Think what would have happened in this scenario.
A European/Pakeha Member of Parliament is quoted as saying he would not be comfortable if his children dated a Maori.
And then upon further questioning, he said that he wouldn’t have a problem if they dated an American or an Australian, but would not want them dating either a Maori or a Pacific Islander.
I don’t think I am wrong in saying it would be the lead item on TV news. It would be on the front page of every newspaper. The Race Relations Conciliator would have condemned it. A dozen activists would have complained to the Human Rights Commission. Every major newspaper would have condemned the MP in editorials and there would be many calls for them to be sacked.
I’m not saying Hone should be sacked. In fact I will give him his dues that he doesn’t bullshit and says what he believes – no matter what. That is a rare quality in politics.
But I do think he is getting off too lightly from what was a pretty awful thing to say. He’s really abandoned all rights to talk about prejudice, when he declares skin colour matters to him, in terms of whom his children date. Even sadder was he seems to think most Pakeha thing the same as him – only in reverse.
We don’t Hone.
Now the media have not been totally silent on Hone. Rather than get out the editorial condemnation that would if it was a non-Maori MP, they have done the easy thing and asked the PM what he thinks, which the Herald reports:
Prime Minister John Key says it is “ridiculous” that MP Hone Harawira would not be happy about his children dating Pakeha. …
Mr Key said he found Mr Harawira’s views ridiculous.
“It depends on you as an individual but I wouldn’t care what ethnicity my kids dated as long as they are happy.”
Asked if he would be happy for his children to date Mr Harawira’s, he quipped: “I guess it would make the wedding an interesting thing, wouldn’t it.
But as long as they were happy, yep.”
Well that would be one way to keep the Maori Party onside – a Key-Harawira wedding.
Mr Key said he had met one of Mr Harawira’s daughters at an art college in Gisborne.
“She seemed a really nice girl, so yes, if Max wants to date her, she’s a bit older than him, though.”
Stephie Key is 17 and Max is 15.
Oh God poor Max. Having his dad talk about potential dates for him.
While the story is amusing, it shouldn’t just be about what the PM thinks on this issue. It should be about whether it is acceptable for any Member of Parliament to openly express prejudice like Hone did.
I guess you can say better to be open about your prejudices, then hide them. And again I do credit Hone with that. But I think it is again a very sad view point he has that race is more important to him than the qualities any individual person may have.Tags: Hone Harawira, John Key, racism