As a fan of Morrissey’s music but not always of Morrissey the man, I wasn’t surprised this week to see yet another incidence of supposed Morrisey racism. In a new interview, the aging Morrissey, still stuck making racist statements, called the Chinese “a sub-species”. Why? According to Morrissey, the Chinese treat animals so badly, they must be a sub-species.
Since Morrissey hit the international alternative music world decades ago, he’s always been an outspoken and often divisive character. Morrissey has spoken out against political figures like Margaret Thatcher, said he wished George W. Bush had died instead of Ronald Reagan, and even went on a diatribe about Hillary Clinton at a concert after singing the song “The World is Full of Crashing Bores”.
Racist statements though, is where Morrissey has excelled. Known for making racist remarks in both interviews and in the lyrics of his songs, that he’s now out gunning for the Chinese, isn’t much of a surprise.
Morrissey was first called ‘racist’ when the lyrics for “Bengali in Platforms” were analyzed. The song is about a Bengali boy struggling to survive in the United Kingdom and includes lyrics like “Bengali, Bengali – Oh, shelve your Western plans -/ And understand – That life is hard enough when you belong here.”
Soon after this, much of the British public was up in arms when photos of Morrissey appeared, accompanied everywhere by a skinhead friend. (Skinheads are often accused of being members of the extremely violent ‘British National Front’ – an anti-immigrant group who believe ‘England is for the English’).
Morrissey has also been heard to say that British identity is being lost as the country is being “flooded with immigrants”.
However, when you look at other actions by Morrissey, it’s often much more likely that he’s not racist, only incredibly angry about the stupid and destructive acts people do all over the world.
In the past, Morrissey has given substantial amounts of money to anti-racism organizations. He funded a concert “Love Music, Hate Racism” after their sponsor withdrew at the last minute, and he’s spoken out against racism – several times.
Much of his racist remarks though come from his absolute belief animals should be treated just like humans should, that anyone who hurts or kills an animal is less than human, and that “Meat is Murder”. And so, enter the Chinese and Morrissey’s “the Chinese are a subspecies”.
Living in Asia, I can absolutely attest to everything Morrissey says about the way the Chinese treat animals. At local Chinese markets you see hundreds of animals stuffed into tiny cages, treated in the most horrific ways, skinned alive, limbs amputated while still alive, tapped for liver enzymes (bears) and much much more. The Chinese, like many Asians, do not treat animals like many westerns do or expect the rest of the world to do and, yes, it is inhumane.
However…….saying the Chinese are a ‘sub-species’ doesn’t really help the situation, nor is it true. The Chinese, and many other Asians’ way of badly treating animals, is a cultural norm and nothing more. It’s how they grew up, it’s how they have farmed animals for meat, and it’s been this way for centuries.
Animal rights groups are popping up all over Asia, with some Asians (and these include Chinese Asians) desperate to show the rest of their country how animals should be treated. Things are changing but, when you’re fighting against centuries of tradition, it takes longer than a few years to change it.
Morrissey, therefore, instead of spouting off with his usual racist-style remarks when he’s angry about something would be better served by doing something about the treatment of animals in China. Funding a Chinese animal rights organization, filming PSAs against the unethical treatment of animals, throwing a concert in China and talking about the ethical treatment of animals – all of those things would have much more of a positive outcome, rather than calling the Chinese a ‘sub-species’.
Seriously, Morrissey,”Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference:”.
Morrissey – Chinese people are a ‘subspecies’ – The Huffington Post