Seeing racism where it isn’t

Some people are just too anxious about race and racists. At The Stump, Sophie Black (Crikey‘s deputy editor) writes about last night’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday reunion Harry Connick Jr protest against a ‘Jackson Jive’ Red Faces sketch. Connick’s problem was that the performers had blacked-out faces, which has a cultural meaning in the US that it does not here. But Black sees more sinister potential:

Ray [Hadley] should ask Daryl [Somers] this question over lunch – do Channel 9 capitalise on this incredibly negative publicity by taking the Howard on Hanson approach? Don’t condone any racist undertones, but by all means, exploit the ignited base. Pit the PC snobs against the true blue battlers.

It’s the old assumption that racism is a big part of the Australian psyche, with any reaction to an issue with a racial or ethnic angle evidence for this nasty undercurrent in Australian society, one unscrupulous politicians and – it seems – TV entertainers are just waiting to exploit.

But in this case, if there hadn’t been a Red Faces judge from the old slave-holding, black-lynching American south it’s unlikely there would have been any ‘race’ controversy. Continue reading “Seeing racism where it isn’t”

Social democratic consensus

In my Quadrant Online piece on the left sensibility, I argued that the Australian left sensibility had accommodated contradictory ideas over time, including:

protection and free trade, nationalisation and privatisation, empire and republicanism, White Australia Policy and anti-discrimination law.

But I should also have noted that if my political identity survey is a guide, current-day social democrats show a high degree of policy consensus. In the latest issue of Policy, I have an article that collates the survey responses of the three varieties of economic liberal (classical liberal, libertarian, and social conservative and economic liberal) and compares their views with those of social democrats: Continue reading “Social democratic consensus”