March 7th, 2009
Unfortunately racism is a problem everywhere around the world, and even more unfortunately New Zealand does have a history of specifically anti-Chinese and more generally anti-Asian (Asian usually meaning East Asian or more specifically Chinese) prejudice. I would like to think that is very much history, but it does rear its ugly head in modern New Zealand with frustrating regularity. But when an incident of racially-charged violence happens in your town, this is not how to help improve your town’s image:
“Two of them [Asians] were in school uniform and an adult was with them. One had two baseball bats, [and was] flinging them around like bloody chopsticks,” a witness said.
He said as soon as the youth with the baseball bats appeared everything escalated. “It was just like a rat’s nest being disturbed by a fox terrier, they were going everywhere.”
First of all, you don’t fling chopsticks around. And I find it hard to imagine a context in which it would be appropriate to fling baseball bats around- in a fight, wouldn’t it be better to hold on to your baseball bat? That way you have something to continue beating your opponent with, whereas if you fling it around, your opponent can pick it up and use it against you.
Secondly, chopsticks are considerably smaller than baseball bats.
Thirdly, why? I mean, why use this word “chopsticks” in your seriously warped simile? Could it be the Asian-ness of those doing the flinging around? Some bizarre stereotype of kung fu movies?
And to then follow that up with rats? Wow, you really are trying to reinforce the image of Timaru as a racist, redneck hole, aren’t you?
And perhaps I’m being a little oversensitive, but it seems to me that this article focusses more on the actions of the Asians than the Europeans, despite one girl claiming she was with White Power. There is talk of a fight and offensive racial remarks and gestures, but that’s it. Flinging chopsticks around like baseball bats, smashing a car window, and climbing on to a car are rather extreme reactions to offensive remarks and gestures, aren’t they? Am I wrong to suggest that the real story goes deeper than this?