A bit surprised

Yesterday afternoon that old British classic The Dambusters was shown (yet again) on BBC2. Still a great film imo made during the golden age of British cinema.
On the air base where the film was set was a black labrador who belonged to the station commander or whoever. Point is this black doggy was called ‘Ni**er’ which was acceptable apparently in 1955 when the film was made. The dog’s name was mentioned a few times.
I’m surprised because I would have thought that word would have been dubbed out in these more ‘pc’ times.

It has been blanked out in the past ,to some controversy if I recall correctly

Thank God, the’re not re righting history again. If all of history was re written for modern day so called standards there’d be no history to look back on. Everyone in history would be sooo PC. During the day the dog was named just black in another form & probably well loved.

A couple of the more obscure channels rarely filter racist language/actions :astonished:

The word ‘ni*ger’ was used in England as a perfectly respectable and everyday adjective in the garment trade, to describe a dark chocolate-coloured fabric popular in skirts, gentleman’s jackets and overcoats, ladies coats and suits etc. It had as much harmless currency as ‘navy blue’ or ‘bottle green’ during the war years and for several years afterwards. I remember my mother using it to buy me a lumber-jacket, a fashion item for boys postwar after rationing of cloths ended.

I think it fell into disrepute and became a term of abuse in the mid- to late-1950s after Windrush and the influx of West Indian worker-immigrants. It gained notoriety in the southern states of the USA as a derisory term of abuse.

It was not used in Africa much by white racists. The coarse term applied to black Africans by whites was “munts”, a corruption of the local term umuntu, meaning people, the plural of abantu, meaning a person.

I don’t think it necessary to camouflage the word as long as it isn’t used to deliberately offend a person or a people.


Well I could loose my job and my hobby if I was even heard to use it

Time for a little drift…

What are your thoughts on such a film?

I am no “snowflake” but it does come across as a little “history is written by the victors” - the making of the film just 10 years after end of WW2 must have influenced this.

I am perhaps concerned by the celebratory tone of the film, how would a German film of say the Coventry bombing be viewed?

Just interesting to explore.

Well that’s up to you, Mary, and your circumstances. I wouldn’t use it in a way to offend, but In its proper context I would use it rather than use the prissy euphemism “The n-word” which is IMO so contortedly precious as to be ridiculous, and gives no respect to the sensibilities of black people, who know perfectly well what white people think and feel when they talk to their black peers, without being patronised which is worse.

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It’s not up to me at all, although I wouldn’t use that word anyway (but that is my choice )

It is interesting.

I think it’s of it’s time, jingoistic and self-congratulatory, but a bit of national jingoistic history and worth keeping for that reason, for the record, and for posterity’s sake.

It’s also a reflection on manners, language, the landscape and popular culture at the time, worth keeping for that alone.


The way I see it (the Dambusters film), is in black and white…:rofl::rofl:

It’s telling a story of one troubled man’s genius. Necessity is the mother of invention.

No doubt it was a stroke of genius to come up with the bouncing bomb.

Yes, it was “swarthy” that was consider really offensive :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

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Yes I saw the irony there as well

That was Guy Gibson’s dog’s name, because he was, eh, black. The dog’s name was also used to signal the successful mission. I don’t think history should be rewritten because the connotations of a word changes. Anyway, I’ve always thought it was more a nasty, vicious Deep South American insult problem, rather than my Mum using the word (in my memory) to buy four balls of wool in Streatham High Road to knit me a brown jumper in 1959.

I’ve read a fair amount over the years on the Dams raid and only bought Max Hastings recent book on the topic last week. I’ve also stayed at the Petwood Hotel at Woodhall Spa which was 617 Squadron’s officer’s mess. My house number is 617 but I have resisted building a life sized model of a Lancaster out of matchsticks as a gate sentry. I’ll visit Gibson’s grave next time i’m in the neck of the Dutch woods.


Bojo is relying on the same style of innovative genius to deliver post Brexit. The Heath Robinson School of Design and Innovation…

In reality it was more of a propaganda (and technical) than a strategic success Mat.

It was a tactical success. The subsquent flooding caused a lot of damage, admittedly not irreprable but certainly extremely disruptive. The effect on German morale must have been significant, too.

When my father was serving in B.A.O.R. we went to visit the dams. The repaired breached section clearly visible [c 1960]. Impressive. Hats off to 617 and Barnes Wallace.

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I wasn’t offended, John. I just thought it looked like casual racism, to refer to Greek policemen as ‘swarthy’ when that means dark complexioned and has an unpleasant connotation.

The word was commonly used in popular colonial/imperial literature as we are both old enough to acknowledge. It is synonymous with ‘dusky’ which has the same flavour of racial inferiority, and was used to describe the ‘natives’ over whom the white race had dominion, in the Dominions of Imperial Rule. :smiley:

But hey, I’m still in light-hearted festive mode, and only wish you sweetness and light :hugs::smiley::sparkler:

While the topic of ‘pc’ terms is being discussed, perhaps someone could enlighten me regarding the following which I have been trying to understand - it used to be offensive to call someone of African/ Indian origin ‘coloured’. Instead the term ‘black’ should be used. However, recently (especially since Meghan Markle joined the royal family) it now appears that the correct ‘pc’ term is now ‘of colour’. Can anyone explain to be what is the difference between ‘coloured’ and ‘of colour’ :thinking:!?