Monday, January 12, 2009


This is Ahmed Raza Khan; now, unfortunately, famed as Harry's "Little Paki Friend".

This whole story could easily be buried and dismissed as so much barrack-room banter, but it does bring into question the nature of bullying behaviour. Officer Cadet Ahmed was quite possibly not particularly perturbed by Harry's name-calling. But on the wider scale how would it look had the third in line to throne been given an offensive nickname; would he have felt obliged to take it in good part if his fellow cadets had chosen to call him "Our Little Friend Hewitt", for example?

The simple fact is that they wouldn't have dared to say something so low and hurtful (and possibly true), yet generation upon generation of Asians and Afro-Caribbeans, of Chinese, Arabs and Hebrews have had to smile and pretend it doesn't hurt when their so-called friends brand them with a derogatory nickname referencing their skin-colour or ethnic culture.

Offensive racial name calling should have died out decades ago - the fact that the posher end of our society seems to think it's ok to continue using childish and hurtful terms sheds quite a bit of light on how far we have to go and greatly strengthens the case that language has to be carefully chosen; political correctness has not "gone mad"; Harry has proved that we still need to challenge racist or sexist language and behaviour as much as we ever did.

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