Prince Harry and Racism 24

The Establishment is closing ranks around their Prince. He has apologised for his remarks, so that is OK, they say.

I am troubled by the gap between the official explanation and the actual video footage. On the “Paki” remark, an official statement from St James Palace says that it was a nickname for a friend. I therefore expected the video to show Harry joshing with his friend and calling him Paki.

But that is not what the video shows at all. From across a waiting area littered with soldiers, Harry focusses his camera on a distant Asian and says “And there is our little Paki friend”.

It is very plain that the Asian soldier cannot hear what Harry is saying. And while Harry’s voice is good-humoured in that he is enjoying his own jibe, do I imagine a slight sneer to the tone? It is certainly by no means evident that Harry would call the man that to his face, or that it is a nickname. “Our little Paki friend” is an unbelievably long nickname anyway.

On his “raghead” remark, I am familar with the use of raghead as a chiefly American term of racist abuse for an Arab or Muslim. Harry served in Afghanistan. If our officers are going around using the term “raghead”, that is no joke. There is no doubt that in the Army it is a disciplinary offence.

Sky News this morning noted that it would be an uncomfortable breakfast for Prince Harry with his father at Highgrove.

I thought how remarkably sporting Prince Charles must be, to invite Prince Harry’s father to Highgrove!

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24 thoughts on “Prince Harry and Racism

  • eddie

    Our soldiers call them ragheads and they call our soldiers infidels and send suicide bombers to blow them up. A proportionate response?

  • Vronsky

    So it's a disciplinary offence to call them ragheads, but OK to shoot them. It's a funny old world.

  • Tom Kennedy

    "Raghead" is a derogatory term aimed at muslims in general, or at least muslims in certain parts of the world, and not just at Taliban and al-Qaeda members. Its use by Harry has had far less coverage than the word "Paki", despite being arguably more offensive.

    Harry merely reflects both societies to which he belongs: the army and the aristocracy. Armies routinely dehumanise their enemies with terms such as "gooks" and "sand niggers". Prince Phillip referred to the Chinese as slitty-eyed; and I seem to remember in the wake of the Nazi armband story, some mention by Harry's peers of Africa as wogga-wogga land.

  • Leo Davidson

    If someone is in a country fighting the "bad" people there to supposedly protect the "good" people there then it doesn't really work for them to apparently be racist against the entire population, does it?

    That kind of attitude can only lead to devaluing the lives of everyone they see. Which it's pretty clear has already happened from the amount of civilian suffering. I think the "raghead" term is more a symptom of the problem than the cause of it, but it should not be trivialised either way.

  • merkin

    'I thought how remarkably sporting Prince Charles must be, to invite Prince Harry's father to Highgrove!'

    Sad, but true.

  • Dungeekin

    In my seven years in the Forces, I served with the following:

    Several Paddys;

    A couple of Micks (no, that wasn't their real name);

    Two black guys, called 'Chalky' and 'Roots' respectively;

    An Asian lad called 'Cornershop'.

    Were these racist? Nope. They were good colleagues, good naval ratings and good mates. It's just a name. Intent is everything.

    This is just something old and irrelevant for the Tabloid Gutter to get themselves aerated about – nothing more.


  • David A

    The problem seems to be that some nicknames and/or prejudices are seen as harmless fun, and others are suddenly treated as a full-blown 'hate-crime', with nothing in-between.

    In our zeal to stamp out racism, we believe that we can determine someone's true attitudes and beliefs from a single word they use – which is clearly nonsense.

  • james

    Paki is not a racial word unless it is applied to a non Pakistani,it is an abbreviation.If it is a racial slur does this mean that I can report my Irish neighbour for calling me a Brit

  • Craig

    James, David, Dungeekin

    I do not take the view that it is impossible to use a racial epithet in a manner of friendship.

    But that is not what Harry was doing. You have all missed my point that he was not calling him Paki to his face, but referring to him as a Paki in a voice he was not intended to hear.

  • David McKelvie

    Craig is right. It's an entirely different matter if the epithet is an accepted nickname and used to a bloke's face.

    However, this is one of the Royal Princes and he shows lamentable lack of judgement and a cavalier unwillingness to listen to his advisors. I think his CO should have the bludger doing extra Duty Officer duties until the end of the decade. Maybe even have him mucking out for the Mounted Squadron as well.

    I personally have no time for either of these Spencer princes – Oor Wullie and Harry are as useless as each other.

    I think we should write them out of the succession and skip to Princess Anne's two. Peter Phillips was a rugby trialist for Scotland, and his sister Zara is an olympic level horsewoman so they clearly have guts and ability at something.

    What have Oor Wullie and his brother achieved?

  • amk

    "If it is a racial slur does this mean that I can report my Irish neighbour for calling me a Brit"

    Do you have Japanese neighbours, and if so do you call them nips*?

    "Paki" (or "nip") is a pejorative not because of the literal meaning but because of the connotations that have built up around it. In Ireland there are negative connotations of "Brit": I wouldn't be happy be called that, but many Britons remain blissfully unaware of British-Irish history.

    *Short for Nippon, Japanese for Japan.

  • owen

    It occurs to me that the statement that Harry used 'Raghead' only to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgents is pretty much the same as if I used 'n***er' and excused myself as I was only referring to black american gang members, say.

    Its a slur, trying to attach a specific meaning to it doens't make it less of a slur.

    On the more general issues, whether or not 'paki' was used affectionately, it is innappropriate for soemone in public life to the extent Harry is to use it, let alone be filmed using it.

    As with the nazi uniform incident, I would think Harry would be better briefed by PR people than this.

  • jill

    Our good french mates of 50 yrs (we met in 1958) are referred to by us as frogs, and we in turn are rosbifs. Are both parties due for prosecution as nasty bigots by respective governments?

  • Craig


    I don't know if people are having trouble reading. I have written this three times now.

    You do that to your friend's faces, and they to yours. It is accepted joshing, and it is fine.

    Harry was not doing that. He was calling the guy a Paki when the bloke could not hear.

  • Dirty Euro

    He was racist. Only scum use terms like Paki. It is not acceptable. Theprince needs to change his ways. It is not like Jock or scouse it is a racist term like Gypoe, Niger etc. People whio use such terms generally get involved in racist abuse.

    Surely people can tell the difference. To say well it is just a name is like saying that calling a woman a woman is the same calling them a bitch. Paki is not the same as jock, or taff, or other friendly terms. I am scottish I would never see the term jock as the same as paki.

    To those who do not understand, if you are in a white majority group then you have no idea that some terms are offensive, you want to claim the terms are just banter.

    My advice for those fellow white people who do not understand that some terms can be offensive think of this if someone called your wife a bitch would you laugh, if they called you cannon fodder would you laugh, if they called your kids, scum would you laugh. Paki is like the terms scum, and bitch not jock and scouse.

  • Menalque

    There is no way to tell if Harry is a racist based on these remarks. He might be.

    But this wasn't a case of racism. It was cameraderie. And cameraderie, especially among men, especially in the military, has always meant nicknames, usually taken from stereotypes and reclaimed in order to break down the walls of fellow soldiers for the purpose of teambuilding. To be trusted by someone means that person lets you call them something he doesn't allow others to call him. Take the example of young black men calling each other niggah'.

    There may be more polite methods of teambuilding, but probably less effective.

    So Harry may indeed harbor racist feelings but he probably considers "Paki" a much closer friend than many white people he knows.

  • Craig


    Have you actually seen the video? What you say is simply intrue in fact. Harry wasn't calling him "Paki" to his face in a spirit of camaraderie, he was calling him "our little Paki friend" in a commentary to his video camera that the man could not hear. Explain to me how that can be "Camaraderie".

  • Chris Close


    I was referring to attitude and upbringing not genetics.

    I agree with Craig, or what it's worth.

    This was not a 'josh with a mate but a jibe aimed at another' person.

  • David A

    Incidentally, I have personally heard serving mid-ranking army officers use the term "raghead" in the last year or so.

  • Anne

    Give Harry a break

    So much for the Brits declaring their intention to take care of Diana's sons after her death. I've read nasty hurtful insults about his parentage, you're a pack of self righteous hypocrites. If he behaved in a politically correct manner in the Brits army, he'd be called a stuck up arrogant obnoxious bastard. So instead he fits in and you're all up in arms. Sorry, not up in arms, beacuse how many of you have offered to fight for you country. Have you all conveniently forgotten the school he set up and visits in Lesotho. Of course you have. He's like his Mother, he'll be criticised by the Brits until he's killed and then you'll all love him. Bit late then you bunch of hypocrites. Have you ever watched Police Action. You're hardly a proud race

    From a Paddy

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