Sunday, February 19, 2012

Honkies, listen up

Duncan Garner (a political journalist I have a lot of time for) may not realize it, but every time he says 'The Government sold the Crafar farms to the Chinese,' as he did twice tonight on 3 News, he is being vaguely if not specifically racist. The point being that I doubt very much whether he would say 'The Government sold the Crafar farms to the British,' or the Americans, or the Australians, or anyone else English-speaking. He would almost certainly say they sold them to the specifically named company or corporation that bought them. To keep saying 'the Chinese' is to lump everyone Chinese (all one-billion-plus of them) into the same basket. 'The Chinese,' whether intended or not, carries connotations of an entire nation with designs on New Zealand.

There is a similar tendency among some media (not Garner), commentators and politicians to talk about 'Maori' as if they are an amorphous blob of a race, all with the same intentions (usually interpreted as trying to take stuff off Pakeha). Honkies, listen up: it is possible to tell them apart. Make the effort.

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