In what appears as a faux pas, a Terry White chemist in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, made the mistake of displaying an “Experience a White Christmas” sign with golliwogs underneath it. Local George Helon saw the display and photographed it (shown above). Talking to the Toowoomba Chronicle, Helon said: “I showed a photo to other people and they said, ‘what the hell?’ I don’t think there was any ill intent, it was just inappropriately placed.” The manager of the Toowoomba Terry White chemist store explained to the newspaper that it was unintentional, with the golliwogs removed from the display. Golliwogs were once a popular toy (and an Arnott’s chocolate biscuit) of yesteryear, but since the 1960s have subsequently come to be seen by many as a politically incorrect and controversial caricature of black people with strong racist overtones. Terry White Chemists have now further apologised and withdrawn the golliwog doll from ...Read More »
Should the Word “Guys” be Removed from Language in the Workplace?
“Hey guys,” David Morrison, the 2016 Australian of the Year and retired Army Lieutenant General, wants to do away with that phrase, and others, in the workplace. Launching the Diversity Council Australia (DCA) campaign WordsAtWork, Morrison wants to build inclusion through the power of language. Morrison states: “DCA’s new campaign is not about being ‘politically correct’ – it is about encouraging people to use language at work which is respectful, accurate, and relevant to everyone.” The WordsAtWork campaign aims at building inclusion, acknowledging that language can be a powerful tool for this. The effect of language and words used ranges from validated and replicated psychological research to well-meaning (but often questionable) pop-psychology anecdotes. Where the latter may be taken as supposed proof of what is someone’s personal opinion, all too frequently when confirmation bias is also in play. Whether the phrase “hey guys” or even “guys” is exclusionary or non-inclusive ...Read More »
Vegemite and the Spread of Homemade Alcohol in Dry Communities?
Vegemite, it’s the great Australian spread. With a taste which ranges from being described as enjoyable, to being compared to dirty and worn pureed work boots. Depending on who is asked. And as it turns out, the dark and salty, and ultimately yeasty spread that is Vegemite, is also reportedly being used to make alcohol in parts of Australia. Which is of particular concern to the 19 dry communities in Queensland and in various other areas in Australia, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited or restricted. Statistics related to alcohol consumption in Australia, including the impact of alcohol consumption related to health are readily available. Alcohol has been linked as a contributing factor in cases of domestic violence, child abuse and anti-social behaviour, including within Aboriginal communities. However, it is reported that proportionally fewer Aboriginals drink alcohol than do other Australians, and media reports of alcohol abuse in Indigenous ...Read More »
Ireland Referendum Votes Yes for Gay Marriage
It didn’t even come done to the wire. The turnout of voters was large in number, and before long those campaigning against it had conceded defeat. Irish voters were asked whether they agreed to the following statement: Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex. “Yes” was the resounding answer. All of which is moving the Republic of Ireland to legalise same-sex marriage. Making it the first country to do so by popular vote. The country’s constitution will be amended to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Ireland first introduced same-sex partnerships in 2010. The referendum will now allow for same-sex civil marriages. Voter turnout was near 60 percent, with more than 3.2 million Irish people asked to vote. Announced at Dublin Castle, the official results were: 1,201,607 voted in favour of same-sex marriage. 734,300 voted against same-sex marriage. It’s a landmark ...Read More »
Iggy Azalea and Bonds Underwear: Comments of All Colours
Iggy Azalea. She’s so fancy. But what you may not already know, is she’s now also the new face, body, and probably booty, of Bonds underwear. As one of the new celebrities posing for the underwear company, the comments have already begun to fly about Iggy. One commentator, Eleanor Robinson for The Guardian, finds Iggy Azalea at odds with Bonds’ supposed image of the Australian girl next door. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Opinions are what they are. However, the notion that former Bonds girl, Miranda Kerr was ever somehow the girl next door is sure to bring a wistful smile to the faces of many. Along with memories of her initial Bonds campaign back over a decade ago. For that matter, Bonds has helped to launch, or at least play a role in launching, the careers of models such as Sarah Murdoch, Shanina Shaik, and Kelly Gale. So of ...Read More »
Anzac Day – Politicians Hands Off
25th April 2015, Anzac Day. The pre-dawn world is dark. No hint of the sun yet to rise somewhere to the East. There’s a certain silence to it all. Rather fitting given the solemnity of the day. People move about the streets. More than normal in a time which is normally the preserve of the few early risers and late workers. Hurriedly they move and file in. Cram into and close ranks about the memorial site. Those of age and those distinguished are given seats. Most stand, almost still. In the dark waiting. The odd child stirs, shifts and murmurs. Some are placed atop shoulders to better see in the gloom. Others are held closer. Urged into silence. Each here is a part of the centenary of Anzac Day. That we remember those before us is the request. That we do not repeat past mistakes is understood and need not ...Read More »
Should Beaches be for Locals Only?
The Beach, Is Vying for territory, it’s nothing new. Animals do it. Humans do it, even if it’s often wrapped up in ownership and contract law. Yet it extends beyond that, whether it be the notion of personal space or that specific people have the right to a space. Which leads to the argument of whether beaches, or at least some of them, should be for locals only. For Locals The argument for beaches for locals only, is along the lines of that locals tend to respect their environment more than the tourists who will do things such as leave their rubbish on the beach, or may come in and clean out almost the entire rock platform of its shellfish in one day. In contrast with some of the locals who will actively pick up the rubbish and clean up the beach, along with conserving the environment. Though this is only ...Read More »
Closing the Gender Pay Gap, Not So Fast?
Pushing Against the Glass Ceiling With the 8th March marking International Women’s Day, it’s a time to consider and celebrate all that women have done for the world. Names, but some amongst many, are called to the fore. From science with Marie Curie. To matters of state with Angela Merkel, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Janet Yellen, Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II. To business and industry with Sara Blakely and Gina Rinehart. To those who’ve done their best to make the word a better place, such as Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa. To those that entertain us, such as Oprah, Ellen, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore. The list of women who have achieved both greatness and public recognition in their respective fields is not a small one by any means. And any such listing must ultimately be incomplete. Equally though, we should also acknowledge those whose stories ...Read More »
Is Calling Someone an “Ape” Racist?
You’re an “Ape” The Australian Football League (AFL) Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes, stopped midgame at the MCG to point out the 13-year-old girl (apparently a Collingwood supporter) after she called him an “ape”. Security staff subsequently escorted her from the grounds. Goodes, is both a dual Brownlow medallist and is considered one of the AFL’s most decorated indigenous players. “To hear a 13-year-old girl call me an ape … it was shattering,” Goodes said. Amidst the rest of his statement he also said that girl needed support and education. Adding that: “I’ve got no doubt in my mind she’s got no idea what she was calling me last night.” The girl had later called Adam Goodes to apologise. In an interview, she also said: “I didn’t mean it in a racist way and I’m sorry to the club and the AFL.” What About Context? This raises the question, that whilst the ...Read More »
Roman Polanski’s Contraceptive Comments Court Controversy at Cannes
The Cannes Film Festival, a scene of glitz and glamour. Another place for the stars to shine, and also a place for some of the less mainstream, outside of Hollywood, films to maybe do the same. Amongst those was director Roman Polanski, there to premiere his latest film, Venus in Fur. The film stars Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Mathieu Amalric. Adapted from the play by David Ives, it tells the story of an actress and theatre director rehearsing Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella Venus in Furs. Examining the roles of gender, as the actress overshadows the director. Not that Roman Polanski is any stranger to controversy, his 1979 conviction of having sex with a minor, saw him flee the United States to avoid further legal issues. (Maybe playing out vaguely somewhat like Lolita.) Polanski has again courted controversy with his comments at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Whether ...Read More »