in the Herald today. It concentrates on a conversation between Melissa Lee and an old racist pharmacist from Mt Albert who won’t vote for her because she’s Asian.
It turns out that the Herald has interviewed many reasonable people (most of whom supported Shearer) for this piece. So why spend half the article on what some daft old bugger has to say? It’s clearly a dogwhistle “if you don’t vote Melissa Lee, you’re a racist too”
David Farrar picks it up
, only to prove you can break a dogwhistle if you blow too hard.
The irony is that it is Lee engaging in racial stereotyping. Lee thinks that because “twenty-four per cent of the electorate is Asian” she will get their votes. Not only is that premised on people voting on ethnic lines it assumes all Asians are alike.
Ultimately, the worst thing about this attempt to make race an issue is it puts the candidates’ identity above the issues and policies. In fact, I’m struggling to recall an article from the mainstream media on Mt Albert that focuses the issues, rather than the parliamentary politicking or the candidates’ personal qualities.