The Blackface Outrage

A Mum proudly posted a picture of her son who painted his white face black, donned a dreadlocked wig to look like his favourite football player and won first prize at a local library parade where children dressed as characters.

She was torched by rants of outraged objectors who claimed the act was racist and she felt compelled to remove her post.

So the boy who won the prize, the librarians who awarded the prize, the boy’s mother who proudly posted the picture are all racists.

White people who imitate Halle Berry or Imam or Jamie Foxx or Michael Jackson may face similar condemnation. Should we ban sun tanning?

But Coloured people in Cape Town proudly and joyously parade in blackface in their own self styled Coon Carnival?Cape-Coon-Carnival

Of course just making oneself look like a black person is not ‘blackfacing’ is it? Shakespeare’s  Othello  has been portrayed by blackfaced Lawrence Olivier, Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins – to world wide acclaim.

 

There are too few presumptions of innocence and too much sensitivity to possible harm; too many ready to squeal as a means of drawing attention. Kneejerk reaction based on a single perception assumes harmful intent and attracts swarms of the righteous brigade under the cloak of outraged virtue and political correctness.

It is time that we hold to account the people who unjustifiably claim offence without substantial foundation. Media authorities should penalise publicised information that is based on puffery: that will cull some of the overblown, scandalised cries of hyper-sensitive attention seekers.

This type of one sided, righteous non-sense is what drove reasonably sane and normal people to vote for Trump and Brexit.

 

*picture by Rosalin Deuters

HR is a Pink Ghetto  

      There was a predictable outsplurge of unhappy bleats at this comment uplifted from a survey of HR practitioners in New Zealand.

The emphasis of these squeals has been on the pink aspect. Pink has variously coloured the causes of women, LGBTI (MNOP…?), communists (pinkos) and breast cancer victims. In the above context the suggestion is of over-representation of women in the HR function with all the connotations of glass ceilings, misogyny, chauvinism, discrimination and all those vices of males in business. We must not forget that women known as “welfare secretaries” started HR in the late 19th Century… but I digress.

Ghetto is my focus. It has a hint of slum – a place where the inconvenient people are quartered, presumably for control purposes. Quite often these people have competencies perceived as threatening by those in power.

If they do their job, HR are inconvenient: they say to bosses and employees “you can’t do that; you must do this…” They are wise like witch doctors. They have studied human beings and laws so know what must be done to be compliant. They are usually right.

Bosses don’t like HR because they fetter their authority, give strong advice but never carry the can and usually know where the bodies are buried. Employees don’t like them because they decide who is employed, who can stay, who must go, who gets paid more or less and worst of all: at the end of the day they will side with the Man.

Well, now the unions’ work is done by government, who regulate welfare and naughty employers, and most other functions can be outsourced. IT collect all the stats and accountants rule the roost, so decision-making is logical and economical and labour is just a commodity, right?

Why are HR still there? Because they are the termination experts!

That’s why HR’re in the ghetto – so they get the message and leave.

What they need to do is get outta administrivia cocoons and come back in the front door with skills that ensure utility; facilitating the maximisation, collaboration and sharing of talent intelligence which will dictate future modes of delivery in the post post capital age.

Sometimes I’m glad I am retired; otherwise I would have to know what the last bit means…

Wind up

I’m just a little tin soldier in your hand
I’m good for nothing, but to obey your commands
You’ll never really love me, I know
So wind me up, let me go     

Cliff Richard sang this love song in 1969.

The bit about  wind me up led me to think about the tragedies that we are seeing almost daily – young people being wound up by radicals and let go to sow death and destruction, hate and sorrow, fear and rage….

Words are as lethal as swords especially uttered by people of influence.

Dear me! Is this turning into an argument for censorship? We are already seeing the peopleswing to the right in many countries, in response to the horrors of self proclaimed Islamic extremists attacking any and every vulnerable target. Even the Pope is talking about it as a war!

Many fears, concerns and criticisms of Trump and Brexit have been expressed; some condemnations in extreme terms. The supporters of those reviled phenomena represent a potential majority of the  electorates in UK and US.

So if you get wound up, try to make your expressions reasonable and free of incitement to violence and gratuitous insult.
Wind