To think that 'black man's time' is a derogatory term?

(111 Posts)
ptangyangkipperbang Sat 17-Nov-12 16:56:34

I was listening to the radio yesterday and someone from JLS was being interviewed. There was a comment about him being late for something and the DJ said, "what are you on - black man's time?"
I was really shocked (as was teenage DS) and I emailed the programme controller.
I've received a reply saying he agrees if I'd tuned in half way through the programme I might have taken it out of context but "In no way was the term derogatory and the interview was very cheerful, positive and upbeat".

Am I guilty of being too PC?

44SoStartingOver Sat 17-Nov-12 18:58:35

I think it is really hard to say.

I think unpunctuality is a bad thing, so would see a racial term that related to it as quite negative. Thus i would be shocked to hear it.

Black mans honesty would be comparable for me. I'm pretty sure that would not be acceptable. However I am a punctuality demon, so maybe it seems very negative to me as I abhor lateness.

Corygal Sat 17-Nov-12 19:03:04

I have heard it used with pride - ie from party guests who wouldn't be try-hard enough to come to a christening for the lunch, but would make an entrance at 5pm explaining they were on Caribbean time.

In that context, it was meant to be a joke reproach to anyone shamefully scuttling in for the canapes at 12:30 and not showing proper party spirit.

stopcallingmefrank Sat 17-Nov-12 19:09:16

I don't think it is derogatory. I come from another culture where punctuality is not valued in the same way it is in English culture. That's all it refers to. It's a shorthand way of describing that cultural difference. You might say you are on BMT instead of GMT.

shellyf Sat 17-Nov-12 19:10:30

Never heard the phrase before.

My DH and his family use that expression all the time.

Mind you, they do run to a different time scale than most people.

I'll be there in a minute could mean up to an hour.

Christmas dinner last year, they were supposed to be at ours by 4. They arrived at 7pm. We had planned dinner for 8pm for that very reason.
You have to tell them a time 2 hours before they actually get there.

I think it was a bit over the top to cplain to the radio station.

And please steer clear of 1xtra and choice fm if things like that offend you.

The only time I've ever heard anything similar was when a black colleague of mine said he'd be late handing in a report as he as on CPT - 'coloured people's time'.

I think it's easy for a white person to feel uncomfortable with the phrase but I personally wouldn't get twisty knickered about it in the context the OP has outlined.

MmeLindor Sat 17-Nov-12 19:24:03

I don't know. Going by the fact that a few black people (or those with black friends who've used this expression) have said it is a common expression, I'd say it is ok.

My FIL is German and we talk of Siegfried Time, meaning punctual to the point of being 10 mins early for everything.

MmeLindor Sat 17-Nov-12 19:26:14

I don't however find it was silly or unreasonable for the OP to complain to the radio station - she didn't know the term was used regularly.

Next time ask on MN first, OP wink

Iggly Sat 17-Nov-12 19:37:36

If this was on the today show on radio 4 then YANBU

But I bet it wasn't.

abbierhodes Sat 17-Nov-12 19:44:53

I'm English from an Irish family. When we have family visiting from Ireland we have 'Irish time'. It's not so much about being late- more about running to a later timetable iyswim. So you'd arrive too the pub at about 10pm, but stay till the early hours. Or meet for lunch at 2.30, eating about 3. They just don't seem too keep the same hours as us! Obviously, this may just be my family, not all Irish people.

I don't think it's offensive OP, but do you know what...if you heard it as a derogatory term, aimed at a whole race of people, then you're absolutely right to question it. The 'PC gorn mad' brigade should leave you alone. You only asked a question.

HanSolo Sat 17-Nov-12 19:47:11

i have only heard it as Nigerian Time and Indian Time (from Nigerian, and Indian friends) though whilst Indian time is only 1 hour behind, Nigerian seems to be anything from 2 to 6 hours behind!!! grin

I run to Siegfried time myself [clicks heels]

oohlaalaa Sat 17-Nov-12 19:53:03

I've only ever heard black people use the BMT time phrase. As I've never heard it said by a white person it's never seemed offensive.

MrsDeVere Sat 17-Nov-12 19:53:43

The OP asked a question.

There is no need to call her PC, silly or to use infantilising terms such as 'knickers in a twist'.
Why, as soon as race is mentioned, do people feel the need to vie to be the most dismissive regarding possible racism.

BMT can certainly be used in a racist way. It certainly does not always refer to how laid back black people are. Black people are not always laid back anyway ffs. They are hardly depicted as the 'irie man' 'soon come types on the front page of the Daily Hate are they hmm

I didn't hear the broadcast, I don't know if it was used in a derogatory or racist way. I do know that if someone thought it was fun to use it in a 'down wiv dah brother' sort of way with my OH they wouldn't get very far.

The man is never late and drives me demented with his insistence that we leave an hour early for everything.

MrsDeVere Sat 17-Nov-12 19:54:51

And what abbier wrote whilst I was faffing about with my post grin

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 17-Nov-12 19:55:19

MrsD to be fair the OP did ask if she was being to PC and brought PC up in the first place.

MrsDeVere Sat 17-Nov-12 20:01:37

Fair enough. But it really shouldnt be used as an insulting, dismissive way.
Gets on my nerves.

PC is why people don't call my babies n*****s to their face. They might think it in their stupid thick heads but thanks to PC they keep their stupid thick gobs shut.

Not everyone is so lucky. My FB friend saw someone spitting in a fucking pram today because the baby wasn't quite white enough.

I am 45. I am white so I will not claim to have suffered racism (unless I have been out with my OH and DCs). But I am old enough to remember when it was overt and frequent and if anyone complained they were told to stop making a fuss about nothing. 'Its only a laugh' 'don't be so sensitive'. Bit like when people are told 'ffs dont be soooo PC'

HolyBrrrrrrBatman Sat 17-Nov-12 20:02:53

I think this is why there is a lot of 'accidental' racism.

This really sounds like it should be offensive. If i heard it I would also think it was racist. I'm happy to be told I'm wrong by people who know more about it than I do. I don't think I need to be told I'm 'one of those people', prof offended etc. There are other phrases that sound fairly harmless, but then when someone uses it because they don't know that it's offensive they are jumped on as a small minded, racist and hounded off mumsnet.

Can't win really.

Aboutlastnight Sat 17-Nov-12 20:07:36

Mumsnet is so contradictory about stuff like this.

I think that phrase is racist. I am shocked it was used on the radio - it implies that black people are always late or lazy.

Yet people say it's not racist...I'm confused.

44SoStartingOver Sat 17-Nov-12 20:08:44

I remember someone calling a takeaway a chinky and being slaughtered on here. I am pretty sure she did not mean it to be offensive but was roundly told it was.

Surely it is good to question. But IMO actions do speak louder than words and if someone treats their friends and acquaintances fairly, there is probably no offence meant.

Aboutlastnight Sat 17-Nov-12 20:08:50

As a white woman, could I use this term on mumsnet?

44SoStartingOver Sat 17-Nov-12 20:10:08

I would not fancy your chances of getting out alive

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 17-Nov-12 20:10:18

I suppose it all depends on the context it's used and the tones of voices.

A look can be racist in the right setting, Iv'e had enough dumb white girl having black babies comments and looks from white and black people to know that. A joke between people I don't see as racist any more people saying it about irish time or french time or old peoples time yadayada. We all know there are people that love to be offended I'll save my offense about racism to terrible comments published in the daily mail like only stupid fat white women go out with lazy work shy uneducated black men.

giveitago Sat 17-Nov-12 20:12:46

Never heard this before. Have indian background and don't remember anyone say this. Ever.

Mrsdever - someone spat into a pram????? WTF - that's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard in my life. Horrible. Sick making. What's going on in someone's head that thinks it's OK to take out their weirdo hatred against the world on a baby in a pram . I thought I'd heard it all but this is really something else. I can't say OMG enough.

drjohnsonscat Sat 17-Nov-12 20:12:53

I'm amazed at this. I've never heard the phrase but of course it's not on. If a black person uses it about themselves within a culture then that's different but obviously if I (white) used it it would be offensive. So it matters that it was broadcast - the context was missing. Let's put it this way: if I used it at work about a black employee's timekeeping it would be a certain (and fair) discrimination case.

Very odd to question the OP's reaction I think. It would shock me to hear it in a broadcast context whereas if I heard a group of black friends talking among themselves it wouldn't.

drjohnsonscat Sat 17-Nov-12 20:15:54

Agree MN is contradictory. There was a massive bun fight about 'having a paddy' meaning having a meltdown which was almost universally viewed as racist although it probably comes from the welsh word for tantrum iirc.

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