Misplaced "joke"...

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markh

Member
This thread is why junior schools should not be allowed computers.

Firstly, I am friends with one of the two people involved in the incident. I am not going to defend him or castigate him. It was an error of judgement and both of them have shown that they realise this. No need to drag it out.

Secondly, some points have been raised, very maturely and intelligently, in this thread that do some of the contributors proud, which have been greeted by Daily Mail "PC gone mad - it's only a bit of brainless stereotyping, so who cares" and Daily Star "Oooh, Lesbians" reactions - I wrongly assumed this forum wouldn't permit membership from IP addresses linked to junior schools.

Thirdly DannyCollin I agree that your post to Sonorous sounded threatening. I suggest you clarify your position or, at the very least, get an education - not sure where I saw anyone say you can't eat jelly babies? or dig your garden? Happy to discuss this face to face any time, any place, as seems to be your want.
 

GordonH

Active Member
Stan has apologised and said he was wrong to do it. As far as i am concerned that is an end to the matter. He was man enough to do the right thing and his reputation is untainted as far as I am concerned.

What surprises me, and is quite worrying, is how a number of people were able to come here and defend the indefensible. Quite worrying.
 

Toxophile

Member
My friends kids go to Heritage School and when this story broke, I was sent a text by their dad asking if the head of the school was either in on the joke or was he the target of the joke. I don't for a minute believe the band even know who the head of the school is, let alone tried to involve him in the joke, but there is the law of unintended consequences.

http://heritageheadteacher.blogspot.co.uk/
 

Bones

Member
I've read through the comments with interest I belive if we were to separate the emotion from the facts we'd prob end end up with the following summary.

1. Are the main parties racist, absolutely not is my view. And as DannyCollin points out, due to Stan's complexion he has historically borne, with a great deal of humour a level of comments about this. A kind of reversed joke in my opinion.

2. Is Banding institutionally racist, absolutely not, but like any large group of individuals, you bring together a cross section of society which may include those with differing opinions. Its a big world lets all play nicely.

3. Is PC the offender. Possibly, possibly not. It is easy to look back at easrlier generations and say how wonderful life was, but the fact of the matter is, we live in the hear and now, and it must be respected. If PC is to be changed, then society must change, not brass banding. We cant be the examplar, we are too small and inconsequential.

4. Was the routine funny, clearly some of the audience, possibly most. But if it touched a nerve with someone, then it wasnt collectively funny. If someone complained then it needed investigating. The galling aspect, is the alleged comment that was " if I have offended anyone then I dont care" potentially that could be seen as inflammatory, knowing the guys involved, I cant see it.

5. Does the punishment fit the crime. Nope, a rap on the knuckles and the apology should have been it. It was meant sincerely I am sure.

6. Locking the thread. I've never suggested this ever, but I do feel the discussion has gone its course, and I cant see how it will help the process that Stan and Graham are ungoing at the moment.

7. Bolsover, a cracking contest, the reunion day on Sat was brilliant, it was particularly good for me as I ended up playing with the band I very first started with, so great to see some of the old faces... A brilliant concept. And Sunday, showcased some smashing music. I played with SYP and loved the opener BassCase, really inventive.
 

Sonorous

New Member
Stan has apologised and said he was wrong to do it. As far as i am concerned that is an end to the matter. He was man enough to do the right thing and his reputation is untainted as far as I am concerned.

What surprises me, and is quite worrying, is how a number of people were able to come here and defend the indefensible. Quite worrying.
Completely with you there Gordon. I specifically hope that Stan isn't affected adversely by this going forward. It was right to suspend him to investigate the matter, but I hope that he is reinstated following his full and honest apology.

We are all stupid occassinally.

I just hope that people finally realise what the problem was and stop hiding behind the 'PC brigade' defense.
 

P_S_Price

Member
Sonourous, it looks like I may have to concede the point to you. The number of people who apparently can't accept that it is not ok to dress up as a golliwog and prance about on stage is as depressing as it is surprising.

I agree. Its not acceptable unplanned and its shows a marked lack of judgment about acceptability when pre-planned, and the level of support for it reveals the levels of "institutionalised" racism in our society. Saddening!
 

P_S_Price

Member
One further quote if I may, in response to those who think that this kind of thing should be passed over under the banner of PC gone mad :

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that Good men do Nothing" - Blake
 

Sonorous

New Member
I agree. Its not acceptable unplanned and its shows a marked lack of judgment about acceptability when pre-planned, and the level of support for it reveals the levels of "institutionalised" racism in our society. Saddening!
I think we probably need to be careful about the phrase racism itself. It has a very wide range.

I have never met anyone with brass bands who is in actual fact racist in the sense that they would ever discriminate against someone purely because of their colour.

I do however know a huge amount of people who will happily use racist phrases, racist jokes. Some of these have already posted on this thread complaining against the PC Brigade.

Now I agree that this is not the same crime as actively discriminating, but it is still an offensive action, and falls under the 'lesser' wing of racism.

These people do not think of themselves as racist (and I do genuinely understand why they might think this). But they refuse to accept that there are still racist connotations to the way they may behave.

The joke about Stan's skin shade (and it is actually a quite funny play on words if you take the race connotations away) is however still racist. Not against Stan, but against the race that it is using in the pun.

What concerns me is that they don't seem to even be able to see the light after such a public incident as this. preferring to blame the media, and the PC brigade for over reacting.

I will try to put it into context... There is a certain word that we all know is considered extremely offensive to black people. because of it's links to abuse and slavery... Now if this routine had ended in Stan shouting this word repeatedly as the punchline, no one would have batted an eyelid if he'd been immediately arrested.

And yes, it's just a word, and yes some people may disagree that it's offensive. But EVERYONE agrees that it is VIEWED as offensive. in the extreme.

The point here is not what you view as racist, or what you view as offensive. It's having the awareness of the society we live in, an empathy for what others believe. To believe that dancing around in a gollywog outfit should just be accepted as a funny stunt is simply stupid beyond belief.
 

GordonH

Active Member
5. Does the punishment fit the crime. Nope, a rap on the knuckles and the apology should have been it. It was meant sincerely I am sure.
I agree. More is to be gained by education than by some sort of retribution.
 

hobgoblin

Member
I have often wondered why there are so few black/asian faces amongst the top bands of Yorkshire / Lancashire, despite being in or alongside some of our largest an longest established ethnic communities? - after reading this thread I think I know why.
 

GordonH

Active Member
I have often wondered why there are so few black/asian faces amongst the top bands of Yorkshire / Lancashire, despite being in or alongside some of our largest an longest established ethnic communities? - after reading this thread I think I know why.
To be fair most asians in these areas are Muslims and Islam has traditionally not permitted musical expression. This IS changing, just as it has changed amongst presbyterians in Scotland over the past 200 years, but it is going to take a long time. It doesn't explain why there are so few asian Hindu, or afro carribean bandsmen and women though. Its not just brass bands though. There are surprisingly few black jazz musicians in the UK and Jazz tends not to be cool with the MOBO crowd. Somewhere, something has gone wrong.
 

hobgoblin

Member
To be fair most asians in these areas are Muslims and Islam has traditionally not permitted musical expression. This IS changing, just as it has changed amongst presbyterians in Scotland over the past 200 years, but it is going to take a long time. It doesn't explain why there are so few asian Hindu, or afro carribean bandsmen and women though. Its not just brass bands though. There are surprisingly few black jazz musicians in the UK and Jazz tends not to be cool with the MOBO crowd. Somewhere, something has gone wrong.
I had always previously thought there were wider cultural issues such as those you outline, but after reading this thread I'm not so sure. I think someone hit the nail on the head in an earlier post when they described some attitudes as stuck in the 70's.I'm not really concerned about a witch hunt after the two blokes involved, and am actually worried that ABBA may go OTT with some silly punishment. the individuals have said sorry, nobody died so lets move on. What worries me more is that in the lead up to the contest no one in the band stood up and objected. It was clearly regarded as an acceptable joke, and if we are to assume the band concerned is not some dodgy outpost of the BNP, then we must assume their attitude is pretty much the norm for all bands - hence the majority of white faces at rehearsal. Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me remind you that we are talking about a movement whose highest echelons have only just opened their creaking doors to female participation.
 

Dafydd_Jones

New Member
Standing back and reading this debate it is clear that banding (as represented here) has an ambiguous attitude towards racism. This tallies with my own experiences of 'banter' in rehearsals with some bands in the past. It also tallies with the conservative nature of the music performed (especially so since the progressive music of the 70s and 80s died away during the 90s and 00s), the ageing and dwindling audiences, and the strength of the contemporary ties between 'secular' banding and evangelical Christianity. If banding voted in America it would surely be Republican.

There are pockets of creativity, sensitivity and innovation. But in the main it lives in an unimaginative and reactionary past. That's banding - like it or lump it.
 

Sonorous

New Member
And the last two posts have got it in one. As serious as this is in itself, it's part of a bigger issue that the 'great and good' in our movement are completely stuck in the past. They are living as if it's 40 years ago. They are applying the same principles to banding now as they did then. This includes musically AND socially.

It's something that we are often very blind too. Because.. after all.. it's Brass Bands... that's the way it is isn't it?...
 

Stracathro

Member
Standing back and reading this debate it is clear that banding (as represented here) has an ambiguous attitude towards racism. This tallies with my own experiences of 'banter' in rehearsals with some bands in the past. It also tallies with the conservative nature of the music performed (especially so since the progressive music of the 70s and 80s died away during the 90s and 00s), the ageing and dwindling audiences, and the strength of the contemporary ties between 'secular' banding and evangelical Christianity. If banding voted in America it would surely be Republican.

There are pockets of creativity, sensitivity and innovation. But in the main it lives in an unimaginative and reactionary past. That's banding - like it or lump it.
I am another that has read this thread and felt some discomfort at what I will call the 'cavalier' attitude of some posters to the offensive nature of the performance in question.

However, I'm really not sure about Dafydd's statement above. In many quarters we are a dynamic movement. I think there are some places where you might find out-of-date attitudes but these are not a problem inherent in banding. Instead I think we just have our audience and performer base in some of the areas (demographically and geographically) where those attitudes are most prevalent. I do think the evangelical Christianity bit is way off the mark.

I would agree with earlier posters and say that we should not blow this episode out of proportion or seek to infer more offence than was actually caused. However, neither should we condone rascism in any form no matter how 'soft'. We should be aware that we are seen in some quarters as old-fashioned and we should do everything possible to disprove this perception, not just through the music we play or the audiences we attract, but in our attitudes and language too.
 

Lofty Snr

Member
I have often wondered why there are so few black/asian faces amongst the top bands of Yorkshire / Lancashire, despite being in or alongside some of our largest an longest established ethnic communities? - after reading this thread I think I know why.
Are you from the south by any chance? I know that you don't have any top bands but you do have some large and long established ethnic communties. Have you ever been to Brixton? Have I missed a post, or are you going to tell us why?
 

stevetrom

Well-Known Member
Many opinions so I thought id add mine.

Banding, a bit like football, in my experience doesn't give a damn about colour, creed,sex or anything else.

Ability is all that matters.

And that is surely how it should be.
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
With such an emotive subject, it is only natural that opinions are going to be polarised and that things can get a bit heated.

As a moderating team we would be reluctant to step in and lock a thread when there are valid points being made on both sides. We do not feel it is necessary to intervene at present, but will continue to monitor the discussion.
 

tojo

Member
im just wandering , what if he had dressed as a welsh farmer , with a tethered sheep by his side playing myfanwy , or a scotsman with a ginger wig playing blue bells of scotland , would we have seen this kind of outcry , i doubt it
 
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