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  • Is the term ‘jungle drums’ racist?
  • Premier Icon benv
    Free Member

    Would the term ‘jungle drums’ used to describe the travel of news/gossip between different groups of people (ie over 2 or more locations at work) be considered racist?

    A young man of African descent has taken offence to my use of the phrase in a conversation they weren’t involved in but heard (along with about 8 others). I acknowledged his interjection, apologised if he took offence at anything I said, but none was given and I was not aware of any negative connotation of the phrase. He rejected my offering and left the premises.

    Should I be expecting to find myself in hot water at work?

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    yes.

    The PC approved phrase is “Chinese whispers”

    Premier Icon bobbyspangles
    Free Member

    Crikey. What a world.
    Depends on who’s playing the drums I suppose. Where you in blackface with a bone through your nose? That may have tipped the balance against you

    Premier Icon bsims
    Free Member

    You should use the term ‘grapevine’ unless there are French people within earshot.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Should I be expecting to find myself in hot water at work?

    Tempting, but I’ll leave it.

    Premier Icon csb
    Full Member

    ‘Sending up smoke signals’ would be a close equivalent I guess. Nothing derogatory about using either term as long as you weren’t using it to describe a particular colleague or group.

    Premier Icon eulach
    Free Member

    Should I be expecting to find myself in hot water at work?

    Tempting, but I’ll leave it.

    No it’s too good an opportunity.

    pot

    Premier Icon dawson
    Full Member

    PC gone mad

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Full Member

    PC gone mad

    Computerist.

    Premier Icon CheesybeanZ
    Full Member

    How is a reference to a form of communication racist ???

    Premier Icon johnx2
    Free Member

    Could it be the ‘apology’ that’s the issue? In inverted commas because it’s clear you don’t think you said anything offensive and don’t think this individual should have taken offence.

    acknowledged his interjection, apologised if he took offence at anything I said,

      but none was given

    Apologising “if any offence was given” is not apologising.

    If what you’re saying is you didn’t give any offence (but sorry if you did, but you didn’t) then it’s really not an apology.

    I was not aware of any negative connotation of the phrase.

    Me neither until now for what it’s worth, but one lives and learns.

    He rejected my offering and left the premises.

    If you’re going to apologise for something you’ve done (whether or not you are at fault) do it like you mean it or not at all.

    (Editing to say that talk of jungle this that and the other have been tropes of racist language and white guys like presumably you and certainly I don’t get to decide who should be offended.)

    Premier Icon brownsauce
    Free Member

    I typed  jungle drums into google and rather worryingly the first result was an article in the daily mail regarding a racism investigation.

    If your employer is a very PC operation , like a local authority , then its prob best that the others involved in the conversation are prepped to confirm that no racism was intended on your part just in case a complaint is made at a later date

    very shit i know , but we live in a world where being offended is a full time occupation for many

    Premier Icon nick1962
    Free Member

    Don’t you just hate it when someone gets all uppity?

    Premier Icon ajaj
    Full Member

    Sir William Macpherson would say yes. Humpty Dumpty would say no.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    A bit of a snowflake then?

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    You should use the term ‘grapevine’ unless there are French people within earshot.

    obviously, “le téléphone arabe” if there are any French around.

    Premier Icon jkomo
    Free Member

    It isn’t a phrase I haven’t heard for years. Does sound a bit ‘Les Dawson’.
    Not one I would use either.

    Premier Icon binners
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    You are Joris Bohnson and I claim my Daily Telegraph subscription!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    TBH, jungle drums/grapevine are pretty much interchangeable and in common enough use that neither stand out when I hear them.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Full Member

    he rejected my offering

    If it was a pint of goat blood then so would I.

    Premier Icon benv
    Free Member

    No it’s too good an opportunity.

    Yes it is.

    Could it be the ‘apology’ that’s the issue?

    Could be. In hindsight I could have had a longer discussion with him about it. He did interupt a converstaion I was having though, one I had to get back to. No doubt if he stuck around I would have talked about it more.

    Apologising “if any offence was given” is not apologising.

    If what you’re saying is you didn’t give any offence (but sorry if you did, but you didn’t) then it’s really not an apology.

    I didn’t apologise for giving offence, because I never gave any. I apologised if he took offence to what I said. Which I suppose you’re right isn’t really an apology. Bit like apologising when someone bumps into you.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    How is a reference to a form of communication racist ???

    Well, I’m not really an expert in racism and disclaimer, I’m as white as they come, but I’ll have a go. Using terms like these is not explicitly racist, however it’s associated with hackneyed ignorant stereotypes from early films or books which themselves come from an actual racist perspective – the ignorant savages banging drums, as contrasted with the cultured and sophisticated white people. It’s basically bringing up a bad period in race relations that many people would rather forget. That’s just my interpretation which is not exactly well-informed, happy to learn from anyone on the subject though.

    Wether or not the colleague was right to reject your apology though – that’s another issue.

    Premier Icon sobriety
    Free Member

    Used in my family to imply hearing it from someone else, just like on the grapevine. Ran it past my non-white fiance and got a wtf are they on about response.

    Also, given that I can think of jungles on at least 3 continents I would contest that your co-worker is putting two and two together and getting Enoch Powell.

    Edit: the phrase never struck me as racist in any way, just a method of beyond visual range communication in a locale where phone lines would be a bugger to install.

    Premier Icon thegreatape
    Full Member

    You are Joris Bohnson and I claim my Daily Bush Telegraph subscription!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Should we also ban all words that came into English from, say, India because they are a reminder of colonial rule?

    Premier Icon bsims
    Free Member

    obviously, “le téléphone arabe” if there are any French around.

    🥂 chapeau!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    I didn’t apologise for giving offence, because I never gave any. I apologised if he took offence to what I said.

    That’s a passive-aggressive way of telling someone else that they’re wrong and you’re right. Not surprised he walked out tbh.

    Premier Icon ajaj
    Full Member

    “words that came into English from, say, India”

    Well done.

    Premier Icon plus one
    Free Member

    **** me !!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    Edit: the phrase never struck me as racist in any way

    This is part of the problem. White people going ‘there’s no problem with this thing I know nothing about’ and ignoring black people when trying to point out that there is.

    Premier Icon perchypanther
    Free Member

    Should we also ban all words that came into English from, say, India because they are a reminder of colonial rule?

    I hope not.

    I tell my kids to “get a jildy on” at least a dozen times a day.

    I’d go doolally without it. It’s one of my go to phrases

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    I didn’t apologise for giving offence, because I never gave any. I apologised if he took offence to what I said.

    That’s a passive-aggressive way of telling someone else that they’re wrong and you’re right. Not surprised he walked out tbh.

    exactly. Besides, offence isn’t something you give, it’s something you (choose to) take.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Well, It is actually “a thing” there are well recorded instances and anthropological studies of this sort of communication being used in Africa, and New Guinea in y’know, yer actual jungles…so in one sense, no it’s not racist. But it has overtones in common use of miscommunication and primitiveness so I can see how it could be offensive.

    apologised if he took offence at anything I said

    I agree with johnx2 and Molly this is not an apology, it’s a non apology, designed to be used by people who think they should apologise but don’t actually think they have to. This often compounds the original offence for obvious reasons. I doubt anything will come of it, but I’d be prepared to be obsequious in any HR meetings you’re invited to.

    Premier Icon benv
    Free Member

    If your employer is a very PC operation , like a local authority , then its prob best that the others involved in the conversation are prepped to confirm that no racism was intended on your part just in case a complaint is made at a later date

    It is a very PC organisation, head office in London with other offices housing all the support type staff such as HR in other big cities. By contrast my place of work is a run down working depot type building, full of manual workers quite removed from the day to day of rest of company so sometimes things come as a suprise.

    Everone was talking about it afterwards which I didn’t really want them to as it might make things worse for both of us.

    Besides, offence isn’t something you give, it’s something you (choose to) take.

    Of course you can give offence. Clearly and without doubt you can give offence. I didn’t in this case. If he can choose to take it when none was offered then how is that something I should apologise for without knowing the details?

    Premier Icon sobriety
    Free Member

    Me personally, I’d ask him to explain to me how it’s racist, as I didn’t think it was in any way, then explain my interpretation of the meaning of it. Treat it as a learning experience for everyone.

    Premier Icon xora
    Full Member

    One of the problems with using phrases like “Jungle Drums” is your assuming they were a shit form of communication in the way you used them. Where in reality they were probably well in advance of anything Western Civilization had at the time. There is always a built in assumption in the West that everyone else’s tech was crappy just because we didn’t understand it.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    Lokks like you’re safe OP. Efter six months of wrangling a council backed down after excluding a woman for the use of the expression.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8320510/Council-backs-down-in-jungle-drums-racism-row.html

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    Lokks like you’re safe OP. Efter six months of wrangling a council backed down after excluding a woman for the use of the expression.

    not quite…

    The council has not, however, rescinded its finding that the “jungle drums” remark was racist,

    Premier Icon benv
    Free Member

    Me personally, I’d ask him to explain to me how it’s racist, as I didn’t think it was in any way, then explain my interpretation of the meaning of it. Treat it as a learning experience for everyone.

    I think that’s what I would have done if he never left before I had the chance to, but I was in middle of something else I couldn’t just have stopped for any longer than I did.

    One of the problems with using phrases like “Jungle Drums” is your assuming they were a shit form of communication in the way you used them.

    Maybe, but in this particular case it was a reference to the fact that the jungle drums beat me to telling some good news. I had travelled back 30mins or so from a meeting and was going to deliver some news in person about a contract win, but by the time I got there they aready knew. I wasn’t complaining about it, or said it in a negative way, I just said that the jungle drums beat me to it.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    probably more likely that someone sent a WhatsApp

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