Monday, 9 December 2013

Why "Taig of The Day" Is Not Funny

I'm relieved for Angela Haggerty after the conviction in court of a podcaster who’s idea of humour contravened Scots Law’s idea of legality.

Listening to the podcast in the cold light of court, together with many of the vile tweets which resulted from it, was a chastening experience. That anyone could imagine chants such as “Taig of the day”, among others, were somehow acceptable in modern society shows how entrenched bigotry had become. That such chants went down like a lead balloon in court of law shows progress of sorts.

I first came across the word “Taig” while working in N. Ireland in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Painted on a wall in a loyalist area was the slogan “Kill all Taigs.” This was at a time when some seemed to be taking that badly scrawled graffiti as an actual instruction. Just as chillingly, many who were not carrying out these murderous acts cheered, both vocally and silently, conditioned by decades, if not centuries, of reducing others to something less than human.

Calling people “Taigs’ is not “banter”. It’s part of a process that dehumanises people in the eyes of others. And once a person or group of people has been dehumanised then they are considered by some as fair game for ... well ... potentially anything. If N. Ireland taught us anything, it taught us that.

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