Tonight, the NBC Nightly devoted three minutes to the Gaza crisis, and three and a half minutes to the shocking news that, three years ago, Prince Harry addressed his Asian army pal by the indelicate title of “Little Paki”.
What followed was a discussion on whether anyone capable of such gross behavior could ever be a suitable candidate for the throne of Great Britain.
My response is simple: mind your own business, America. In future, stick to criticizing your spoiled and immature Hollywood stars for their inane, and often insulting, behavior, and let the Brits concern themselves with their own Royalty issues.
Hypocrisy has become invisible to the American media. Use of the word, “Nigger”, even “Negro”, is considered vilely insulting, yet racism is alive and well and living in Oakland, California, Bellaire, Texas, and all points north, south, east, and west.
The term “Paki” is used frequently in Britain as a term of endearment between close friends, when one of them is of Pakistani origin. It’s no different from calling an Englishman a “Brit”, or an American, a “Yank”.
What the media has done for us over the years, is to highlight certain words and then demean them to a term of insult. Before long, those with an agenda jump on the bandwagon, and fuel the flames. One elderly man of Pakistani origin was interviewed on NBC tonight and readily acknowledged that “Paki” was a terrible term of abuse, and an insult to all Pakistanis. No-one asked him to define, why?
“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare’s Juliet of Romeo, on learning of his family name, hated and despised by her own. In so doing she laid bare the hypocrisy surrounding the use of labels to spread hatred and fear. Labels that, of themselves, are nothing more than innocent words.
The word is not important. It’s the human sentiment behind the word that expresses everything. “Nigger” or “Paki” can be a term of great love and endearment between friends who know and respect each other. When Prince William used the latter term of his soldier-pal, it was obviously in this context.
Of course, such words can equally be used to express hate and disdain. In which case, it’s not the fault of the word, but of the human expression behind it.
In many parts of the world today, and nowhere more so than the United States, such words are demonized to the extent their lack of use is taken as a measure of success in overcoming racism and prejudice.
Sweep the words under the carpet, and the accompanying filth will go with it.
Unfortunately, one only has to read the headlines each day to realize the falsehood of such an assumption.
NBC News might serve its viewers better if it dwelt less on the endearment of a foreign prince for his friend, and instead presented the facts of racial abuse in a forthright manner; for example, one that focused more on ensuring public opinion demanded US police officers pay dearly whenever they use their uniform to vent racial prejudice, as in the cases cited below.
 “Oakland shooting fuels anger over police brutality” AP, January 10th 2009
 “Bellaire police shooting unearths unease” Houston Chronicle, January 11th 2009
Filed under: Naughty names