Australia v India: Racism Row Continues

Not posted anything for a while so it’s a bit of a shame that this is something of a rant aimed at another cricket blogger. Sorry about that. Will Photoshop Michael Vaughan as Wonder Woman later this week to make up for it.*

Anyway, I’ve just read an outrageous post over at Cricket 24×7. I’m shaking my head in disbelief at what Jagadish has written regarding the recent comments made by Matthew Hayden about Harbhajan Singh.

Just in case you’ve missed what Hayden said, here’s a quote from the BBC website:

“It’s been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan. The first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now,” stated Hayden.

He also said in the same radio interview that he’d like to get in a boxing ring with Ishant Sharma so I’m guessing that he was enjoying playing up to his bully boy role that he seems to have cultivated over the last few years (i.e. ever since he actually started to consistently score runs for Australia). The barrel chested Aussie opener is built like a brick shit house so I guess he feels he can get away with saying what he wants.

Personally I don’t like Matthew Hayden for all the reasons above (not least of all that consistent run scoring thing, particularly against England) but what has really got my goat is that Jagadish suggests that this comment is “obviously a case of racial stereotyping” and that it “very clearly qualifies as a racist statement”.

Obnoxious implies Harbhajan is annoying, offensive or disgustingly objectionable. Little refers to Harbhajan being smaller-built in comparison to Hayden (and the rest of his teammates). This is obviously a case of racial stereotyping, and hence vilification (just like Tony Greig’s “Those little Shri Lonkans” chant). Weed again refers to Harbhajan being obnoxious and detrimental.

Clearly this is a case of offensive and seriously insulting language. If someone tells me I’m a weed, I’d be pretty offended and feel insulted about it, since it implies that I shouldn’t be existing. Add in the ‘little’ part and this very clearly qualifies as a racist remark.

You can read the full article here but I genuinely can’t see how anyone can possibly believe that calling someone a “little weed” is in any way racially motivated. Maybe this is just a reaction to the recent Test and one day series and all of the associated..ahem..monkey business that went on there. Whatever the reasons, I actually found it quite sad that Jagadish has played the race card here.

What Hayden said wasn’t racist. It was just stupid.

* Or maybe I won’t

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5 comments so far

  1. S Jagadish


    Thanks for the feedback. Hayden has no business calling Harbhajan _anything_. I was obviously dissecting every single word he said. ‘Little’ is a case of racial stereotyping, in the current scenario where every word you say can be (mis)construed.

    The thing that gets my goat is that the Aussies keep saying that what remains on the field doesn’t get carried over off the field and that they carry no grudges etc. But it is bloody clear that it is double-speak. Events that happened on the field find their way on to radio. Add to it the misconception that Harbhajan’s the single most charged player in history (to the best of my knowledge, Harbhajan has been hauled up one time more than Ponting. So does that make Ponting the second most charged player in cricket history?).

    I’ve never really had any respect for Hayden. I always considered him a bully. I had some respect for Ponting. At this point in time, I’ve lost total respect for Australia’s cricketers because of the way they behave and because of the way they get defensive whenever someone questions their behaviour. They wrote up a ‘Spirit of conduct’ which keeps getting violated, but they point out that they never get hauled up by the ICC. When the Aussie ‘Spirit of conduct’ document needs to be invoked, it isn’t, conveniently! Who the heck cares for that document?!

    And Hayden got away with a total apology of a hearing by his employers.

  2. The Atheist

    I agree with you Mike. The Indians seem to take everything out of all proporation.

    Am I being racist?

  3. Mike

    Jagadish – I agree that there is a case of double standards here. It seems that the approach of “what’s said on the field stays on the field” works well for the Aussies unless they get a chance to blow off steam but they then whine when it’s the other way around. I also agree that this current Australian team are possibly one of the most obnoxious I can remember and a lot of that is down to their captain.

    What I’ve got a problem with is the fact that you’ve called Hayden out as a racist for using the word “little”. I’m utterly bemused by this.

    Let’s not get into the specifics of whether sledging or mental disintegration or, to use the proper playground expression, name calling is right or wrong here. Look at the use of the word in the context. It’s been dropped into frustrated outbursts for many years:

    Nasty little man/Stupid little form/Annoying little git/Frustrating little woman/Horrible little doctor/etc

    Also let’s not forget here that Hayden is massive so everyone is little to him!

    The Atheist – You managed to write a comment without using the word little so you should be safe although I’d be careful with your overuse of the word “the”. I’ve seen you use it more and more over at AYALAC and I was starting to think about unsubscribing…

  4. Roger

    I dont really get this “monkey” is racist but “little weed” is not? How so? I mean both are offensive but what makes some words racist and not the others? As I see it its both of them calling each other something. I believe Aussies tend to get a bit hyper sensitive when anybody calls them anything at all. As long as its comming from them, its fine. Even if Harbhajan’s comment had nothing at all to do with Symonds appearance or racial ancestry (Symonds isnt black enough to be able to tell his race with certainty), Australian team would be more then happy to draw upon that association that was probably never implied. Also the Indians arent so nuanced at the art of racial taunts as the Australians.

    My point is simply, if “monkey” can be racist then so is “weed”. Prove me otherwise!

  5. Mike

    I’m sorry but are you being serious, Roger? Read my comment above to Jagadish. I think I explain my stand on the use of the word little there.

    Oh and apologies for the delay in responding but I’ve been away from my computer for much of the last two weeks.

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