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Morrissey & why celebrity status must not blind us to racism

Morrissey: celebrity is no excuse

Morrissey has outrageously described Chinese people as a “subspecies” when commenting in the Guardian about their track record on animal welfare.

The former Smiths front man, an advocate of animal rights and a vegetarian, made the comment to the Guardian, describing the population’s attitude to animal rights as “horrific”.

“Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare?” he said. “Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.”

When it comes to issues of race Morrissey is a serial offender and it certainly not the first time he has made controversial remarks about other races.

In 1992 was quoted in Q Magazine saying he didn’t

“really think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other. I don’t really think they ever will.”

While in 1994 he told Select magazine that the National Front should be given a clear voice or platform in order for them to be “less of a threat”.

In 2007 he told the NME:

“The gates of England are flooded. The country’s been thrown away.”

When asked if the star, who was living in Rome at the time, would return to England, he replied that Britain is “a terribly negative place”.

“Also, with the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult, because although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears,” he added.

“England is a memory now. The change in England is so rapid compared to the change in any other country.

“If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent. You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.”

For his part Morrissey has always denied any racist tendencies. After the NME article, he issued a statement along with a legal writ:

“I abhor racism and oppression or cruelty of any kind and will not let this pass without being absolutely clear and emphatic with regard to what my position is.”

Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote expressed his anger and dismay at Morrissey latest outburst:

“This man has a clear track record of making outrageous and derogatory comments about Black, Asian and now Chinese communities and yet both the music press and his supporters continue to support him despite his vile racism. These apologists should now completely and unequivocally condemn these comments.”

Lee Jasper, Secretary of the National Assembly Against Racism stated:

“Morrissey is once again trying to promote his forthcoming album and is willing to say anything to grab press attention to promote his flagging career. Love Music Hate Racism was wrong to accept his racist guilt money in 2008, which he used to defray genuine criticism of his deeply offensive comments. In essence they have provided on going cover for a unreconstructed racist.”

He added;

“To suggest that the Chinese are a “sub human species ” is pure unadulterated racism. My view is that LMHR should now issue a clear statement condemning Morrissey as a racist. The Guardian should report the matter to the police and he should be charged with making racially offensive comments and dragged into court. Its time to stop indulging Morrissey’s racism.”


5 Responses

  1. Honestly people;

    I don’t think he really means offense. I agree that such remarks may be offensive but I also believe that people say the silliest things when they are not particularly adept at articulating their thoughts through speech.

    I think the idea of rebuking a donation is a bit uncalled for. At least the money has gone to help fight racism. The principle of charity is far-more important than the principle of maintaining utmost pride and political correctness in this case. It’s like saying that morally dubious practices that raised money then given to a poor person, should be taken away from a poor person because the poor person holds ‘morally dubious money’. The money itself is not the problem.

    I think that the word ‘subspecies’ could have been replaced with ‘I believe, facilitate an inhumane cultural practice’ or something like that, if he were trying to voice his personal opinion more clearly.

    If you don’t support with the individual, do not buy the merchandise created by the individual. It is the best way that people can show their disapproval. I have never given this individual any money in my life, so I’m in the clear.

  2. Yeah, if there’s one songwriter who is famed for not being “particularly adept at articulating their thoughts through speech”, it’s Morrissey. The cutural critics have always been on his back about that.

  3. Joshua.

    “Honestly people;

    I don’t think he really means offense”


    Honestly Joshua he has caused offense, and it is clear why.

    What would he have needed to have said or done for you to deem his words offensive?

    “The principle of charity is far-more important than the principle of maintaining utmost pride and political correctness in this case”

    Sorry where is the political incorrectness here? All I can see is vile racism.

    “the Chinese are a subspecies.” this is not political correctness Joshua.

  4. I didn’t say that the statement was political correctness. I said it was lack of..

    It is possible that, through clumsy language, this individual has, perhaps inadvertently, eschewed politically correct speech because he may not be a very good speaker. We are not all blessed with the ‘gift of the silver tongue’…

    I don’t remember singers being particularly adept at speech. I don’t believe this incident was so much ‘vile’ as it was ‘stupid’.

    Some people don’t mean excessive harm… “They’re just idiots”.

  5. We weren’t talking about singers per se, but Morrissey, who is lauded for being a ‘thinker’ and someone who seems to be pretty articulate for me. He’s no Jade Goody, put it that way.

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