Mine Tinkit They Fit. You seriously need to check your facts before you weigh and make a goose of yourself.

      • Barry
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        To claim that ‘blackface’ was even remotely as important in this country as it was in the United States is a fallacy, and you should be ashamed of yourself for contorting the facts to suit your disgraceful racist agenda. Not everyone is out to insult black people, and I think it is a terribly sad day in this country when you can’t go to a game to support a player regardless of his/her race. If you can’t see that the only people who make this ‘racist’ are the people who continue to apply 1930′s thinking 80 years on, then it is you who is misinformed and ridiculous. The simple FACTS are that it is not racist, according to any dictionary published anywhere in the world, to impersonate someone of a race not your own to celebrate their achievements!! What does the stolen generations have to do with blackface or being bald, I mean why even bring it up in this conversation? Regardless of all the above, blackface hasn’t been used as a tool for racism in several generations and that is indisputable, so get over it and embrace a great Australians achievements. But then again you’d probably rather make a fuss over nothing….

        • Chris Graham
          Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Ah, the old straw man strategy Barry – create a false argument, then try and knock it down. Kinda works on radio, but looks a little, well, stupid in print. Who said it was as “Important in this country” as it was in America, Barry? Answer. No-one. But you. The simple FACTS Barry are that it is racist, the rest of the world thinks we’re ridiculous, and you’re backing it. Drunks don’t think they’re alcoholics, and Barry doesn’t realize he’s a redneck. Go figure.

  12. Dolores Singh
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Political correctness taken too far !! Being a Fijian myself, I think kudos to the boys for respecting the Fijian culture and support Radike Samo. So you’re saying me painting my face white will be racist too. C’mon people!

  13. Lisa T
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    They could’ve dressed up like Radike Samo MINUS the black face paint.. Obviously Creativity is lacking with these 2 and at QANTAS. Lift your game, your meant to be the Spirit of Australia!

  14. Posted August 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Doloros, are you really equating blackface with “respecting the Fijian culture and support(ing) Radike Samo”? As Lisa said, they could’ve dressed up like Radike Samo without the facepaint….

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I’m of Fiji-Indian descent (which I’m guessing you are too Dolores) and we are both within our rights to find it offensive or not. But the way I see it, it’s not about where you’re from, where I’m from or even where Samo’s from. It’s true that ‘the man himself” is not offended but that isn’t the issue here – it’s about what blackface represents and surely we learned from the Hey Hey It’s Saturday Blackface scandal that it’s not OK. The fact that Samo doesn’t have to be offended is testament to those who stood up against racismbefore him and carved out a place for him to play sport at such an elite level. As Kamahl said in response to the Hey Hey It’s Saturday skit (which was actually performed by people of Lebanese, Italian, Greek and Indian descent) “It’s not an advantage to be born black in this current society, neither is it to be a woman. Both have to work twice as hard”. Ignorance is rarely about the intent to harm or offend but that doesn’t mean expressions of it aren’t racist. What this does highlight is the need for is a better understanding of the negative history of the blackface image. I think the international outrage that followed the Hey Hey skit is worth understanding – it happened for a reason and it’s about time that Australia learns its lesson, grows up and graduates so that it can catch up with the rest of the world.

  15. Rosalind
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Tracker – my support is with Qantas and I think it’s you who is a little off – drumming up a storm here. You are missing the point – times change – we understand that racisim existed as a social norm in Australia and globally, it was deplorable and should be banished from society – that’s a given for most thinking people. In a modern context, immitating your hero’s look (whether it be hair, skin, clothes, dress – or all of these combined) simply serves as a characture. If well-celebrated cartoonists/artists can have fun with the noses, hair do’s and various other visual realities/facts of a persons visage, why can’t adoring fans do the same? In my opinion, it’s you who are doing the damage by not letting bygone era’s be by-gone. In the new world, this immitation is a gesture of love and respect for a national hero. Final point – the man said it himself – he is not offended. Peace.

    • Chris Graham
      Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Wow Rosalind. Times have changed? I didn’t get the memo. Here’s me thinking Australia’s jailing rate of black males today – which is five times greater than Apartheid South Africa – was evidence that times had in fact gotten worse. And by the way, I’ll stick up a picture I’m looking at of a blackface ad lampooning Aboriginal people (with the quaint caption Mine Tinkit They Fit) from the 1930s… When you said it didn’t happen here, I assume you meant, ‘It was entrenched here… and continues to this day.’

      • rosalind
        Posted August 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Hi Graham, agreed – Australia has some utterly shameful stats regarding indigenous people – no one can claim otherwise – and I didn’t say racism did not exist here – on the contrary I said:
        we understand that racism existed as a social norm in Australia and globally, it was deplorable and should be banished from society – that’s a given for most thinking people. But don’t miss the point; dressing up in caricature to celebrate a national hero was not meant to be discourteous or offensive. And if our pollies and others in the national spotlight have to put up with main stream media (think about cartoonists) having fun with their noses, hairdos and eyebrows then why can’t we state the obvious in skin tone? The man is a hero! And he happens to have a beautiful dark skin. Some one here said political correctness gone too far….

        • Sunday Ntumbe
          Posted August 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          As an Australian born African I think they probably should of left the black face paint off….In a way I blame Chris Lilleys S.Mouse character for making white ozzies think its alright to put on shoe polish and impersonate dark races.

        • Chris Graham
          Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink

          I’m sorry Rosalind, but I think you’re the one whose missed the point. It doesn’t matter what was meant, it matters what occurred. They could have celebrated Samo by wearing a wig. Instead, they chose to paint themselves in blackface, which contrary to popular belief (I note you dumped that assertion in your reply) has a long history in Australia. And people didn’t get denied jobs, citizenship and have their children taken away because they had funny noses and hair. It happened to them because they were black. It’s the world’s simplest issue – it’s racist, the rest of the world agrees, so stop it. I honestly can’t work out why anyone would defend it.

      • Dean B
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

        Chris youre living on another planet stop making a goose of yourself mate. I had a mate offer me a 1000 dollars to drive a car for him coz he was gonna make some easy money. I said no way coz I knew it was gonna be trouble. Turned out he was killing some drug dealer for bikies and then he ended up dead himself. The reason theres more of us in prison is because we do stupid s#*t that gets us put there, its not no one elses fault but everyone wants to blame someone else and not take responsibility for them selves.
        Your living in the past mate, yeah kids were taken in the past but now its only for the kids safety. When your a 7 year old boy living in Ceduna and your uncle is making you do wrong things to him so he can get off you need to be removed for your own safety. I wish some one had of come and taken me away from that when I was that kid.
        People dont get that by whinging about stuff like these 2 guys at the rugby that they are just causing racism, people need to get over themselves and get that hatred out of there gut. Chris the reason you dont get why people defend what these guys did is because youre full of hate mate and you will never admit it. People make it bad for the rest of us when they bring up the past like it was just last week. White people today arent the ones that took those kids away in the 50s and 60s.

        • Barry
          Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          Here here about Chris! Never have I heard a man with such a grudge and chip on his shoulder. Everyone else’s opinion is ‘ridiculous’ and ‘misses the point’ but his. How does Chris expect racism to ever become a less toxic issue with people like him so willing to play the race card? I mean regardless of what he thinks, the vast majority of Australians, regardless of the rest of the world, disagrees with him on this issue. And why should we all take on the cultures of other nations Chris as you suggest? Why should Australians have the same sensitivities as the Americans and British? It’s ludicrous. Also to claim that Aboriginals have a higher incarceration rate because of some bureaucratic conspiracy is just appalling. I mean what are you suggesting? That all the Aboriginals in prison are innocent and should be released? I do believe that there has been many individual cases of injustice over the years, but don’t for a minute think that this is only occurring amongst Aboriginal Australian’s, it’s a rare problem we all face, but with admittedly large consequences for the people involved.

  16. Ron
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    See Samo is now the pin up boy for the redneck trash because he does not know what all the fuss is about. Learn about black history Samo unless your an Uncle Tom, which by the way your carrying on your close to fitting to mould.

    • Barry
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      This is amongst the most disrespectful comments I have ever seen. Samo is an ‘Uncle Tom’ and a redneck because he doesn’t agree with your opinion? I’m pretty sure he’s done a lot more to advance the cause of black people in this country than your snidey little comments will….

      • Ron
        Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        And how would you know what I have done for our people Barry? Your just an apologist for some meathead rugby player who is too thick to understand how offensive his attitude is to this sage.

    • RON TOO
      Posted September 3, 2011 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      Translation = all black people should unite against whitey? This country is fracturing because minority opinions are invested with an importance out of all proportion to their prevalence.

  17. Rosalind
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Shymala – I reckon you should flip the comments here so the most recent come up first at page top.

  18. Fin Mackew
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    If Radike Samo doesn’t care about it, and had a picture of himself with the two fans, I really don’t see what a problem is. Radike had no problem, and Radike was being supported by two fans, who were urged to do this.

  19. rosalind
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys – I wrote a comment in support of Qantas and came back to check in on the conversation – but what was live has now been deleted….why?

  20. Shyamla
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ros,

    Nothing has been deleted – we just had a cacheing issue because of the server we’re hosted on. I’ve just had our developer flush the cache so if you refresh the page you should see all 22 comments.

  21. Mark Davis
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Shame Qantas- I will not travel with you (or affiliates)

  22. TrenaWoods
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    ….. to paint your face white, would simply make you look like a clown, which properly suits alot of you on this thread

  23. Kate
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    For those of you who don’t understand the vile history of ‘black face,’ and why, whether one intends racism or not, it is offensive and degrading to our mob, see an explanation below; Melanie Mahony explains it well in her 2009 Crikey article post the ‘Hey Hey it’s Saturday’ furore when quoting from American author John Strausbaugh:
    The history of “blackface” as entertainment
    According to John Strausbaugh, the author of Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult and Imitation in American Popular Culture, “Blackface” was/is part of a trend which displays “Blackness for the enjoyment and edification of white viewers”.

    During the 19th century, a time when millions of African people were enslaved in America, a style of theatre known as “minstrel shows”, in which white actors would dress like “black people” by exaggerating the size of their lips, wearing torn clothes and using burnt cork or shoe polish to blacken their faces, began to emerge as a popular form of entertainment.

    The portrayal of black people in these shows depicted them as “buffoonish, lazy, superstitious ‘coons’ who were thieves, pathological liars and lascivious devils bent on destroying white female purity”.

    These were not light-hearted skits referencing black culture, “blackface” theatre depicted black people in “a degrading manner under the auspices of being accurate portrayals of black people”.

    And to take a quote from the late Martin Luther King: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

  24. Michelle
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    To me it seems like race issues are just not taught in schools in Australia (or are they?). I don’t remember learning about Blackface, Jews or anything like that. So it’s understandable people don’t see it any other way, other than a joke. They don’t know the history, they don’t associate it with anything. Australia is behind on the sensitivities of racial politics, even on a social level. Those guys would’ve been shot in that picture if they stood up in LA, on the spot.

    I can’t really blame them for being ignorant. And I have to say that making fun of people is the Australian way to flatter (even though this is not the way to do it). They meant no harm, they just made themselves look like uneducated hicks to the world. But Qantas, being an INTERNATIONAL company, should’ve known better!! I mean, who endorsed this – some white aussies from Cronulla?? And I was just about to book my ticket home with them. Virgin here I come…

    • Barry
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Guess what Michelle, they weren’t in LA, they were in Brisbane. We are sensible here in Australia. Of course they don’t teach about racism and anti-semitism in schools, teaching about race at all will only ingrain racism and make it an issue with a new generation. Racism is a social, not a natural trait. I agree history hasn’t been taught well in schools, but the last thing that is needed is teaching a divisive topic like race to immature children. Imagine the chance for corruption when not all teachers will tow the line. Some of the comments on this board are so biased it’s hard to take them seriously.

      • Ron
        Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Run off the the Daily Telegraph, Barry and post your apologist views there as this is an Aboriginal site!

    • Dean B
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      lol@Michelle… so you never saw the report last week on Virgin about all the naked women Branson has employed roaming around on his island for all his white mates to enjoy?
      Everybody needs to accept the past is the past. I watched the game with 3 white guys, my girlfriend and her half brother and we all wet ourselves laughing when we saw those two blokes come on the screen. Especially after Samo got his awesome try… let go of the hate people and help bring in a new era. When Im out in a group and we are happy and laughing people welcome us with open arms. Its the older generations that are in positions of power that keep bringing up the past and making life hard for us all. Theyre the ones that make the gangs of kids go out and cause trouble thinking its ok to be violent. Get it through your heads people, youre the ones that make our teenagers think they should hate white people and rob and attack them. Take responsibility for what youre doing. These kids werent born thinking they had to hate white people, it was trouble making elders that taught it to them. Im glad I was lucky that I found someone that helped me change, coz I grew up thinking that way too.

  25. Jumanne Langston
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Well after reading all of the comments on this board full of Australians actually SUPPORTING this disgustingly racist act and ENDORSING the use of black-face I can say for sure that this African-American will never step foot in your country…..was planning a trip for myself and about a dozen friends next spring but I just have no desire to visit a place this racially insensitive.

    I’m sorry Aussies but blackface is not okay. No matter how you try to rationalize this it’s an incredibly ugly and hateful practice and I can’t belive this athlete is so ignorant of history as to make light of this.

    • Ron
      Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Don’t blame you for not wanting to come to this racist country. Sad thing about it is that we got a few sellout black people in this country who condone this blackface rubbish so they can please their white masters. These sellouts do not reprsent the Aboriginal and other non-white people of this country who agree with you that the blackface satire is offensive. As an Aboriginal person you are always welcome to visit our country and do not allow the white australian racists who pollute this country put us in the same category as them.

  26. Posted September 1, 2011 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    On that Channel Nine scandal; here’s what I wrote then:

    You must have seen this video by now. This is a reunion show for a long running Australian variety show of the 1980s. Sort of retro “America’s Got Talent” mixed with late night talk shows. One of the reunion acts consists of a bunch of guys in blackface, “The Jackson JIve,” doing an act they did 20 years ago on the same show (that time they won–you figure that out). They’re still doing it. The “performance” is awful. There’s no irony. No comment on blackface. The audience seem to like it and so does the host.

    The only one that objects to the obvious racism is the American entertainer Harry Connick Jnr, who is there as “guest judge” (he was the paid performer the show earlier). He gives it a zero and objects to it on the basis that it it would not have been allowed in the US. It is unclear whether Connick thinks it is fine to have blackface in Australia or it may be that he is shocked.

    Not missing a beat (and looking very pleased with herself), one of the Australian judges gives the guys in blackface seven (!) out of ten: “I thought you were very cute, great choreography, terrific singing, fabulous …”

    Later, after a commercial break, the host standing next to Connick makes a half apology to the American:”We may have offended you with that act.” The implication being we’re not offended. We’re Australians. We’re not racists. Just ask the Aborigines and the Asian immigrants.

    It also turns out the guys in blackface are medical doctors and, later, that at least one of them is of Indian descent. Oh, and then there are the comments on Youtube defending the “performance.”

    Of course everyone is apologizing now. They’re not racists. Bla bla bla.

    Ah, Australia that new home of some white South Africans.

  27. Mat
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    Well, that’s Australia for you. The country has always been racist, down to the way they treat their own native peoples, and very likely always will be racist. Maybe it’s something in the water, or the hate comes from all the ridiculous poisonous everything they have down there.

  28. James
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Another example of ignorant racism at work in Australia. Why is it that all the imperial countries have a racial infection that they can’t shake. it must have to do with a desire to dominate, demean, and destroy people who are unlike them – treating all the world as the enemy or standing in the shadow of your alleged greatness. Simple intelligence should tell you this is wrong and ill.

    People defending this don’t even understand how incredibly ignorant they are. Look at the history of demeaning people for their color using black face. Look at the entertainment industry pushing stereotypes about color and intelligence. Racial images like this were used to justify the mistreatment of black people. Get a clue and wake up to the 21st century. Qantas celebrates this ignorant portrayal? We won’t be flying Qantas, that is for sure.

  29. Jason
    Posted September 2, 2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Was the movie White Chicks racist??? You know, the one where the two black guys dress up as white females??? Because, I’m white, and I did not find it racist OR offensive.

    With regards to the Radike Samo fans, they are exactly that, Australian Rugby supporters, with their favourite player being Radike Samo. Much of Generation Y are not aware of United States history regarding the “blackface” skits. On this occasion, I don’t believe that their intention was to incite hatred, establish superiority, or offend anyone.

    Some of you need to look up the definition of racism, as well as some research on the way of life in CURRENT Australia – not the past. Australia has many people living, yes that’s right, living here from all different backgrounds. I have personally worked with people whose backgrounds are Asian, Middle Eastern, Polynesian, NZ Maori, Greek, Indian, and Sri Lankan. The majority of them were happy to be working and living in Australia.

    It’s a shame that some of you are wanting to hold on to terrible things that have happened in the past and associate them in any circumstance where you think racism may be involved. My advice, don’t look for things that aren’t there in the first place.

    I’m not saying that racism does not exist, because unfortunately, it does. But in this particular instance, there was NO racism at all.

    • Chris Graham
      Posted September 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear. Here we go again. One more time for the white dummy. No Jason, White Chicks was not racist. Because white chicks was not designed to make white people look stupid. Blackface was. You need to understand what racism actually is (and the reason you struggle with the notion is because you’re an avantaged white male). But here goes – racism is ultimately about power of one over another. And the reason you don’t get it is because as a white male, you’re part of the dominant society. That’s why when these issues blow up, you’re to scratch your head (not unlike a caveman used to do, ironically) and scream blue murder in defence of your right to be ignorant. In case you haven’t worked it out, it’s a little unbecoming.

      • Jason
        Posted September 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        So Chris, are you telling me that only white people are racist? I think you may be the one that is ignorant here. I think you personally need help. You seem to dislike, dare I say it, hate white people.

        You have resorted to name calling, as well as comparing me to a caveman. Tell me Chris, are you heading in the right direction? Because it appears to me that you are not.

        The reason I mentioned White Chicks, is because I do know some people who are offended by it, and refuse to watch it. As I said, I am not one of those. I thought the movie was funny.

        I’m not sure how old you are, but you have used the term “advantaged white male”, which makes me think that you are living in the past. We are in the year 2011 Chris, if you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention. By the way, if you are not aware, that is a quote from Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 (1993).

        Regarding the Radike Samo supporters, I don’t think you read my post very well, because if you did, you would have seen that I wrote “I do not believe their intention was to incite hatred, establish superiority, or offend anyone.”

        You said that “racism is ultimately about power of one over another.” Chris, I covered this when I said “establish superiority.” I know what racism is.

        You failed to address my other points. I’m guessing that’s because you don’t want to accept the fact that there are plenty of different people from different backgrounds happily living and working in Australia. Add to this, there are plenty of people from all different races who did not see anything wrong with what the Radike Samo supporters did, including Radike himself.

        • Chris Graham
          Posted September 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          I’m not 100 percent certain, but this could be the funniest line ever written: “We are in the year 2011 Chris, if you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention. By the way, if you are not aware, that is a quote from Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 (1993).”

          I literally pissed myself laughing.

          • Chris Graham
            Posted September 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

            Actually Jason, I didn’t address your other points because they’re ridiculous. And because, frankly, I couldn’t be bothered. You can never convince a racist he’s racist.

          • Jason
            Posted September 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            Chris, it obviously bothers you. Why else would you keep responding to my posts?

            It’s a shame that you can’t come up with any points to support your view regarding Qantas and the 2 fans.

            Your quote “You can never convince a racist he’s racist”. I think this very much applies to you. Yes, you are a racist, and nothing I say or do will convince you of this fact.

            It’s really sad that you have chosen to have this mindset. Who knows, maybe one day, you will see that life could have been so much better for you, if only you just took things less seriously.

            And just to clarify, when I say less seriously, I don’t mean everything. Because there are some things in the world that are racist, disgusting and wrong, eg the KKK.

            I hope your life starts heading in the right direction soon, for your own sake.

          • Chris Graham
            Posted September 3, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            Like I said Jason, I just can’t be bothered. You’re an attention seeker – you troll the internet looking for stupid things to support (like blackface… that is what you’re supporting) so that you can get into long-winded discussions with people and quote lines from Sister Act at them. You’ve gotta admit mate, that’s a little sad. So I feel a bit sorry for you, hence… http://tracker.org.au/2011/08/the-spirit-of-australia-we’re-all-in-trouble/

          • Jason
            Posted September 4, 2011 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            Once again Chris, you have side-stepped the question. I’m sorry that I’m giving you a run for your money, and that you just cannot bare to face opinions outside of the box that you are forever glued to.

            Let’s re-cap shall we?

            Your first reply was hostile towards me, you called me a “white dummy”, you assumed that I am “advantaged” just because I happen to be white, you told me that I didn’t know what racism meant (even though I already covered it in my first post), you compared me to a caveman, and you labelled all white people who share similar views to myself as ignorant.

            Despite your rather flippant attitude and name-calling (you probably just wanted to scare me away, ay?), I decided to respond in the hope that you would provide something worthwhile, and also because you seemed to completely misread my original post. After realising that you were being challenged, you then thought it was a clever idea to poke fun at one line that I had included in my post, followed by a nonsensical comment, saying that you weren’t addressing any points because you couldn’t be bothered (although you were bothered enough to post a reply). You then basically said that I was a racist.

            And now, you have just called me an attention seeker? You say that I troll the internet and support ‘blackface’? WTF?!

            Chris, your knowledge of me is EXTREMELY limited. You think that you can just group someone into a category, and make sweeping statements about them, based on a couple of posts that they have written.

            No, I don’t troll the internet. I rarely post comments. This particular story struck a cord with me because I felt that the two rugby fans and Qantas were being punished for something that they shouldn’t have been punished for, and the article that you wrote was the most biased thing that I’ve ever read.

            Here’s a headline for you – “Editor Of Tracker Single-Handedly Divides Nation”

            You are doing more harm than good Chris. I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to listen to other people’s opinions without pulling punches. Are you perfect? Is your way of thinking always the right way? And anyone who does not agree with you, the wrong way?

            Maybe you should watch Sister Act 2. It’s a good film, with a good message, for young and old. People have the choice to make their lives worthwhile, instead of living a life that consists of drugs, alcohol, crime, and violence. And just to remind you Chris, the reason why I brought up Sister Act was because you said that I was an “advantaged white male”. If I’m an advantaged white male, then what do you call the other white guys who went to the same school, had the same opportunities, but instead chose to live a life of crime?

            I understand that there are some people who do not get to experience certain things, where others do. I’m just a white guy from Mount Druitt. I will never experience what it’s like to be Oprah, or the Dalai Lama, but I’m not about to start guilt-tripping either of them just because I think that they have a better life than me.

            One more re-cap. The movie White Chicks offended some people (not myself). The two Radike Samo fans offended some people (not myself). You said that ‘blackface’ was designed to make black people look stupid, and of course I agree with you. The intention of ‘blackface’ was to make fun of a black person’s appearance, as well as make them out to be a cheat, liar, and thief. And of course I find this racist, offensive, disgusting, and wrong.

            But I still maintain that the intention of the Radike Samo fans was to show support for Radike and the Wallabies. How some people thought that this constituted racism is beyond me. There was no evidence that showed superiority of one race over another, nor was there any hatred.

        • Farrakhan
          Posted September 4, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          Your becoming more stupid and boring with each message you post up defending this racist act of “blackface” and condoning it just because that stupid moronic Uncle Tom peckerhead Samo agrees with it. It is obvious that Samo is unitelligent and is ashamed of being a black man if he was finding this all funny. That is the tragic thing about all this is that you white australian convicts just assume that if some Uncle Tom jumps for his white master then all us black people will do the same. It demonstrates that white australian convicts lack any form of intelligence and therefore should be consigned to the category of irrelevant when it comes to any form of logical discussion when it comes to race relations in this backward racist country known as Ostralyia.

          • Jason
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

            Let’s set the record straight.

            1. Samo said that he was not offended by it, nor were quite a number of people from all different backgrounds – however, it was offensive to some, and everyone must keep in mind that there are always going to be things in the world that will offend some, but not others.

            2. Wow! You’re really going to resort to name-calling Samo, seriously? Very unintelligent and uncalled for.

            3. My background is German and I was born in the 1980′s. So, no, I’m not a convict, but thanks for assuming that I was. By the way, the convicts arrived over 200 years ago. I think people have well and truly moved on…. well, some have, unfortunately you still haven’t.

            4. Backward racist country? Well, there are still some racist jerks in this country, as there are in the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand, but there are also people living here who do believe in equal human rights and are trying to be accommodating. It doesn’t help though when people like you, Farrakhan, group all white Aussies into one category and dismiss us as convicts. How long are you planning on having that mindset?

  30. Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Read Tracker’s latest story on the issue “Businesses must learn from blackface scandal: council”: http://tracker.org.au/2011/09/businesses-must-learn-from-blackface-scandal-council/

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