This post may not resonate well with some readers, mostly because I am calling out someone well known and highly respected for her ‘progressive opinion shaping’ as an advocate for human rights in NZ and abroad.
I’m not saying I’m perfect, nor that I expect anyone else to be. When we are so grossly offended, we often say or do irrational things. Its human nature.
I've been chatting to some friends on Facebook - one in particular who was rightly upset by the comments made by Marie Kraup, the Danish Politician (reportedly a far right nationalist) who recently slandered Maori culture in an opinion piece in a Danish newspaper. I'm a little late and many have written on this topic already, but there is a different angle I want to take.
An angle that brings to mind a heated twitter exchange I saw a few weeks ago where @ColeyTangerina went to town on @Kaupapa for referring to the careerist left women of Labour having more balls than the men and for saying that ‘ovaries’ don’t have the same linguistic currency as ‘balls’.
I happened to agree with him – yet I could also see @ColeyTangerina’s point. So long as we believe ‘balls’ have more linguistic currency than ‘ovaries’, is as long as that will remain the status quo.
It also brings to mind the case of John Key’s ‘gay red shirt’ comment, since he got slammed for using the term ‘gay’ derogatorily notwithstanding that he attends gay pride shows – which he wouldn’t if he were homophobic. Not defending John Key, just saying that some terms are used in ways that we often take for granted as being derogatory or offensive to others.
So what does this have to do with Marama Davidson? This:
The part I refer to is line 5 beginning 'upholding Danish racist pastry woman's comments'. And when asked if ‘pastry’ was a typo, she replied:
Marama is usually an amazing advocate and her writing and comments are usually well considered. But referring to Marie Kraup as a Danish racist pastry is not the conduct one has come to expect of a progressive opinion shaper, especially when the point of the status update is to call out our Race Relations Commissioner for failing to provide guidance on this issue.
I wholeheartedly agree that Susan Devoy should be making some comment to send a global message that we are united against cultural intolerance. I suspect that most readers of this blog will agree that what Marie Krarup said was abhorrent and her own intolerance was the most primitive thing about the whole situation.
But is this a justifiable response given it is in the context of criticising the lack of commentary from the Race Relations Commissioner?
Surely the message could have been conveyed without resorting to her own ill-considered comments? Many Danish people will take offense to the petty name calling and derogatory reference to their nationality as pastries. Maybe some of my readers will think what she said wasn't offensive in the context of what was said about Maori culture, but in my view, this was a bit of people in glass houses. Not particularly conducive to improving race relations nor promoting tolerance.
What I will say, is that I agree if you are reading this and upset that Dame Susan Devoy has not made any comment, then do call or email the Human Rights Commission and demand a response.
Note: these comments from Marama are made publicly on Facebook, so are easily accessible by any person. I haven't covertly extracted them.
*I get that the word 'pastry' is not offensive on its own. Its the use of pastry as a way of belittling that could be deemed offensive to the people of Denmark.