Archive | July, 2012

Famous Australian Artist Charles ‘Blackman’ discriminated against

20 Jul

It wouldn’t be the first time a black man has been discriminated against but in this case he is white.

A two year old filly called ‘Blackman” has been blacklisted (irony not lost here)  by the Racing Information Services Australia (RISA), which controls the  registration and naming of racehorses, after it received one complaint. The Trainer David Hayes was informed “the name Blackman “could be construed as being offensive” and was forced to change the name to ‘lady blackman’.

The name ‘Blackman’ actually carries significant meaning. The horse is by a stallion called Excellent Art and as is often the case the foal is given a name that somehow relates to the stallion. When a name was being decided the Famous Australian Artist Charles Blackman was mentioned. Renowned for his ‘Excellent Art’, Blackman  is one of the best known Australian artists still living today notably for the Schoolgirl and Alice in Wonderland series of the 1950s. So the trainer and his staff decided that ‘Blackman’ would be a perfect name for the horse and a fitting tribute to Mr Blackman.

That is until the RISA decided to act after a lone complaint was made to them about the name. Some in discriminant loser with little to no time on their hands decides to complain that the name of the horse is racially offensive.  Now instead of taking the complaint and filing it under ‘loser’ the RISA decided in their wisdom that the complaint was valid and the name needed to be changed. Even when they investigated the reason for the name they decided that ‘without context’ it could not be used.

When I read this, shock bells started ringing . Because this man’s name was ‘Blackman’ the horse could not be name after him. Isn’t Mr Blackman being discriminated against? If they called the horse ‘jones’ or ‘smith’ I am sure that would have been acceptable. What if the horse was called ‘whiteman’?

Now don’t get me wrong racism is destructive and should not be condoned but clearly in this case there isn’t even a case to answer. Has society become so scared that  the opinion of one person can directly affect so many. Mr Blackman has been robbed of this honour because some ill directed freedom fighter forgot to take their medication.

If I went by the name white, brown, black, grey I would be extremely worried that in the near future my name will be banned from being printed or published in fear offending someone. They will have to call Quentin Tarrantino for a rewrite  of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in fear that the lead characters names have offended 100% of the population.

Australia needs to have a good hard look at itself. We once reviled America for being too politically correct. Now America has a black man running the White House!                                         I don’t want to live in a society where i fear that I am offending someone or where I have to constantly monitor what comes out of my mouth.                                                                                              What am I meant to do when I order a coffee or a tea from a cafe?

‘can I please have a black coffee, oh shit sorry. A coffee with no milk.

‘ how would you like your tea?’

‘white with one thanks. Oh no I am sorry, shit,  I meant to say, with milk and sugar’

If we don’t address this issue now then our society will be a very sad and intimidating place to live.

Finally I would like to mention that there is a great Hotel in Richmond called ‘The Blackman Hotel’. It has 670 digitally reproduced fine art prints from Charles Blackman. I wonder when this hotel will be closed because the name ‘Blackman’ is not used in context. Or maybe this hotel is for black people only.  Either way on my trip to Melbourne this weekend I will be dropping by to have a beer, admire and pay tribute to a great Australian artist.