(Australians have a mildly derisive name for the English: "Poms" or "Pommies". It has been in common use for around a century, if not more, but it now seems to be under threat as being "racist". Since most Australians and most English are still of the same race (however you cut it) that is pretty crazy but since when did these things make sense?)
It's OK to call a Pom a Pom at the cricket this summer - as long as it is in good humour. Cricket Australia has given the green light to Aussies chastising the enemy during the Ashes series, but not if it's nasty. According to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the word Pom or Pommy itself is not offensive -- it depends on how it is used. The origin of the word Pom is unclear, with theories ranging from a short form of pomegranate to an acronym for Prisoner of her Majesty.
Cricket Australia anti-racism officer Peter Young said he did not expect Test fans to be kicked out of the MCG for calling the English Poms. "But if it was used to denigrate, demean, disparage or be offensive to another person on the basis of their race or culture, then it is a problem," he said. "People will use the word Pommy, players will use the word Pommy. But our view is, and has always been, that we take a zero-tolerance approach to racism in cricket, whether it is on the field or off the field, whether it is at an elite level or whether it is in the local school yard. "There is no place for racism in cricket."
A Barmy Army [English fans] spokesman said they didn't feel there were any problems with being called Poms. "As long as being called a Pom isn't accompanied by anything abusive then the Barmy Army has no problem whatsoever," he said. "We have been called it on the last three tours and we see it as a bit of harmless banter. "The Barmy Army likens it to calling Australians convicts, it is just a bit of fun and humour."
Under the International Cricket Council anti-racism code adopted this week, fans found guilty of racial abuse at matches could face lifetime bans.
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