Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter FitzSimmons should have known better than to refer to a black South African sports official as a ‘gorilla’ on Sky’s ‘Sports Tonight’. Newscorp columnist, Andrew Bolt has slammed FitzSimmons for hypocrisy after he was adament in slamming the then 13 – year – old girl who called former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes an ‘ape’ at a Sydney vs Collingwood match. Now, admittedly, at the time, I didn’t know ‘ape’ was a racial slur. But nlw knowing the history of it, I could see why it was offensive.

Now, FitzSimmons has done the same thing he condemned three years ago. How about we make it simple – don’t call people of colour (Aboriginal Australians, Maoris, Native Americans, African Americans, etc), ANYTHING that refers to an animal and has been used to dehumanise people of colour so abuse can be somehow justified by oppressors. They are human beings like you and me! Many have had a personal and/ or ancestral history of societal and systematic discrimination – especially in countries that have a history of European settlement. The afterrmath of European settlement for many people has had repercussions that have been felt across generations. Fortunately, racism is likely to be called out and condemned. There is a wider concern about how people of colour are treated or are possibly affected by certain events. I think the recent #safetypin social media campaign is an example of that. People are willing to call out and criticise people who make racial slurs, or worse.

Anyway, back to FitzSimmons – did he mean it in a racially abusive way? Probably not. If you watch the clip, he clumsily tried to backtrack. That doesn’t excuse what he did. He shouldn’t have made the ‘gorilla’ reference, period. He should have known better than that. Nobody should EVER refer to a person of colour a dehumanising slur. Can we all get that?

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