"Slope" is definitely a well-understood racist term in the UK. I'm not saying everyone in the UK knows it, but it's certainly widespread. The fact that the Top Gear team have been quite open with their casual racism in the past means it's impossible to think that Clarkson didn't know exactly what he was saying when he used the word "slope". That it could be interpreted as meaning the bridge wasn't level means he has an "out", but that there was someone on the bridge at the time means it's very likely it was casual racism.
Allow me some latitude here. Say the bridge was totally level and there was a Chinese person walking across it. Would you find it funny if Clarkson said "This is a proud moment, but there's a chink on it."? What about if there was a black person on it and Clarkson had said "This is a proud moment, but there's a **** on it."? I'm willing to bet you wouldn't have found those funny (well...I'd hope you wouldn't anyway).
So, if you see the comment in this context (i.e. that it was actually casual racism and that the "out" that was available (the bridge was sloped/slanted/not level) was just cover for the casual racism) then you can probably see why some people think it's wrong. It's just the latest in a pattern of remarks which the Top Gear presenters have made which have obviously been intended to cause controversy and offence. Read this column by Steve Coogan and you'll get some more background. Note that the column is a few years old now, so it obviously doesn't contain some of the recent examples.
Note: In this post I've obviously used racist terms intentionally. I didn't use them gratuitously or intending to cause offence. I used a '1' in the place of the 'i' to get around the swear filter.
of course not. but this is the case because these are very widely used terms.
thing is, that they complain over these rather unused terms, which don't make much sense to foreigners outside of the UK or they just go unnoticed, as was the case for me with this and "pikey". I agree that these jokes are a bit simpleminded and at times unnecessary, because when I don't notice the joke then I obviously don't find it funny, but yet they seem to be pretty efficient at making people laugh while watching the show.
I'm probably not making too much sense but my point is that as much as I understand these protesters for protecting their beliefs, I don't understand the drama over it because it goes unnoticed for most viewers.
This is... just let it die allready. Don't let this topic go to shit because someone found something offensive with it.
The fact here is, most people who veiwed this episode have no clue that it was meant that way, IF it even was meant that way let it just pass allready. I am not saying racism is ok, but honestly I canot see the big deal here.
If people, which are the target ones by this joke is offended, then I can symptaize with that, but so far it's only other people that clings up on their moral horse to defend and make a problem out of something so small
Again, racism is bad, but I think you/we are overreaction a little.
- I'm proud to be black, said a stupid man.
- I'm proud to be asian, said a stupid man.
- I'm proud to be white, said a stupid man.
Saying you're proud of your skin colour is like saying you're proud to have five fingers on every hand. It's just like nationality and, at least in most cases, religion, an attribute solely gained by chance, depending on where and to whom you were born.
Pride, on the other hand, is a feeling that you feel for having achieved something.
So conclusively, while I do think that people should feel good about themselves, taking pride in such stupid things they had no control over is - you guessed it - stupid!
And concernign the episode: was fun to watch, didn't catch the racist remark due to not being a native speaker. But I do think that as long as casual racism is still a thing (not only in TV shows, but in everyday conversations of ordinary peole), racism will be a problem. So I do think the show would've been better without that pun.
I'm not ashamed to say that I was ignorant of the use of "slope" as a racist term. Top Gear seem to relish trying to get away with stuff which they are technically allowed to say (there was a gradient on the bridge) and how obvious they can make it. Maybe they're just that bored of it all.
I think a large part of the reason we have such different opinions on the use of the word "slope" in particular is that it may be significantly more common in the UK than where you are. Although Top Gear is seen in a large number of countries (through BBC Worldwide and on teh Internetz) it remains primarily a programme for a UK audience. I'm sure there are a number of jokes and references that many people outside the UK wouldn't get (unless you're really immersed in 'British culture'). I'm sure there are some racist/offensive terms in Estonia which I've never heard of before, so if you were to say them to me I'd have no idea what they meant. I'm sorry, but this doesn't excuse the behaviour of the Top Gear team one bit.
See above reply.
Also, in more general terms, I'm a strong believer in political correctness. I don't believe it's OK to add casual racism in a TV broadcast because you think it might raise a few chuckles with BNP voters. The fact that some of the audience don't understand that the term is racist doesn't excuse the Top Gear team, who you be assured do understand.
edit: Also, your idea that you can only rightfully be offended by racism if you're in the 'target' group is ludicrous. This notion is one I really struggle to understand.
Would it be the same if they said "this is a proud moment, but there's a fatty on it", if fatty was used for a bump on the bridge, and a fat white man walked over it? To me it's the same fcking thing, if it produces a chuckle i don't care who it 'offends', just like those who find it offensive shouldn't.. Pikeys Peak was a quality chuckle once i've found out about the term, and normal gypsie people have chuckled too I'm sure..
"Fatty" wouldn't be the 'same' as "slope", but it would still be offensive, for me. As I said, I believe in political correctness. The Top Gear team are just too lazy to actually think up some funny scenarios/jokes, so they fall back on the easy low-hanging material.