AFL Memes: the racist stuff isn’t funny you cretins

Another day, another AFL racism so-called scandal.

The AFL Memes Facebook “scandal” is probably the lamest yet. But it still has much to teach us.

http://www.flickr.com/thos003/

The first is that any journo who finds anything to do with footy that even remotely smells like racism can call the AFL, send them the link or the screenshot, and immediately have a story: “AFL hits out at XXXXXXXXX”.

(If you can somehow link it to Majak Daw, all the better. He seems to be the papers’ target of choice these days and the AFL will go the extra yard for anything Majak-related. Whether that is good or bad for Majak is up for debate.)

This is because, quite rightly, the AFL has a zero-tolerance policy for racism of any sort. It has to be that way.

There is indeed some very funny stuff on the AFL Memes. But there is racist stuff too. Undeniably racist pictures comparing indigenous players to animals, making light of petrol sniffing,  rehashing tired old American racist stereotypes about African Americans and transferring them onto Majak Daw, an African-Australian.

I’m not going to get into a debate about why a “joke” about whether Majak Daw being hard to see in the dark is racist or not – because there is no debate. It is racist full stop. It is making a joke predicated on the colour of the man’s skin, his race.

What I find interesting is not just the level of ignorance involved in thinking that a plainly racist image is funny, but that putting it on a public forum using your real name.

Surely after the Ben Polis episode people would have worked out that Facebook is all public now and that if you put something on Facebook, for all intents and purposes, you may as well be writing an article in the Herald Sun.

The state of Victoria, along with others, has quite well-defined racial vilification laws. Were the AFL minded to really make a statement on this, they could ask the police follow the example of the Welsh cops who arrested and charged Liam Stacey with making racially offensive comments about Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after the Bolton midfielder collapsed on the pitch.

Stacey got a few months in jail for his trouble and while I don’t feel that jail is the correct response to this kind of thing, I don’t hand out sentences. It may be there’s a magistrate who finds the kind of racism AFL Memes indulged in does warrant a few weeks inside. The AFL would probably like that. A lot.

There’s an argument against what I’m saying that is traditionally made by types who feel that making racist jokes is OK.

It is that those opposing are crazed politically correct types who believe no jokes can be made regarding people of a non-white colour.

This isn’t true: make all the jokes you want about Majak being suspended for missing rehab sessions because he was out on the lash or about how Betts is a front runner. Just don’t make jokes about the colour of their skin.

But then really, some people are just plain ignorant. Even a simple concept like that above is beyond them.  The bloke who runs AFL Memes – which is affiliated with the turgidly boring thisisafl.com mob – popped up on BigFooty to tell us:

“I’m actually the admin of the page. As of yet I haven’t heard anything from anyone regarding taking the page down or deleting photos, so I just took it upon myself to delete some and take the logos off.

“The one the article [everyone] seems to have a problem with is one with Brad Scott talking to Majak, with the caption ‘F*** man we need to get you playing some night games’. Now just because I wasn’t offended doesn’t mean that it wasn’t offensive I guess, but honestly, the guy has dark skin.

“At night it’s harder to see him. It had nothing to do with race, and honestly, I think placing a sub-heading ‘No Memes about black people’ would be more racist in the true meaning of the word.

“I can admit whole heartedly that 90% of the trash that gets posted to me is awful. There are some seriously offensive ones that get a truckload of likes, but I have tried to keep the ones I re-post on the wall clean and genuinely funny. Hopefully it all blows over soon. I’m sure people are going to get sick of the page eventually anyway…”

Two things come from this. The first is that this bloke honestly cannot see why ‘a black people can’t be seen at night’  “joke” is racist. I suspect he never will.

I don’t know the bloke personally. I doubt he’s an active racist in that I’m pretty sure he doesn’t lynch Sudanese blokes he sees out with white girls, but racism is far more insidious than that these “jokes” are the thin end of the wedge.

The second and far more concerning element of his statement is that he gets stuff he doesn’t put up that he thinks is “seriously offensive”.

This from a bloke who found a picture of Eddie Betts compared to a monkey (and Majak being invisible in the dark) suitable for public consumption.

The mind boggles at what this must involve.  The fact that there’s plenty of people out there who are making things worse than Eddie Betts being compared to a monkey that they think are suitable for publishing demonstrates just how far we still have to go.

The AFL is right to call for the closure of AFL Memes. The presence of some funny jokes does not outweigh the publication of offensive racist images. That people honestly think it is acceptable to have the AFL logo on a page featuring nakedly racist imagery proves that a zero-tolerance policy is still needed.

And probably always will be.

0 Replies to “AFL Memes: the racist stuff isn’t funny you cretins”

  1. What a load of crap. The guy who runs AFL memes is clearly pretty switched on, he writes intelligently and seems morally intact, rejects a whole load of the garbage that is posted up there and reposts the funny ones that people really like so that the bad ones are filtered out. His main goal is to give people a laugh and he delivers.

    Firstly, speaking of “ignorance”, you speak of how you cannot understand that someone would post up one of these displaying their real name, directly regarding the Majak Daw meme… It was posted by Alex Williamson, a comedian and I doubt he could give a shit if you see his name of you’ve seen his YouTube videos with touchy jokes (which I find funny but understandably some don’t).

    Secondly, saying there’s “no debate” about Majak’s meme being racist is just ridiculous… I’m sure there are many people who don’t find it racist. Yes, it was a joke based on the colour of his skin. But how is it offensive? He didn’t insult the man, put him down or belittle him based on race, in fact, he suggested a benefit of Majak’s skin colour when playing footy (if you really want to delve that far into a simple joke). I’m not racist. I love Majak Daw and I’d love to see him play AFL, especially after that incredible goal in the VFL running the field. I hate racism or any type of prejudice, it makes me sick, but this isn’t racism because they’re not derogatory comments. Is it racist to simply point out the fact that he has dark skin when you’re complimenting the guy?

    Finally, with Eddie Betts, what does him looking like a monkey have to do with race? I’ve seen heaps of white guys that look like monkeys. Would it be racist to compare Gary Lyon to a gorilla? No. Nobody has a problem with it. It’s how the guys look individually, it’s not to do with his race. What about the constant redhead jokes on Lingy. Does that not matter because he’s white and therefore it’s not racist? The jokes are based on the colour of his hair, which he can’t help either, but that’s ok to you whilst the ‘black jokes’ aren’t?

    You, as well as all of the other haters of AFL memes for racist jokes, need to seriously reconsider your standpoint, because right now, you can’t slam “political correct types” without being a hypocrit. Settle down an have a laugh, or if you don’t like them, stop looking at them.

    1. Yes, it was a joke based on the colour of his skin. But how is it offensive?

      If you can’t see that, there’s no point discussing it with you.

  2. Worst article I’v read in a while, the author clearly doesn’t understand that difference between political correctness and racism. The only meme actually posted that people have taken offence to is the Majak one and then only because everyone jumps on it claiming its racist although how, I’m not sure I don’t see any racial vilification. While there may be some legitimately racist posted to the wall I’v noticed the majority have been deleted by the creator as well. The dude above me has summed it up pretty well. Racism is defined as hatred or intolerance of another race, I don’t see this in the Majak meme

    1. “The only meme actually posted that people have taken offence to is the Majak one”

      There were a few others in there. Did you see the Liam Jurrah/petrol sniffing one? Hate to have seen the ones that were rejected. 😮

  3. Ok, yeah that’s a great argument, chop out a piece from my text without my reasoning which was following it… “He didn’t insult the man, put him down or belittle him based on race”. Everyone is going to have differing opinions, if you can’t even discuss a topic with anyone who has a different opinion to you, why did you write the article in the first place?

    1. “He didn’t insult the man, put him down or belittle him based on race, in fact, he suggested a benefit of Majak’s skin colour”

      Sorry mate but I literally face-palmed there.

      No sympathetic insight was revealed with humour. It was one person pointing to another person’s skin colour and laughing.

  4. LOL at the “As a young white man, I don’t see what is racist about this” attitudes.

    I reckon Majak might find it racist.

  5. The naivety of the guy who runs the footy memes site cannot be underestimated. But you are a site that has actual editorial credence. You’re talking about a bloke that made a site for his friends that has gone viral – yet you use terms like ‘I doubt he’s an active racist in that I’m pretty sure he doesn’t lynch Sudanese blokes’. If you had even the slightest inkling of how offensive the word ‘lynch’ is in this context – you would understand the filthy irony of your article. But perhaps you do know – as anyone with a journalistic bone in their body would. Perhaps this is just a thinly veiled attempt to say something racist and shroud it in the veil of ‘editorial’. Presumably so you can elbow your mates and laugh about the articles ‘hidden meaning’. You disgust me more than this schmo that is simply started a site for a laugh and has not the slightest understanding of the fine line between observation and racism.

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