A possie in Aussie

March 3, 2009

Hanson, racism and watermelons

Filed under: humour,race relations — Nayano @ 7:25 am
Tags: ,

In case you haven’t caught up with it, Pauline Hanson is running once more, this time in the upcoming Queensland state election.

Margot Kingston posted a thoughtful piece about her yesterday on ABC Unleashed . (Margot followed Pauline on the campaign trail once before, and produced an excellent book: Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson Trip.

Margot points out that Hanson’s opinions were formed on the basis of listening and taling to ordinary people like herself, and says that

“Although many of her facts were wrong, she channelled what came to be seen, after her time in politics, as genuine concerns, if ineptly put.”

Many in  politics and the media missed the point first time round – that these were genuine concerns, and concerns that had been suppressed by the good intentions of people who believe that it is important not to incite extremists by giving their opinions public voice – political correctness, in other words.

This brought to mind some current controversies in the US about Obama cartoons, and in particular one that show the White House lawn covered with watermelons. I see where the objections come from – associating the Obamas with those old Southern black stereotypes. But a second thought brought memories of the many lampooning of George W – with references to ‘good ol’ boys’ and Texas.

What’s the difference? What I came up with is the intensity of hatred and readiness for violence in white supremacy groups, and I am against giving them any fodder. But I also think suppressing cartoons is wrong. (I have to admit that I did find the watermelons funny!) Instead, let’s use them to talk about the problems of power and race.

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