Thursday, September 22, 2005

It Took a Bungle to Tell the Truth

Alcohol abuse is a conspicuous problem among native Australian blacks (Aborigines) but you are not supposed to mention it of course. But seeing blacks lying around half drunk in public parks is a common sight in much of Australia. So the following news item was amusing (excerpt):

"Australian police working in Aboriginal communities have withdrawn new uniforms after they appeared to poke fun at many Aborigines' problems with alcohol. New South Wales police ordered 50 green vests for Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers - known as ACLOs. But the vests arrived bearing a much more insulting acronym - ALCO, used all over Australia as slang for alcoholic. The error was missed until it was almost too late, prompting embarrassed apologies from senior police chiefs."


Note that the news item is from the BBC. The bungle was so shocking that a little local affair got reported on the other side of the world! And if even the BBC admits that Australian blacks have an alcohol problem, you can guess what a problem it is! But I wonder just how "accidental" the bungle really was. I suspect a typical Australian (irreverent) sense of humor somewhere along the line there.