The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh
From Al Jazeera - August 13, 2017

"Prince Philip carries out final official engagement," theBBC informed the world on August 2, 2017."The Duke of Edinburgh met Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement before he retires from royal duties."

There is an air of historic solemnity in the tone of the BBC."The 96-year-old announced his retirement in May, after decades of supporting the Queen as well as attending events for his own charities and organisations. Prince Philip has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952." In 1952 I was one year old. The year after that, the MI6, the military intelligence outfit of the Duke of Edinburgh's government, helped the CIAto stage a coup in my homeland. The BBC would not say which one of those 22,219 royal duties coincided with that occasion.

On this occasion, instead, the BBC did what it does best: pointed to a truth but camouflaged it with a number of choice euphemisms that completely distort what it seems to mark. Prince Philip - how shall we put it gently here - is a rank racist. His racism is a public secret. Everyone knows it. The Prince himself habitually stages it. So the BBC needs to report it, though in a typically BBC kind of a way - by making it frivolous and innocuous.

"Prince Philip's gaffes from decades on royal duty," theBBC headlines it. So the good Prince's astonishing utterances are not what they are, symptomatic of a deeply racist mind. They are just "gaffes" - unintentional and unfortunate remarks causing embarrassment, things he should not have said, and did not really mean, but unfortunately did say. That's why they are "gaffes".

'Still throwing spears?'

The BBC then moves to colour these vintage racist utterances with even thicker brushes as "memorable one-liners that can make some people chuckle and others cringe". That is meant to cancel the "cringe" with a "chuckle" and come up with a neutralising cough. The rest is entirely standard BBC lore chiselling at brutish facts with etymological gymnastics: "Prince Philip is renowned for speaking his mind - often explained as his attempt to lighten the mood - and that outspoken nature has at times led to controversy with some of those remarks teetering on the edge of being offensive."

Such vintage BBC phrases ought to be studied at Columbia School of Journalism and other such reputable places as exercise in sheer charlatanism. "Speaking his mind" is lovely, is not it? "Lightening the mood" he does - does not he? Fabulous indeed! "Outspoken" is our lovely Prince - is not that courageous! Every turn of phrase is brushed thickly to sugar-coat a bitter truth.

Now let's look at some of these "attempts to lighten the mood":

"British women ca not cook"

"Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed" (during the 1981 recession).

"You are a woman, are not you?" (in Kenya after accepting a small gift from a local woman).

"If you stay here much longer you will all be slitty-eyed" (to a group of British students during a royal visit to China).

"You ca not have been here that long, you have not got pot belly" (to a Briton he met in Hungary).

"Are not most of you descended from pirates?" (to a wealthy islander in the Cayman Islands).

"How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test" (to a Scottish driving instructor).

"It looks as if it was put in by an Indian" (referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh).

"Still throwing spears?" (question put to an Aboriginal Australian during a visit).

"There's a lot of your family in tonight" (after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a Palace reception for British Indians).

"The Philippines must be half-empty as you are all here running the NHS" (on meeting a Filipino nurse at Luton and Dunstable Hospital).

Priceless racism

The guilty conscience of a fallen empire


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