News Racist or not?

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EnumaElish

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African News Switzerland said:
The “black sheep” posters showing three white sheep booting a black sheep out of the country highlights Swiss People’s Party initiative to expel foreign criminals out of the country. But far more radically, the party, blaming foreigners for the growing crime rates in the country, wants the criminals thrown out after they have served their sentences together with their families.
Not unexpectedly, this proposal has attracted the anger of a number of people and organizations in Switzerland. Indeed, no less a person than the Swiss President, Micheline Calmy-Rey, also condemned the posters as being “irresponsible.” Besides, UN’s special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène, contacted the Swiss government seeking an official explanation on the “racist” posters. Invariably, he has advised the party to withdraw them as they could “provoke racial and religious hatred.”
http://www.african-news.ch/?p=9 [Broken]
 
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Evo

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Since a "black sheep" is a symbol for someone that doesn't fit in with the mainstream as in "she was the 'black sheep" in her family", it is not necessarily racist. Are the 70% foreign criminals in Swiss jails primarily black? The article doesn't say.
 

EnumaElish

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Aren't you extrapolating from American folklore/etymology?
 

Evo

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Aren't you extrapolating from American folklore/etymology?
Yes. Do you have an article that says the foreigners in Switzerland are in fact black? The article you linked doesn't mention it.
 
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Aren't you extrapolating from American folklore/etymology?
Is it American? I tried to find the origin of this phrase and failed. Do you have a citation for this?
 

EnumaElish

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Is it American? I tried to find the origin of this phrase and failed. Do you have a citation for this?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_sheep_(term [Broken])

My guess is it has a British origin. Only a guess.
 
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Is it American? I tried to find the origin of this phrase and failed. Do you have a citation for this?

The black sheep of the family expression goes way back

Meaning

A worthless or disgraced member of a family.

Origin

The first record in print is from Charles Macklin's The man of the world, a comedy, 1786:

"O, ye villain! you - you - you are a black sheep; and I'll mark you."

It isn't entirely clear why black sheep were selected to symbolize worthlessness. Possibly it is just the linking of black things with bad things, which is a long standing allusion in English texts - black mood, black looks etc. It may also be because shepherds disliked black sheep as their fleeces weren't suitable for dying and so were worth less than those of white sheep.
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/66250.html
 

chemisttree

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In 2004 Switzerland had roughly 1.5 million registered foreigners of which 50,000 were from Africa. So this poster appears not to be born of racism but of nationalism and, of course, security ("Pour plus de Securite" or "For more Safety" ) as it relates to nationalism. Interesting that the offending slogan was written in French since a majority of native speakers speak German. I see that a german language version of this poster ("Sicherheit Schaffen" or "Bringing Safety") was denounced in May of this year.

Perhaps the security-related difficulties with immigration that France has recently experienced has some resonance with French-speakers in Switzerland? (or Sarkozy is behind the whole mess!)
 
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The black sheep of the family expression goes way back
I had already found the Charles Macklin quote, but that's 'black sheep', not 'black sheep of the family'.
 

Evo

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In 2004 Switzerland had roughly 1.5 million registered foreigners of which 50,000 were from Africa.
And a lot of Africans are caucasion. What percent are black?

I would agree it's nationalism.
 

Kurdt

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I think the term black sheep originates from the fact that black sheep were useless to sheep farmers as their wool could not be dyed. Its perfectly possible that black sheep in most European cultures at least means something useless.
 

Art

Colour prejudice is a subset of racism. It seems the Swiss have a problem with all foreigners irrelevant of their colour.
 

EnumaElish

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Colour prejudice is a subset of racism. It seems the Swiss have a problem with all foreigners irrelevant of their colour.
So it may be xenophobic, but not racist?
 

chemisttree

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Quoted from this article.
The People's Party claims foreigners are responsible for much of the crime in the country.

Party posters featuring white sheep kicking out a black sheep sparked outrage blamed in part for a riot two weeks before the election -- a rare show of violence against a political party.

Despite the strife, the Swiss elected their first black parliament member Sunday -- Ricardo Lumengo of the Social Democrats. Lumengo is an Angolan who arrived in Switzerland as an asylum seeker the 1980s and subsequently became a legal expert.

The People's Party will now turn its attention to reducing crime, cutting taxes and keeping Switzerland out of the European Union, said its president, Ueli Maurer.

"I'm very happy," he said. "The idea of EU accession should at last get out of everyone's heads."
That's the Switzerland that I have always imagined. Open to asylum seekers and outraged by this over the top nationalistic campaign aimed at punishing the innocent with the guilty. Deportation for the criminal activity of others, even a family member, is pretty harsh. The People's Party is now going to focus it's attention on reducing crime... this will be an interesting time in Switzerland, no doubt.

But not wanting to become a member of the EU?
 

Art

So it may be xenophobic, but not racist?
xenophobic is fear of strangers/foreigners whereas racism is rooted in a belief that your race is superior to others. The People's Party are simply racist though they may play on the xenophobic nature of others to garner support.
 
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I had already found the Charles Macklin quote, but that's 'black sheep', not 'black sheep of the family'.

I think that is as close as we will come. It was the first time that "black sheep" was used in text in reference to a person.

Sir Per._ Oho! oho! vary weel! vary weel! fine slander upon ministers!
fine sedition against government! O, ye villain! you--you--you are a black
sheep;--and I'll mark you.--I am glad you shew yourself.--Yes, yes,--you
have taken off the mask at last;--you have been in my service for many
years, and I never knew your principles before.
http://www.ihaystack.com/authors/m/charles_macklin/00014463_the_man_of_the_world_1792/00014463_english_iso88591_p005.htm [Broken]
 
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And a lot of Africans are caucasion. What percent are black?

I would agree it's nationalism.
A lot of AFRICANS are caucasion. Do you mean descendants of European colonist from Africa?
 

Evo

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A lot of AFRICANS are caucasion. Do you mean descendants of European colonist from Africa?
No, I was thinking mainly of Arabs in N Africa. Arabs are caucasian.
 
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No, I was thinking mainly of Arabs in N Africa. Arabs are caucasian.
You could argue that Arabs are Asians as well. In fact that is what they are referred to as in Europe. The Arabs colonists N.Africa, they were not indeginous to that part of the world Sub-Saharan Africans were.
 

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