“Australia turned out to be a sensational place. Albeit, one of the most comfortably racist I’ve ever been in.”
That was what British comedian and and news correspondent John Oliver had to say about Australia after a recent visit here.
Oliver has been a regular on US nightly news program The Daily Show since 2006. He is even set to take over Jon Stewart’s hosting duties when the show’s famous figurehead takes time off to direct a movie later this year.
Basically, he’s a pretty big deal. Nominated for numerous Emmy and Writer’s Guild awards, he’s extremely influential and highly regarded among the predominately left-wing and educated Americans who watch the show.
And he thinks Australians are racists.
…Every country has its awful, racist extremists. But those people aren’t racist because they’re American or Australian or English or Kiwi. Those people are racist because they’re just crappy people. And you can find crappy people anywhere.
But what about the casually racist stuff? Does it have to be extreme to give us a bad name? We all know someone who loves to tell an Aboriginal joke, or stereotypes those of Asian heritage like there’s no tomorrow. Are those ‘casually’ racist people also out of line? Are they also to blame for our supposed ‘bad’ reputation?
Maybe it’s not just the extremists who are uncomfortably forcing us all into this ‘comfortably racist’ pigeon-hole.
John Oliver is an intelligent and informed comedian. His comments about Australia were mostly made in jest. But it’s often said that behind every joke, lies a hint of truth.
So what do you think? Are Australians “comfortably racist,” or were John Oliver’s comments totally unfair?