Monday 26 December 2011

Hansen's Generational Gaffe Similarly "Unbelievable"

Since much of the sports media are reporting what word Alan Hansen, long-time pundit on BBC One's Match of the Day programme, used to describe people of African descent (see examples at BBC Sport, Guardian and Daily Mail), this is a freeze frame of fellow pundit Lee Dixon's reaction when he heard the word "coloured" used by Hansen the second time. He takes a long sideways glance at host Gary Lineker. Priceless!

Alan Hansen and Lee Dixon

IMHO, Alan Hansen was not purposely being racist, discriminatory or vindictive. It doesn't excuse what he said either, but the whole sensitivity issue about racism has put everyone on edge.

For instance, the media have especially scrutinized Hansen's use of the word "coloured", when most people know that he was referring to a racial group that at various times have been labelled Negroes, blacks and people of African descent.

But have the media equally scrutinized Hansen's use of other words? For example, Hansen often uses the word "unbelievable" and most recently used it to describe the form of Robin van Persie. Labelling something as "unbelievable" is incorrect because in reality if something incredible, extraordinary or special happens and is documented then it is by definition 'believable'. We aren't sensitized to scrutinizing commentators' words to certain levels of exactness, so why use double standards when someone incorrectly and perhaps ignorantly (due mostly to generational and educational differences) used the word "coloured"? The whole sensitivity issue about racism has put everyone on tenterhooks. Unbelievable Extraordinary!

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