Monday, October 4, 2010

"I don't think Paul Henry looks or sounds like a real New Zealander"

I must confess that I don't watch Breakfast. This is mostly due to circumstance - I, like most students, am asleep at that ungodly hour - but that aside, I consider Paul Henry an excellent reason to change the channel. Other commentators have over the past year devoted quite a bit of attention to the man's many gaffes, sparing us the effort of detailing them here.

Usually, these have been attacks upon individuals laced with spurious adjectives and calculated to cause offence. However, his recent remarks about our Governor General are, to my mind, rather broader in application. Rather than simply attempting to racialise and 'foreignise' an individual, it seems to me like Henry has in fact put forward his own skewed definition for who does or does not look like a New Zealander.

It is a short step from there to providing a rather exclusive definition for who is and is not a Kiwi on the basis of race. With this in mind, one wonders how Henry would have reacted to any of the slew of previous Governor Generals of English extraction cosmetically indistinguishable from a Caucasian Kiwi, but ten thousand kilometres away in terms of culture and loyalty.

Let us be clear: Sir Anand Satyanand is one of us. An attack upon him and his place in this Nation is an attack upon all of us.