You know, I have spent a huge amount of time debating with non-Australians and trying to argue that Australians, despite initial appearances, are not racist.
Sure they perpetuate ridiculous stereotypes well after the rest of the world has decided that it's not appropriate to say such things, but I have argued that they just say what we're all still thinking, and as a result are much more willing to discuss their beliefs and change them than your average American. Generally, I actually find that preferable.
And then...everyone gets excited about the reunion of a sketch show called Hey Hey It's Saturday (which inexplicably aired on a Wednesday night, but I suppose that's besides the point) and this is what the producers decide is appropriate to air on national television:
And to think, this might have just slipped under the radar if it weren't for the fact that Harry Connick Jr. was one of the judges, and explained why he looked so uncomfortable while a bunch of guys in black face calling themselves the "Jackson Jive" yelled at each other in ebonics and danced badly.
(Having said that, Connick's explanation did sound a little weird, as it included the line: "I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done in humour ... but we have spent so much time trying not to make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart." I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was that difficult to not make black people look like buffoons. But I guess we all know what he meant.)
Even if we look at it from the perspective of being a cultural misunderstanding (seeing as it's really only Americans that have such issues with black face from a historical perspective) you still have to wonder how the producers could have been so ignorant of this fact that they couldn't at least have asked an American for an opinion before sending this to air.
And so, to continue my defense of Australians -- I don't believe this was racist. Just amazingly, incredibly stupid and culturally insensitive.
All I ask of my Australian friends is that they help me out a little. Please. Good lord.