If you dare to tell it like it is, you’re a racist
If you want to express an opinion that is in anyway contrary to what is seen as politically correct in this great land of ours, don't expect anyone to stand up for your right to freedom of speech.
Kerri-Anne Kennerley is the latest person to incur the wrath of the self-righteous following her acceptance of an offer to play the role of Pippin in the upcoming Gordon Frost Organisation's musical of that name due to open in Sydney next month.
Her decision was immediately denounced by prominent theatre director Richard Carroll who said that the decision to cast Kennerley demonstrated that the musical theatre industry was not willing to change.
Pardon? Well-known performer lands acting gig? Where's the problem and what hasn't changed?
Kennerley's sin was to air the view on television last year that people protesting to have the date of Australia Day changed were ignoring the alleged rape of children and women in the Outback.
"Has any single one of those 5000 people waving the flags saying how inappropriate the day is, has any one of them been out to the Outback where children, where babies and five-year-olds are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education" she said.
"What have you done?" she asked of the Invasion Day protesters. "Zippo!"
Predictably she was howled down for stating an obvious truth, the announcement of her role in Pippin firing up social media harpies who immediately cried "racist!" and demanded she be removed from the show.
It seems that for voicing her views, she should now be ineligible for future employment. How dare she expose the shallowness of urban activists who rant and chant and tell each other what a great job they're doing and through indolence, ignorance or self-absorption, do nothing about the real problems in society.
Kennerley, bless her, is not one to fold in the face of criticism.
"It matters not," she said. "I am delighted to be doing Pippin. it's wonderful to have jobs back for the theatre industry."
I don't place much credence in Australia Day awards, given that they are frequently handed out to people who have merely done what they have been well paid to do but if the gong givers want to give one to Kennerley next year for having the courage to speak her mind, that's fine with me.
The outrage, however, has not been confined to Kennerley.
Performer Gabrielle McClinton has also been given a role in Pippin, having previously appeared in the Broadway production of the same musical.
The catch here is that not only is McClinton an American but he is also black.
"This is an opportunity for the Gordon Frost Organisation to formally acknowledge the lack of inclusion in our industry and adopt cultural competency in their productions," said the actors' union.
"It is important GFO recognises that moving forward there needs to be a formal agreement to ensure transparency and inclusion."
Cultural competency? What precisely is that? Sounds like racism to me, denying Mr McClinton the role because he is a black American and not an Indigenous Australian.
This is another way of saying that theatrical producers should not be free to give the job to the person they feel to be best qualified but to a local whom they believe to be less qualified.
It's their money they are risking. Surely they should be able to decide who they hire without being accused of lacking "cultural competency."
The Gordon Frost Organisation has said that it looked for an Australian person of colour to fill the role but it couldn't find anyone could with the requisite level of singing, dancing and acrobatic skills.
Giving jobs to people who are not qualified to perform them doesn't do anyone any favours.
Moves gaining traction to force companies to have gender equality on their boards, now being made mandatory in California, are equally flawed.
Once you throw merit aside, the whole system becomes debased. The only winners are the underqualified.
No one, however, can accuse Peters Ice Cream of lacking cultural competency, the Australian company having just announced that it "is committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality and we acknowledge that now is the time for change."
What, pray tell, is Peters doing to be part of "the solution?"
It's changing the name of its Eskimo Pie ice cream which has been on sale since 1923.
"We have chosen to rename the product 'Polar Pie' it announced.
What a momentous move and one which I'm sure will be hailed by Australia's Eskimo - sorry, Inuit - population.
It makes you proud to be an Australian when you know that when it comes to tokenism, our companies are up there with the best of them.
Originally published as If you dare to tell it like it is, you're a racist