Why we should all be offended by the ‘Hey Hey Its Saturday’ Sketch

The sketch on ‘Hey Hey Its Saturday’ which aired recently to the disgust of Harry Connick Jnr, involved some ‘entertainers’ painting their faces black in a throwback to a old time sketch. I have no reason to suspect the performers were racist, nor that their intent was to be racist in the sketch.

However I think we should all be offended by it and this is why.

“The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly “separate but equal” status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages.”

Why is this significant? Because a perfomer called Thomas D Rice performed a racist and derrogatory perfomance utitising ‘black face’ during the 1800’s. The song he sung, which I wont repeat here, was called ‘Jump Jim Crow’ from which the ‘Jim Crow’ segregation laws were named after.

It is all about origins. ‘Black face’ performance was originally a device used by Rice to promote himself through an easy target and stereotype of a group of people. The ‘Jim Crow’ laws were plain unjust yet sprung in part at least from the perception propogated by Rice and other performers of his ilk. They promoted Negroes as ‘buffoonish, lazy, superstitious, cowardly, and lascivious characters, who stole, lied pathologically, and mangled the English language. Early blackface minstrels were all male, so cross-dressing white men also played black women who were often portrayed either as unappealingly and grotesquely mannish; in the matronly, mammy mold; or highly sexually provocative’.

For those seeing the ‘black face’ performance, its disgusting when you consider the origins of it….It is no joke.
Ref: Jim Crow Laws Thomas Rice

8 thoughts on “Why we should all be offended by the ‘Hey Hey Its Saturday’ Sketch”

  1. They had black faces….
    Let me repeat…I have no reason to think the people doing the skit…nor Darryl…nor Channel nine are racist.

    However Harry Connick Jnr may very well have known the origins of that style of comedy…and what it lead to…which is the point.

    Maybe the skit is a wake up call…
    I strongly suggest that if you are open to learning about this, and not just wanting to reinforce your own opinions then you read the wikipedia article I have linked to.

    When I first heard about the furore…I wondered if it was just a 'storm in a teacup'. Then as I was researching for my Martin Luther King message for this sunday, I came upon this information by chance, and it made me realise there is more to it than a bunch of amateur entertainers being silly.

  2. Yes maybe the skit is a wake up call as I did not know about it and I'm sure 99% of other Australian's did not either.

    I have to wonder though if there was no American on the judging panel if the media circus would have still followed.

    I will go and read the wiki link now 🙂

  3. I'm absolutely behind you. I must admit I didn't see the skit when it aired, but in watching in days following I actually found the way that Darryl apologised to Connick Jnr a little disappointing: saying essentially that "I understand this may have offended people from your country but here in Australia we're all OK with it". Having said that, I'm just mostly amazed that the producers of Hey Hey didn't forsee that this would be a bad idea.

  4. There's just some things you don't do anymore these days, and that's one of them. Trying to argue about it is pointless. The tide has turned.
    You can't 'joke' about a bomb on a plane anymore either. Post Sep 11 you can't do that, no matter whether you meant it or not.
    It's not just what it means, its the association. Black polish on white faces is over.
    You can't even call the Poms Poms anymore! Don't know what we'll call those Limey's now do we?!

  5. I think Hey Hey hasn't realised that what we once considered as remotely acceptable is now no longer. We are much less tolerant of some things and unbelievably tolerant of others – it must be hard for that generation to remember which way is up. Take Sam Newman for example, look at how many changes he has had to make to his on air behaviour over recent years. The times have changed for sure.
    I think Hey Hey is probably gone now.

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