And ignorant too!

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key made a stupid and offensive joke about Tuhoe. For non-New Zealand readers, Tuhoe are a Maori iwi, or tribe, who never signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Here’s what John Key said.

“The good news is that I was having dinner with Ngati Porou as opposed to their neighbouring iwi which is Tuhoe, in which case I would have been dinner, which wouldn’t have been quite so attractive,” he said.

From: PM slammed for cannibalism comment, in the New Zealand Herald

It’s racism, simple and nasty, and absolutely unacceptable from anyone, let alone the Prime Minister.

And John Key has come up with an apology.

It was just a joke and sorry if anyone was offended.

Good grief. The “apology” is not an apology at all. It’s all a mistake, and no one understands his sense of humour, and why don’t you just smile and wave a bit more, John Key, instead of leading the nation.

Not only is his “apology” inane, but it’s ignorant too. Check out what he actually said.

Ahh look, it was a light-hearted joke, a bit of self-deprecating humour, but if anyone is offended, then I deeply apologise.

Prime Minister, not only do you need to learn how to make a proper apology (hint: don’t pretend it was all a joke, and have the guts to recognise that you actually were offensive), but you need to learn what “self-deprecating” means.

Let me google that for you.

“Tending to undervalue oneself and one’s abilities.”
“conscious of your own shortcomings”
“belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.”

I don’t see anything self-deprecating about the alleged humour at all. I can’t see that John Key was undervaluing himself, or being conscious of his own shortcomings, or being excessively modest.

All he was doing was making a cheap, racist, crack. And his “apology” simply demonstrates his ignorance.

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15 responses to “And ignorant too!

  1. Yes, it was a stupid and vulgar alleged joke.

    But having had too much much direct experience of casual misogyny, homophobia and ugly, dirty anti-immigrant racism from that corner of the country, you’ll pardon me if I don’t have a lot of sympathy until Tuhoe clean up their own whare.

  2. Hmmm…. yes, but he was speaking in his capacity as Prime Minister. That compounds the offence.

  3. Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck. Nasty little man. Cheap cracks are just so unstatemanlike.

  4. I hope not — just as throwing around racist and sexist obscenities in an e-mail is neither compounded nor diminished because you’re a backbencher. It’s ignorant and offensive no matter who you are.

    All I’m saying is that I hope as much outrage is mustered by Tuhoe the next time a kaumatua of my acquaintance opines that rape victims “ask for it”, queers are better off dead and Asians should be sent “home” on the next slow boat. I’m not proud to say this, but some of the most bigoted people I know are brown necks in my own whanau — and Key would have to go a lot further to match them.

  5. By the way, Prime Minister, that’s not a challenge.

  6. “Key would have to go a lot further to match them.”

    Maybe so, but I think he should take the moral high ground and not say this type of thing at all. It is just so unnecessary.

    I’m really disappointed, NZ was my bolt hole in case Abbott somehow becomes leader of Australia. Now I’m not so sure.

  7. Craig, if we get a Tuhoe prime munster I’ll definitely hold them to the same standard. No, make that “at least the same standard”, there’s a long way to go to reach “dignified” or “respectable”, let alone “honourable”.

    Until I have a leader who is Tuhoe I’ll continue to just complain about some Tuhoe’s behaviour and call them on it when I see it.

  8. Oh Craig, is there any political problem that tu quoque can’t make disappear?

  9. Stephen: Is there a Latin tag than can make a patronising mansplain accusation of bad faith endearing? When you find it, share with the group.

  10. BTW, Stephen, I don’t give the proverbial twopenny toss about the hurt feelings of bigots who don’t like the taste of a drop of their own medicine. Not least the kind of moral cretin who’d look me in the eye and say women provoke rape.

    One more time: Rape victims ask for it,

    I condemn Key because I expect better from him. I don’t give a shit about Tuhoe I’ve seen stand mute while women and gays and immigrants have been demeaned and insulted by supposed leaders in front of them.

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  12. Craig, seems to me that about half your comments essentially boil down to “they did it too, so look over there!” Classic derailing. What unnamed members of Tuhoe did or didn’t do is irrelevant to the level of offensiveness (or otherwise) of Key’s comment.

  13. And a significant number of white people I know were (variously) praising Key for “tellling it like it is”, saying “lol all Maori are savages”, or at least going “oh well it’s only the Maori, and I know it isn’t great for race relations, but you know, I’m a white person, so I don’t really care”

    Ugh. Come back over if you’re a lefty Mindy, we need all the help we can get over here apparently (though the current Labour leadership don’t seem to be doing too well either atm.)

  14. Oh but Deborah, he was delivering a “new apology”. All the public figures do them now. “I’m not sayin’ I’m sorry for saying something dumb/racist/culturally insensitive, but IF anyone was offended, then I’m sorry (yeah, sorry you’re such a sooky la-la who can’t take a joke)”.

    And Mindy, I was also thinking of running to NZ if Abbott gets in. It seemed like such a good idea.

  15. I don’t think the comment was necessarily racist. “Eat me for dinner” could have been in the metaphorical sense; easily said about any white person or whoever. If this is so, Key should be going into heavy damage control to get this across, and I can’t fathom why he isn’t.

    The offensiveness of the comment isn’t the (debatable) racism; it’s that he was being flippant about Tuhoe’s outrage at being turned down for a deal at the last minute after 18 months. Also his ‘apology'; apologies don’t go “I’m sorry you got offended”, they go “I’m sorry I offended you.” Big difference.