Friday, March 4, 2011
Why John Galliano's Behaviour Should Never Be Defended
As a child growing up in a tiny village in South Wales where me and my sister were the only children of colour raised by a white father we were often singled out for racist taunts. This abuse sometimes turned physical and I was regularly chased by crowds of kids and taunted about my skin colour. This lasted continually up until I was 11 years old and we moved to a multi-cultural town in the South East of England called Milton Keynes. Here there were many other mixed raced children so the racist taunts pretty much ceased. Then came September 11th with the attacks in America committed by Muslim extremists and the taunts started up again. I am not Muslim nor am I Asian but to many I look Asian. I particularly remember going on a night out with friends in Milton Keynes when a bunch of lads started shouting anti-Muslim abuse at me. All of these experiences were terribly upsetting and some of the situations left me feeling terrified and abused.
So I get very angry when I hear people both in the press and on twitter defending the actions of John Galliano. Chanel Iman, the Vogue Italia editor and Patricia Field have all spoken up in defence of the designer. There is NO excuse for racism. Many have cited possible mental health problems or alleged alcoholism as an excuse for his behaviour. Well I'm here to say it’s NOT an excuse. Lets not forget this wasn’t a one off incident nor was it a one word slip up (not that, that would be acceptable either) – it was a tirade of racist abuse. This is NOT acceptable and when people in the public eye speak up for him they make it seem acceptable – as long as you have a good reason of course (like there’s ever a good reason). No-one should be making excuses for him, everyone should be condemning his behaviour. Whether or not Dior wanted to get rid of him before the revelations emerged is of no consequence after his behaviour it was their only option and the right choice too. Genius does not excuse racist behaviour. Let me ask all who defended him this? If a stranger accosted you in a bar and unleashed a tirade of racist abuse at you or a friend or family member would you defend the abuser? Would you say – oh its not his fault he’s ill he needs help? Or would you be appalled and disgusted and would you think there’s no excuse for this kind of behaviour? As somebody who’s suffered this kind of abuse all my life I can say – there are no excuses or valid reasons for this kind of behaviour and the effect it can have on a person cannot and should not be underestimated.