Informit article: The unspoken ‘wog’ slur

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Britain’s neoliberal media and New Imperialism.

In 2005 rioting and racial attacks broke out in Cronulla, a beachside suburb of Sydney. Many of the assailants had daubed banners and even their bodies with the sentiment ‘wogs out’. The targets of their attacks were Lebanese Australians. The absurdity of this abuse was that ‘wog’ is an abbreviation of ‘gollywog’, an infantilised representation of Black African diasporic identity in doll form. Despite the seemingly ethnicspecific nature of this abusive caricature, the interchangeable ubiquity of the ‘wog’ slur has been Britain’s gift to its empire. Historically, it was targeted at the African diaspora, including Caribbeans. David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962) uses it to refer to Arab Middle Easterners in, for example, the infamous ‘You filthy little wog’ scene. As Spike Milligan’s comedy oeuvre demonstrated, it was commonly applied to the inhabitants of the Asian subcontinent and the British Far East. It was even applied to Mediterraneans like the Maltese and Cypriots.

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