People go absolutely crazy over nothing these days. Here’s two examples I found this week.
Source: Top Gear and Brandon Turkus
Season 21 of Top Gear is over, which means it’s high time we had some controversy surround the world’s most popular motoring show. The issue this time rests with the show’s last two episodes, which saw the three hosts buy second-hand “lorries” and drive from Rangoon, Myanmar to the River Kwai, in Thailand. The three hapless personalities were then tasked with building a bridge across the river.
Towards the end of the episode, after the rickety bridge was constructed, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson stand at the end admiring it. As a local man is crossing the bridge, though, Clarkson remarks that “there’s a slope on it,” ostensibly commenting on the shape and slant of the bridge. Now, for those not up to date with their racist phrases, “slope” also doubles as a derogatory term for people of Asian descent. Knowing this, it certainly looks like Clarkson’s statement could have been more than just unfortunate timing.
This whole affair has left Somi Guha, an Indian-born actress, rather angry. She’s so upset by Clarkson’s use of the phrase that she’s retained a group of lawyers called Equal Justice to sue the BBC for one million pounds ($1.66 million), accusing the network of airing of “casual racism,” according to her written complaint to the BBC. Anglophiles or Brits will know Equal Justice as the group behind the Big Brother racism lawsuits.
“Jeremy Clarkson has made derogatory comments about Mexicans. Now he bullies an Asian person. It has to stop,” Guha said in her statement.
Clarkson, meanwhile, had some not so kind words for The Daily Mail, which published the story. We can’t embed the tweets here – here’s a link to his Twitter account if you’d care to read them – but Clarkson expressed his gratitude for the support, accused the Mail of not caring about the truth and explained that he couldn’t be racist, because he was in a pub with someone that lives near Wales (way to dig that hole, Jezza).
You can read the full, blistering story on the suit from The Daily Mail. You can also view the scene in question from the final episode of season 21 below. What do you think? Has Clarkson and Co. made yet another misstep, or was the timing of the comment just a very, very unfortunate coincidence? Let us know in Comments.
I would classify it as an unfortunate coincidence.
Here is another example.
ome schools in Vancouver are reported to be doing away with the old-fashioned pronouns “he” and “she” for their transgender pupils in favour of a new gender-neutral word, “xe”.
The school board in the Canadian city has approved a new policy which allows pupils to be referred to as “xe, xem and xyr” instead of “he or she”, “him or her”, and “his or hers”. “We’re standing up for kids and making our schools safer and more inclusive,” board member Mike Lombardi told the Vancouver Sun. Another change will allow children to choose to use any toilet facilities they prefer, including a mandatory unisex option.
Opponents of the policy shouted “dictator” and “liar” at school trustees when it was passed after only a brief debate at a rowdy public meeting which had to be guarded by police. Parents who question the changes argue that six-year-olds aren’t qualified to understand identity issues and that as some of them can’t even use the toilet yet, much less decide which washroom to do it in, National Post commentator Kelly McParland said.
After another meeting in May, an angry parent told the CBC that parents, psychologists and medical experts were not being listened to. “This is not meaningful conversation. This is politics of division, it’s getting people upset and angry,” said Cheryl Chang.
Suggesting a possible alternative to xe (pronounced “zee”), National Post’s Kelly McParland wrote: “The British long ago began using the term ‘one’ – as in ‘one does wish for a glass of water’ to get around this problem, but it’s viewed as a bit cold and snooty, and therefore undesirable.”
I don’t get what’s wrong with using he or she. Gender is a hardware thing as far as I can tell. There shouldn’t be so much confusion or extra pronouns just based on how people feel. You’ve got what you’ve got. We don’t make the rules on that. Why bother trying to change everything?
Some people are absolutely crazy these days.