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'The View' sees Australia's blackface Jackson 5 demeaning

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Published on Oct 9, 2009

"..AMERICANS have condemned the Hey Hey It's Saturday "Jackson Five" skit, with US TV talkshows, news bulletins and talkback radio debating whether it was racist and if Harry Connick Jr was correct to take a stand.

On one of America's top-rating morning TV talkshows, The View, the skit was labelled "demeaning".

"We are in what people like to call post-racial America right now with (Barack) Obama in office," The View co-host, Joy Behar, said on air.

"I'm not saying that it (racism) is gone, but we are trying to grow as a country and that's kind of a demeaning sketch that we would never do here anymore."

Behar also raised Australia's treatment of Aborigines.

"The Aborigines, they don't treat them very well," Behar said.

Another host on the show, Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, added: "That's absolutely true."

A third host on The View, Sherri Shepherd, said Australians had sent her messages on Twitter attempting to explain the skit, which featured a frontman in a white face impersonating Michael Jackson, backed by dancers in black face paint and wigs.

"It was really interesting," Shepherd said.

"I got a lot of Tweets from some Australian followers on my Twitter and they said our humour is different from your country's humour."

The skit aired on Hey Hey It's Saturday's Red Faces talent segment featuring American singer-actor Connick Jr, in Australia on a promotional tour.

"I know it was done humorously, but, you know, we have spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart," Connick Jr said.

The major US TV networks NBC, CBS and ABC all carried the story and morning shows, Good Morning America and the CBS Early Show, also aired segments.

The skit was also debated passionately online.

On the website of leading American news magazine, Newsweek, Australian and American readers argued.

"Thanks Harry Connick Jr, for showing the world that all whites are NOT racist buffoons," a Newsweek reader wrote.

"As a college-educated, African-American professional who confronts racism daily from cradle to grave, for no other reason than the colour of my skin; it is clear to me now more than ever, that racism against black people will never disappear but continue to be tolerated under various guises.". .." (News Corp)

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