(emphasis mine) — From UK’s Sky News Blog
It had to happen. When President Obama and wife Michelle met the Queen at Buckingham Palace, a Prince Philip gaffe was inevitable.
In the small talk when they first met, the Queen and the Prince were sympathising with the President and his wife about their gruelling schedule since arriving late on Tuesday evening.
“The time lag,” said the Queen, ever the diplomat.
“You’re just trying to stay awake!” said Philip, ever the foot-in-mouth blunderer.
Then the President told the Royals: “I had breakfast with the Prime Minister, I had meetings with the Chinese, the Russians, David Cameron…
“And I’m proud to say I did not nod off in one of the meetings.”
A guffawing Prince Philip then blurted out: “Can you tell the difference between them?”
Now at first I thought that was an insult to David Cameron. But perhaps not. I may be wrong. Perhaps it was a compliment for the Tory leader to be compared to two powerful world leaders.
Either way, it was vintage Prince Philip!
(Note: Apparently Barack Obama replied that he had no trouble telling them apart.)
Last night at the pub where some of the bloggers were hanging out, we learned that Prince Phillip had said something to Barack Obama that’s best described as politically incorrect. The British bloggers I was talking with said that Sky News who had the original clip was unsure whether to call the statement a “gaffe” or “racist” and those favoring “gaffe” won out. There seems to be an indulgent embarrassment about Prince Phillip among many Brits like one would have for your crazy, crotchedy, sometimes kinda drunk old uncle or grandpa who’s uncomfortable around people “different” from him. But really, the guy is a hardcore, straight up bigot with a history saying very uncool things of an ethnic nature — here’s a list of the top 15 worst things he’s said. I’m glad to say though that I don’t think Prince Phillip represents all Brits in that fashion or even probably most of the Royal Family.
The winking tolerance of his behavior however is intolerable to me and once I found out what Prince Phillip had said, I assured the Brits in earshot that (having had such things said to me before) that it was in fact racist, that the Obamas would interpret it as such (especially since Barack Obama’s sister is half Indonesian and therefore Asian in appearance) and would therefore be deeply offended (whether they say so publicly or not). When people have said things like that to me abroad, I usually interpret it as a status setting play designed in an attempt to “put me in my place”. It’s usually ineffective and I would guess it didn’t work on Obama either. But judge for yourself – let me know what you think in the comments as people in the UK will be watching — racist & offensive or not?
It’s interesting because it’s offensive on several different levels. For those who don’t know, David Cameron is the leader of the conservative opposition in the UK. But apparently Prince Phillip also implies in his remarks that Cameron (a member of the Conservative Party, mind you and therefore right wing) is a communist like the Russians and Chinese. And that Barack Obama might be too stupid to tell them apart. Because Barack Obama is also a communist, right?
You have to hand it to Prince Phillip — a barb that sophisticated, offensive and condescending to so many millions of people (including Russia, China, America and UK Tories/conservatives) worldwide takes a lifetime to perfect. Well done, as they’d say here in the UK!
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