One of ITV's (one of the 5 terrestrial UK stations) football commentators just had to resign for being recorded off air calling one of Chelsea's black players "a f*cking lazy thick n*****." Of course he immediately apologised and offered his resignation, and it did seem a little out of character (when he was a football manager back in the days, he was one of the first to select black players).
Of course, this has cued the usual mass hysteria in the press and the question is being asked - deep down, is everyone a little bit racist? They had a phone-in on the radio whilst I was eating breakfast and one of the callers was an American. He'd been living in Ireland for 3 years and said he was racially abused every day, because people called him a Yank.
He stated that the word 'yankee' was an old British insult from the 18th century, which has basically involved into the modern day 'wanker.' And he didn't like being called it. I had never really thought about this before - are other Americans offended by this? I find it hard to believe since the most succesful baseball franchise is called the Yankees and wasn't the North referred to as the Yankees in the Civil War? And what about "Yankee-Doodle"? Surely you can't have your pie and eat it?
It's one of those slang words as much as anything: the Irish are Paddys, the Scots are Jocks, the French are Frogs and so on. I confess I've never really liked being called a jock (which obviously has a very different meaning in America), but that's only if it's being used in a derogatory manner (usually by someone from the south of England).