The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Monday, September 25, 2006

Smack a racist outside your local primary school today 

I was just reading Lan Le-Ngoc's incredibly engaging account of being a refugee, courtesy of David Haywood on PA, and after the wonderful accounts of a childhood in Saigon, a semi-accidental migration, acceptance as a refugee, education to PhD level in New Zealand, and building a family here, if ends like this:
The only trouble - and this is very hard for me to say - is that these days I'm not entirely sure if New Zealand wants me. I feel that I'm appreciated in my profession and within the science community, but on the streets I get a very different reception. People who don't know me will often treat me quite rudely. In fact, sometimes they are actually insulting.

This behaviour is a comparatively new phenomenon - just in the last five years or so. I never saw it when I was a teenager, and I certainly didn't live in a posh area or attend any sort of exclusive school. I had summer jobs picking fruit in the orchards down in Clyde, and worked with all sorts of New Zealanders; and I don't recall any incidents of racism at all. But recently it seems to be everywhere. I've had people shouting abuse at me from cars. Even children - that's the worst.

Only a few weeks ago I dropped my daughter off at school, and as I went back to my car there were some kids standing at the front gate. Just primary school children - only nine or ten years old. And one of them shouted at me: "You f**king Asian. Go home!" [...]

I suspect that part of the responsibility for such attitudes can be laid at the feet of certain politicians. The rhetoric of people like Winston Peters and Don Brash has actually promoted anti-immigrant sentiment. It was probably always there to a certain extent, but when senior politicians start spouting this sort of nonsense then it isn't merely airing the views of a racist minority - it actually starts to incite racism.

Easily-led people take such political rhetoric as legitimization of their own bigoted views. They think it gives them carte blanche to treat immigrants rudely in shops, or to shout insults from their cars. Of course, I'm not suggesting that this is the intention of Peters or Brash. They're just doing it to get votes. I'm sure that after the election they forget all about it. But they don't realize the long-term impact that it's having on people like me and my family - who can be easily identified as having ancestry from somewhere other than Europe.

The level of racism in this country is fucking disgusting. It comes from self-appointed guardians of national character (and they're not all white), and it is directed at anyone who can be assumed, for the purposes of a bigoted fuckwit, to be an immigrant: most obviously Asians, but also people who are visible by virtue of their accents, etc (except Brits, of course, or at least the white ones, who are universally loved for some reason). Paul Buchanan's recent account of reactions to his American origins are instructive:
"...I have in the past couple of years, particularly related to some public commentary I’ve made, had some nasty emails saying, ‘bloody Yank, go back home’. I’ve mentioned this to some of the very close friends I have in this country now and they’ll say, ‘Look, it’s just some nutter who had nothing better to say’, and I do believe that, but it’s only begun to manifest itself in the past couple of years. I went seven years without anyone ever saying anything other than a good-natured joke about my citizenship."
Grow up New Zealand! Treat individuals as individuals. And smack anyone who does otherwise.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

The New
Blogging it Real supports the following sporting organisations