Normally I don't really give a crap about Britain's royal family but this made me laugh:
Videos purportedly shot by Britain's Prince Harry and including offensive language prompted an official apology Saturday from the prince and the royal family.That's smooth. Just as a reminder, here's the Urban Dictionary's definition of the term:
Prince Harry apologized when video surfaced of him making offensive comments while on military duty in 2006.
According to the British-based News of the World, which released the videos on its Web site, the videos show British soldiers while a voice presumed to be Harry's calls one solider a "Paki," and in another clip tells soldier wearing a cloth on his head that he looks "like a raghead."...The royal family said the 'paki' term was a nickname for a friend in his platoon.
"There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend," the St. James's Palace statement said.
The second video was filmed after arriving in Cyprus, according to News of the World, and shows a British soldier with a cloth over his head.
A voice, which the News of the World claims to be Harry's, is heard saying, "(explicative) me, you look like a raghead."
In response to that comment, St. James's Palace said, "Prince Harry used the term 'raghead' to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgent."
ragheadOK, the "Paki" thing I can see. The guy's a buddy and they're in the military: almost everybody picks up a nickname and I don't think anybody expects them all to be politically correct. I'm not saying that some people won't or shouldn't find this offensive, just that it's not that bad considering the circumstances and the parties involved.
The rag being a turban and the head being that of a middle eastern or far eastern male. Although not all middle eastern or far eastern people wear turbans the term raghead is used in any case. It's the same as calling an Iraqi a Paki. See alse: towelhead, sand nigger, Paki, camel jockey, oil nigger.
But "raghead"? Come on dude, that's just plain racist; after you were photographed dressed as a Nazi at a British "colonial and native" party a few years back you really need to be a little less tone-deaf. But my favorite part of this story is the official explanation: he "used the term 'raghead' to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgent." That's awesome. Yeah, I used a blatantly racist term that encompasses all Middle Eastern guys but I only meant the bad ones. The American equivalent would be like one of Bush's daughters being recorded saying one of her friends looked like a "nigger" and the official White House statement saying that she only used the word to refer to gang bangers who commit drive-by shootings. Who the hell would buy that?
This story brings to light a phenomenon I've always found interesting about the military during times of war: the condoned usage of racism towards your enemies. Let's face it, racism is principally about hate and I assume that it makes it somewhat easier to kill another human being if you hate them on some level. In past wars American and British troops have used words like "gooks," "Nips," "Japs," "Krauts," or "Huns" to help dehumanize their opponents. When you combine this history with the fact that the majority of enlisted men come from lower economic and education levels it comes as no great surprise that troops are still defining their enemies in this way even after we've entered the 21st century.
If the royal family was going to be honest, they would just say, "Look, everybody lets some stupid racist shit slip sometimes and when you're fighting against a people whose skin color, culture, religious beliefs and values are for the most part fairly alien from your own this kind of thing is just going to happen sometimes." But they're not going to be honest because that would entail openly discussing the ugly side of military culture and wartime practices and Western societies don't like to do that because it makes it that much harder to wage war with the support of their citizenry. War is ugly, and your government and our allies would rather the average person not know just how ugly.