Prince Harry is trouble for racially insensitive comments again. After tapes were released of conversations Prince Harry had with some of his friends in the military in 2005-6, Harry had to apologize. He used the words “Paki” and “raghead”, and it became such a big deal, major British politicians like Tory leader David Cameron were weighing in.
The current scandal happened much more recently. It was back in November, at a birthday party for Prince Charles (Harry’s father), and Harry was speaking to British comedian Stephen K. Amos, who is black. Harry said to Amos, “You don’t sound like a black chap.” Critics are calling it “racist stereotyping”. Good Lord, why even let Prince Harry speak any more? People magazine has more details:
After putting his foot in his mouth with comments about a Pakistani army officer, Prince Harry is now unwittingly back in the spotlight with another racially insensitive remark – having apparently told a comic, “You don’t sound like a black chap.”
Harry, allegedly attempting to be funny, delivered the line in November, when black comedian Stephen K. Amos performed at the 60th birthday of Harry’s father, Prince Charles, according to Amos, who appeared Tuesday on the U.K. chat show The Wright Stuff.
At the time, recalled Amos, “I wanted to say, ‘How is I supposed to sound?’ ”
Reaction to the exchange has been strong. “Many young people will be disgusted by his remark,” said Naomi Byron, national secretary of Youth Against Racism in Europe, reports the U.K.’s Daily Mirror.
“But it is not just Prince Harry that is at fault,” she is further quoted as saying. “The aristocratic, rich circles he moves in obviously don’t have a problem with this kind of racist stereotyping.”
Added former Commission for Racial Equality chairman Lord Herman Ouseley: “It is very sad that Prince Harry thinks black people all talk in the same way. It just goes to show how ill-educated members of the upper classes can be.”
A spokeswoman for Harry tells PEOPLE, “We don’t comment on allegations about private conversations involving the prince, and we are unable to confirm whether it did or did not take place.”
Contacted by PEOPLE, Amos’s agent also had no comment, as the office has not been able to talk to the comedian.
From People Magazine
Was it racist stereotyping? Yes, probably. Was it offensive? Mildly. But I think it’s probably more about the cloistered, aristocratic, all-white world that William and Harry have been raised in. They literally don’t know what to say to people who don’t have a similar background. Or, could it be, that people are simply over-reacting to something that was taken the wrong way? It’s a tough call.
The whole “sounding like a black chap” thing reminds me of this interesting column I read in Time magazine a few weeks ago. The article was about Hollywood’s use of the “Voice of God”, the all-seeing narrator, the voice of Bible and all that is knowledge and suffering. The article traces the transition from the British “VOG” in Hollywood to the African-American “VOG”. The article was making a political point – that we actually have a president who has a genuine “Voice of God”. Here’s a little bit from the article:
The therapeutic notion that suffering confers dignity and authority has spread just as the suffering of African Americans over generations has become universally acknowledged. Above all, black American ministers have replaced British politicians, at least in perception, as the world’s most eloquent public users of the English language. Our homegrown Martin Luther King Jr. has knocked Winston Churchill off his perch as the ideal.
What’s most inspiring about this development is that it can’t be faked. There is no element of affirmative action here. Sidney Poitier won’t do. The point is not to be black but to sound black. And unlike the integration and near domination of African Americans in professional sports, this is not even a matter of genuine talent breaking down the floodgates. Plenty of white or white-sounding actors could say “THIS [pause] is CNN” as well as [James Earl] Jones. Most people who have heard that phrase a hundred times don’t know whose voice it is and — unless the question is raised specifically — they aren’t even consciously aware that the person is black. They relate to the voice on a subconscious level, and they associate it with power and authority.
From Time Magazine
Of course, this is directed as a specific American experience – when we Americans think of God’s voice, we imagine Morgan Freeman, Martin Luther King or maybe Denzel Washington. Apparently it’s different for the British.
Prince Harry is shown with Former England Rugby International Will Greenwood “at Twickenham for the England v Italy Six Nations rugby match” in London on 2/7/09. Credit: WENN
Seriously?? Come on, get it together, dude.. Geeezzz
Hes a royal, what the hell did you expect? You really think he was raised to be tolerent of other races/religions/sexual preference/whatever? No.
But I also hate that because he is an “aristocratic” we should except his behavior. There are lots of people that come out of super crappy environments and grow up to become decent human begins.
I believe white Britons are more accustomed to hearing a West Indian, i.e. Jamaican, lilt from Black people. That’s just the way the immigration went down there.
The VOG thing is interesting, I’ve never heard of this before. I have always thought that Black people, the men in particular, have richer speaking voices. They are more aurally appealing and I can’t really think of another way to say it than they bring a soothing quality to the gravitas their voices naturally convey. Native American men often have this quality too and it apparently has a lot to do with the width of the palate in both cases.
Anyhoo, crazy glue his lips together and put a pair of mittens on him – communication snafus solved.
It is ignorant, it is offensive, but it’s pretty much par for the course for a Windsor male. Blithering idiot in the making.
Actually, I imagine that God would LOOK like Morgan Freeman, but his voice coming out from the heavens would be more James Earl Jones.
“SIMBA! I AM YOUR FATHER.”
And ugh, I’m really over all these spoiled rotten racist twats. Throw his ass in Compton and let’s see how well he fairs.
Isn’t his father supposedly James Hewitt? He looks so much like him in these photos and nothing like any of the other Royal children.
maybe he gets it from prince phillip…
I’m amazed on how certain people are allowed to skate thanks to inane excuses made by people who dote on these individuals simply because. Anybody ever hear of the term “common sense” Oh wait, that was tossed out of the window about 15 years ago.
These people, yes, I said THESE people, say such things because they can, not because they don’t know any better.
It’s just their way of reminding us of how small we are and how much smaller people of color are. Find an excuse for that!
Does he read a chapter of “How to Be an International Asshole” everyday?
heh, I like this part:
“… at a birthday party for Prince Charles (Harry’s father) …” for those that give weight to BS …
I can’t say I really agree that everybody’s VOG perception is the same. One thing’s for certain – the Barry White voice syndrome knocks em dead every time. Which is why JEJ did the narration for Roots, why they used his voice in Star Wars, and why they use him for CNN. JEJ’s voice is completely unmistakable. He rocks bigtime.
I really don’t like him. I wish he would shut up and go away, like Prince Andrew.
Really, it’s not a big deal.
And it doesn’t make him a racist.
His mother would be mortified, God Bless her.
Dammit, Harry! Don’t you GET it? If you don’t, then do yourself a favor, SHUT UP!!!!!!
He’s a racist piece of white trash, that shouldn’t be allowed to become a “royal”member.
Max, he’s a royal ‘member’ alright.
The prince is a royal pain in the ass together with his aristocratic family. Who on earth believes in monarchy these days? they are such snobs.
As a black person living in the Caribbean, I hear this ish all the time from both white and black people. I live on an island so I guess I’m supposed to sound ‘native’ or whatever.
“You’re so articulate. How come you don’t have an accent. Did you go to College in the States.” I’ve ceased being annoyed by it as most people don’t mean any harm, they’re usually just speaking out of ignorance. Plus I’ve been guilty of stereotyping a time or two myself and have wanted to shoot myself in the foot after. Let’s hope Harry learns from his mistakes.
@I choose – you are being very kind to him, and that’s fine and shows what a generous, objective person you are. But, Harry is not just anyone, he (and so many of the other male members of this dysfunctional family) are constantly being pulled up for arrogant and ignorant behaviour. Amos is a well-spoken black man, speaks the queen’s English. This is at the root of village idiot Harry’s exchange with him. No excuse for it in 2009.
Amos should have told Harry that he himself doesn’t sound that royal either.
I don’t get this Time article. Why say that the VOG has to sound black, when it’s obvious (and they mention it) that James Earl Jones’ gorgeous VOG doesn’t sound black at all ?
Don’t Time journalists know that people come in all shapes regardless of their skin color, some have a lovely deep voice and some don’t ?
This is where his mother is truly missed. If she was here, I doubt these things would have ever happened.
Why am I not surprised? He is the grandchild of Prince Philip after all. Amos is hilarious, love his standup and I like the way he responded as well.
lol, @kate, I had the same exact thought!
This one sounds more like ignorance than intentional insults like the previous time, but just because he’s surrounded by people who think like that doesn’t really excuse him from not taking it upon himself to learn. Still, at least there’s a good chance he’ll learn!
Good Lord! Leave Prince Harry alone. That boy can’t open his mouth without someone being offended! It is a FREE country w/ FREEDOM of speech the last time I read the Constitution.
Look around you people; there are millions of world issues that need attention. Prince Harry was raised a royal and I assure you, Royals are raised & educated to have impeccable manners. Get OFF Harry!
He and Miley should get together and exchange ideas.
This allegedly happened in November. It is now February. Why now? This is stupid. Leave the man alone.
People need to lighten up. Whatever happened to ignoring things that bother you?
Tris, to a certain extent, I agree with you. But, in this overly-PC world, he should have learned by now that when it comes to matters of race/skin color,etc., etc., it is best to keep one’s mouth shut. He knows he got into trouble for this before, so why doesn’t he just zip his lip and not even mention it? Why put yourself in the position of having this shitstorm come down on you? I wasn’t offended by what he said, I don’t believe he meant any harm in it, but nonetheless in his position where everyone is watching every single thing he says or does, wouldn’t you think he could refrain from saying anything at all?
He SO doesn’t look like Prince Chuck…he really does look more like the stable guy who they say really knocked up Di. This kid’s a Royal Moron, always has been. It’s excused and encouraged. It’s cute like Andrew when he was dating the porn star. It’s only NOT cute if it’s a royal female. There was more more press last year about Princess Eugenie getting drunk and running around naked at night on campus with her girlfriends than this.
Get a GRIP… it is no big deal. You people really need to get a life. If you think an off the wall comment by someone that is well know deserves your time, i feel so sorry for your little nothing life.
“Prince Harry was raised a royal and I assure you, Royals are raised & educated to have impeccable manners.”
Then why is he such a little creep? Shouldn’t he use the manners you claim he has?
Um, KL, what are you doing here? Polishing your massive shiny life, are you?
And did you actually mean to say “off the wall”? Because I can see you don’t know what it means.
I think we should shoot him.
Hmmm, isolated and narrow-minded. Like most of his class. And clearly uncaring of his comments because they keep coming – so I can only see an escalation at this point.
Can’t say I go for the ‘what do you expect’ arguement. I expect him to take a little more after his mother rather than his grandfather.
That sort of thing definitely depends on the receiving end, I think. I have a friend with a black father and a white mother and he says things like that about himself all the time and is TOTALLY not offended when people do the same to him. Saying it to someone who isn’t a personal friend and you’re not sure how it’ll be taken? Not a brilliant idea…
To all the people banging on about Hewitt the DNA tests would have been done on the QT as soon as the rumours started——–anyway JUST LOOK AT HIM, he’s definitely a Windsor
People, he takes after the Spencer side. By that I mean Diana’s brother and father etc. – the male lineage. That’s where he gets his red hair and beady eyes from anyway.
he doesn’t sound like a prince. he’s as stupid as the pothead swimmer.
I wonder where Harry got his views and why he would use such language? Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, yeah?
KL Bright: It’s not just that he said it. It’s that people in such international positions can be so ignorant as to think these things and even say them when they can be hurtful. You have to remember, if someone acts in an unsavoury way in public, it’s probably magnified a thousandfold when they’re with their chums.
Sissoucat: The voice is only part of it. It’s also the inflection and pacing.
I think our best bet is to keep William from joining the church or falling in love with a catholic or jewish girl. We can’t let this idiot be king.
I thought all the British sounded the same. It’s not like they have the various dialects like in America. LOL
Wasn’t he the same prince who wore a Nazi uniform to a haloween party a few years ago?? I am not suprised at anything he says, although for a prince, he should know better.
Most of those commentng thus far think Harry is an idiot! It doesn’t matter if he is a royal or otherwise, he has no right to down on anyone else. His mother had a heart for all people and it’s shameful that he is not more like her. Mr. Amos should’ve responded with, ‘and you don’t look like an idiot’ but he had more class than that! when will racism end? Those who have never had to deal with it think it’s no big deal. It was a big deal and continues to be a big deal. No matter what one’s skin color is, underneath we all have the same color blood. God made us all and He wants us to love one another. Harry should just keep his mouth closed if he has nothing worthwhile to say…
Roslyn, That comment was great. I am an american and read these comments and I have to add: People are obviously upset at how a young man of priviledge could behave in such a vulgar way. My answer to that is you are no better than the people you surround yourself with. Its 2009 soon to be 2010 anyone suggest we get rid of royal families, dictatorships, monarchs, among others and begin the unity of all nations. That is trully what this planet needs before the true effects of the melting polars takes hold of the weather.
People of various races and countries do in deed sound different.
I do not consider “you sound like a white, black, yellow chap” offensive nor racist. It is the truth, accept it.
John from Canada
I will only tell that spoilt child to bridle his tongue because the tongue is a small organ in the body but can ignite an incredible fire. I know that he has been reprimanded of his liquor habit and he should listen, perhaps go for a rehabilitation. It’s very important that he make a change or he will end up an irresponsible prince of drunkeness.
Stupid firecrotch. Ugly too. Def. not a royal from the looks of him.
He really does have beady little eyes. Can’t see the physical appeal with this one at all.
Seriously, give the kid a break. Everyone says things without thinking once in a while, this guy just has to have all of his dumb moments shown to the whole world. It happened, it was stupid, no need to freak out and be rude about it. And considering everyone’s stereotyping the rich ‘ignorant’ British aristocracy, it’s obvious that rude stereotypes are impossible to avoid, and the best you can really do is minimize it.
I think it is pathetic that no one can say ANYTHING anymore that isn’t offensive to SOMEONE!!! Blacks do have a different sound to their voice. Just like it is not common to see a blonde haired, blue eyed black person…if you hear one that does not have that “black” sound in his voice, it is unusual. Get the hell over it!!! The people of color that are in Europe are immigrants, even if they are born their, it is not their native home. If they don’t like their differences to be noticed, than, by all means, get back to your homeland. It is just riduculous, all the great countries of this world…are being invaded by foreigners and being forced to give up their individuality because people are spoonfed b.s. about “one world, one people”…..Ignore the commoners Little Prince……
It’s ironic how people are indignant or condescending about his remarks, while they themselves are remarking about how much Harry is “like most of his class”, i.e., those “white”, “rich”, “aristocrats”.
It’s also interesting that this is purportedly “racial stereotyping.” Speech (as well as clothing, physical mannerisms, &c) are socially informed constructs, having nothing to do with race, per se–although certain customs and cultures can be generally confined to the ethnic group in which they originated, there is no necessary connection.
Had Harry said something like, “You sound like you’re trying not to be a black chap” or similar–implying that something about being black inherently determines how one speaks–then I’d suspect him of “racial stereotyping.”
All he did was generalize how most black people he was familiar with speak, compare that with how a particular black man he met was speak, and comment on the difference. (I don’t see any reason the comment should have been made–seems pointless to me, but I guess it was meant to be humorous somehow?) When a person says something like, “OMG! Whatever!”, nobody would bat an eye if somebody said to them, “you sound like a teenage girl.” Evidently that would be “gender stereotyping” or “age stereotyping”? No, it would just happen to be the current culture of a sizable portion of teenage girls, and has nothing to do, inherently, with the fact that they are girls or teenagers.
OMFG get OVER it ppl. Stereotypes exist for a reason, first of all. Im not condoning them, just aware of reality. And to take offense at some benign comment like that really shows how rediculously over ambitious far too many people have become to read bigotry into every word anyone says. I find that far more offensive than a simple comment that shows nothing more than the fact that the black ppl Harry has associated with recently may not have been as cultured as Amos. SO? That seems to speak volumes FOR his tolerance, not against it. This point society has gotten too where every GD word is dissected to determine whehter it passes the PC litmus test is exhausting and disgusting. What happened to the days when there was a reasonable expectation that people have a backbone and a little bit of a skin on their sensitive emotional states? Be accepting, be tolerant, live and let live, and grow the heck up. Enough with the walking on eggshells and watching every word everyone says to make sure they wont offend anyone. If people get offended by such simple, meaningless trite and actions they are children, and could use a good spanking. There are far more TRULY offensive and disgusting things happening for ppl to waste time focusing on something stupid and asinine like this.
Note that he didn’t say black people speak in a less civilized or cultured manner–he didn’t say how he believes black people (in general) speak. For all we know, he was referring to some common colloquialism, a tone of voice, vocal timbre, &c. I agree with what you said about people being overly concerned with PC, but we also shouldn’t just assume Harry believes that to “sound like a black chap” is something negative (such as sounding uncultured). Amos assumed that (I might too, were I in his shoes); but looking at the statement objectively, there is no indication Harry was meaning “You *sound better* than a black chap.”