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[h=1]Why simply calling Hanson racist doesn't help[/h]

 

Calling Pauline Hanson racist or treating her like a circus freak guarantees one outcome only: that her beliefs will be reinforced. Instead, point out the issues and explain why she is wrong, writes Michael Bradley.

Pauline Hanson is a racist, said pretty much everyone as soon as the penny dropped that she's coming back to our national Parliament.

"An embarrassment to Australia," proclaimed Bob Carr. Richard Di Natale's glasses fogged up in his Facebook rush to "stand up to Pauline Hanson," her bigotry and her hatred.

What is it about Hanson that makes the political and media establishment go weak in the bladder? She's hardly the only public figure in Australia who expresses views that most of us readily recognise as bigoted, deluded and dangerous. She is, however, the only one who is treated as having the power, with her words alone, to endanger our society.

It's obviously perplexing, because Hanson has always had visible difficulty with her debating skills. She comes across as not very bright, but perpetually very angry and confused; a person who struggles to articulate how she feels about the world beyond saying "I don't like it".

She isn't exactly a charismatic or charming presence. She is certainly not a demagogue. But here she is, with enough votes to secure two, three or four seats in the Senate for her and a few of the odd white men who have sworn fealty to her brand.

It's unclear to me what the difference is between our calling Hanson a racist and her habit of branding other people who she has not met with pejorative labels. What Hanson does - in particular, what she says - is frequently reprehensible. She can appropriately be criticised and called to account for the offence and hurt she causes by her repetitive and irrational attacks on everyone and everything she perceives from her extremely limited frame of understanding to be not representative of the "real Australians", her nostalgically imagined tribe.

But to point out that Hanson is peddling racist views and seeding disharmony in the community is quite different from labelling her a racist. With the exception of the furthest fringe of racial supremacist groups, nobody ever said "yes, you're right, I'm a racist". Hanson is entirely sure that she is not racist, with the same rationale (just less well expressed) as Andrew Bolt has for his equally genuine belief that he is not racist.

External Link: Pauline Hanson on Facebook

 

 

 

Hanson and many others in Australian public life say things that, from the perspective of marginalised groups such as Indigenous Australians, Muslims or Asians, are hurtful and bigoted. Hanson's response to this calling out is two-fold: she claims innocence of bigotry, because she is only speaking her authentic truth; and she condemns the criticism that she sees as an attempt to silence her.

Look at it from Hanson's perspective: she believes, for example, that Sydney has been "swamped by Asians" as she warned us back in 1996. Her evidence for this is undeniable; obviously, she won't be going anywhere near Hurstville herself (because it's been swamped by Asians), but there really are a lot of people in the streets of Hurstville of Asian appearance.

Now, I may see this as a good thing, since I really like Asian food and culture and I really like human beings generally regardless of how they look. For Hanson, however, this is not a good thing. She's fearful of "Asians", and now they've taken over Hurstville.

She believes that her suburb is next. When you add to this her more recently discovered conviction that Islam is a worldwide conspiracy of conquest and subjugation, it's not hard to feel the urgency of her fear.

Does being scared of specific other people, not because of anything they've done or threatened to do but because of a label you've applied to them along with the ingredients you believe that label contains, make you a racist or a bigot? Or does it just make you a sad, self-alienated outlier in our multicultural society?

This isn't just a question of semantics. Calling Hanson racist guarantees one outcome only: that she will be reinforced ever further in her beliefs. Given that she already sees the world as a place of unending threat, and believes that the whole establishment is ranged against her, how do we expect her to react when we tell her she's a racist idiot and an embarrassment to her country? With gratitude? With remorse?

Hanson has spent the past 18 years trying to get back into Parliament. There's no good reason to suppose that she's been doing it just for the electoral funding. The more logical conclusion is that she believes her voice is needed, because she has something urgent and meaningful to say. Each time she speaks, that conviction is far more apparent than any suspected ulterior motivation. She is absolutely making trouble, but she really doesn't seem to see herself as a trouble maker. The predictable reaction she provokes, of outrage and condemnation, is in her mind obviously misguided and further evidence that she's right.

Hanson is in fact that rare thing: a conviction politician. Shameless populist, yes; skilful manipulator of the media and gullible voters, yes. But there are two types of populists: the cynical opportunists of the Trump or Palmer variety; and the true believers. This class of politician reeks of authenticity - Jacqui Lambie is an exemplar. She genuinely believes what she says when she says it, even the stuff that makes literally no sense whatsoever and even if she won't believe it later. Hanson is the same.

I've read that Hanson is actually quite a nice person if you meet her. I have no idea whether that's true. I also don't know whether she's as stupid as she sometimes comes across. I do know that I abhor most of what she says. I also think she has the right to say it, provided it falls short of inciting hatred or violence towards others. And, like it or not, we have to respect the fact that a substantial number of Australians feel sufficiently angry, alienated and/or disgusted to want to have her speaking for them on the national stage.

So, what do we do with a problem child like Pauline? I'm not saying we should empathise with her. Empathy requires comprehension of another's inner mind; I don't recommend digging too deeply into the Hanson brain. Nor should we back off from holding her to public account for the harm she does. We can however achieve that purpose without lapsing into the same behaviours of which we accuse her: name calling and provocation.

Distasteful as the prospect is for the other members of Parliament, they are obliged by their duty to us to engage sensibly with Hanson. They don't seem to find it too hard to do that with George Christensen or Cory Bernardi, and I really struggle to see what makes those gentlemen more worthy of anyone's respect than Hanson.

As for the media: continue to treat Hanson as a circus freak if you wish, for our mock horror and cheap titillation (ooh you'll never guess what awful thing she said today!), but you are doing no service to anyone. She will not be ignored; she is, for now, significant. When her words are hateful and harmful, call them so. Point out her hypocrisies. Explain why she is wrong.

Bigotry isn't funny; Pauline Hanson isn't a joke.

 

 

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-07/bradley-why-simply-calling-hanson-racist-doesn't-help/7575596


Jeremy Corbyn on the EU  " A European bureaucracy totally unaccountable to anybody"

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No one would deny she hasn't a right to speak out. Indeed there has been too much pulling on the same oar and an unwillingness to tackle the issues facing this country. Is Hanson that person though? She certainly wasn't the first time around and was made a bit of a joke with her ignorance. All that happened was the ' Liberal' Party took on a number of her policies and blunted any chance of achieving any populist uprising and got far too bogged down in racial politics and some ugly, self serving bod's in the background.

 

If her manta is going to be purely attacks on Asians and Muslims, she has the capacity to create great division within Australia, possibly along the lines of Britain exiting the EU. It will not necessary always be her doing, but once again, some very dangerous people in the background, with very definite far right agendas at play.

 

If this results in attacks on those looking different, it would indeed be a very sad day for Australia. I have no doubt some ugly sentiments could well be released, with her party bringing an air of respectability to over the top actions, even if not personally condoning it.

 

The complete and utter disregard for many people by government in Australia, was always on the cards to unleash a violent counter attack. Hopefully words don't become actions and fear prevails but we are living in a very different Australia from 1998. Far more unfair. Unaffordable. Mass migration impacting on jobs. The housing market out of reach of many. Many coming on temporally visa's, foreign students completing studies and being allowed to remain, not forgetting a boom time economy in decline as well as poor government with few answers.

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One quote to describe Hanson .. when asked about being xenophobic she could only come up with... "Please Explain .... "

 

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

 

https://youtu.be/dVl9XsK8aqk

Edited by gee13

"Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." :biggrin:

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It was an extremely uncommon word at that time (1996).

Most people would have struggled to know what it means.

 

I'd wager you would have never heard it back then either.

 

Basically it was a smart-arsed question designed to catch her out.

Edited by parleycross

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Well being rather well travelled and educated in the realm of Multicuturalism and Australian sociology Yes Xenophobia was a much discussed concept at the time. Most Australians new what it meant. She didnt and reacted confusingly and finished with a contradictory answer. Does that sound familiar to you Parley?

Edited by gee13

"Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." :biggrin:

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Well being rather well travelled and educated in the realm of Multicuturalism and Australian sociology Yes Xenophobia was a much discussed concept at the time. Most Australians new what it meant. She didnt and reacted confusingly and finished with a contradictory answer. Does that sound familiar to you Parley?

 

You are obviously well travelled than most, or more likely your travels don't take you amongst the working class. I have more faith in (comprehension limitations) in the average joe blow that Hanson attracts than I ever would in the "well travelled", be it in Oz or anywhere else in the world............the average joe would know full well what "Racist" meant but I doubt that they could even define "bigot" let alone "xenophobe"

Edited by Johndoe

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You are obviously well travelled than most, or more likely your travels don't take you amongst the working class. I have more faith in (comprehension limitations) in the average joe blow that Hanson attracts than I ever would in the "well travelled", be it in Oz or anywhere else in the world............the average joe would know full well what "Racist" meant but I doubt that they could even define "bigot" let alone "xenophobe"

 

Well unbeknowned to most I married a working class lass and am well aware of the climate that racist rhetoric panders too. Just because one is working class doesnt mean they subscribe to the mindset of the lower denominator. I spent a lot of my married life in the wheatbelt and have come across country folk who despise the propaganda tactics of Hanson. They are the real True Blue aussie battlers like my father in law, a now retired plumber who is smart enough to see through the smokescreens of most 'Insert Here' First or Insert Number Here' Nation parties. His father fought against the Nazis in the air force and is not afraid to make comparisons to what was happening then to now . Segregate a group or groups and try to turn the minds of a nation against these groups through lies. Didnt work then. Wont work now... There ya go Kev...

Edited by gee13

"Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." :biggrin:

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Many would probably struggle to know the difference between sexism and misogyny.

 

Anti Zionist and anti Semitic ?

 

When Keating used the word recalcitrant, most of us had to look it up.

 

[h=1][/h]


Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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And some people may struggle to understand the majority of the current Islamic society in Australia is from the Middle East, not Asia.


"Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." :biggrin:

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Considering that the Bali Bombing, the Lindt Cafe Siege, and the murder of the NSW police worker in Parramatta all failed to stir up hatred against Muslims in Australia, why should Pauline Hanson's words have any greater effect? Why is it wrong to have any kind of discussion about immigration and multi-culturalism in Australia? Perhaps if the mainstream political parties were prepared to allow debate then people would not turn to Pauline Hanson.

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I was working (indirectly) at the time for Keating. There was some in house debate about whether he had really understood what "recalcitrant" meant. While very smart, he had left school at 15. Mahathir, the target of the comments and a medical doctor, certainly did understand and reacted accordingly. Not the best choice of words. But then Mathahir had had it in for us since 1969...As Bill Hayden once said, in politics "words are bullets".

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Well being rather well travelled and educated in the realm of Multicuturalism and Australian sociology Yes Xenophobia was a much discussed concept at the time. Most Australians new what it meant. She didnt and reacted confusingly and finished with a contradictory answer. Does that sound familiar to you Parley?

 

I was certainly well aware of what the word meant back then. I think Hanson would have struggled with it though, she struggles to grasp reality let alone long words lol


Loving life in Gods Country. Woohoo, look at me. 

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Pauline Hanson appeals to many Queenslanders because they see her as standing up for ordinary people and against the government and opposition. Most of us don't like the current government or the opposition and so she gains traction simply because she is 'ordinary'. Similarly with Jacqui Lambie- big mouth but at least she doesn't kowtow to the government. Her comments about Asians are just dumb but a lot of people with insecure jobs look for someone to blame and they happen to be convenient and she feeds their fears.

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Considering that the Bali Bombing, the Lindt Cafe Siege, and the murder of the NSW police worker in Parramatta all failed to stir up hatred against Muslims in Australia, why should Pauline Hanson's words have any greater effect?

 

Because..........................."she'll be right mate"...................and I don't mean Hanson's words.but.tbh...........and I love Oz, but.............it might be my age, it might be my intelligence or lack of, it might be that I have subliminal memories of a very pro-active political time in my life, and it may well be that I don't travel in many Aussie circles, but it has never ceased to amaze me just how little the average "bruce" cares for, or even knows, what goes on outside his "paddock"


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So true JD. A couple of people have asked me what Brexit is. Seriously. In the last few days,too! These were pretty smart people who used to run their own businesses.

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The rise and rise of populist politicians is not just happening in Australia, it's happening across the world, they trade on people's dissatisfaction and fears and above all else on ignorance, they present simplistic solutions to complex problems.

I feel that we are living through the start of a reaction against the concentration of power and wealth into an ever smaller sector of society, this has been postulated as an inevitable consequence by a number of academics who have been ignored by the elites, in much the same way as the dispossessed have shunned experts, and we are now going to start to see societies with extreme inequalities suffering the rise of self defeating populism powered by that sense of being ignored.

All are aware of where this can lead, from the French revolution, the Russian revolution, Nazism, Pol Pot, Maoism, all have led to demagoguery, exploitation of the masses and upheaval going nowhere and yet our so called democracies continue on representing unelected elites as if none of this rising fury is happening.

Edited by BacktoDemocracy

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Considering that the Bali Bombing, the Lindt Cafe Siege, and the murder of the NSW police worker in Parramatta all failed to stir up hatred against Muslims in Australia, why should Pauline Hanson's words have any greater effect? Why is it wrong to have any kind of discussion about immigration and multi-culturalism in Australia? Perhaps if the mainstream political parties were prepared to allow debate then people would not turn to Pauline Hanson.

 

Failed to stir up hatred, are you serious ? Do you honestly believe that ?


Loving life in Gods Country. Woohoo, look at me. 

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Failed to stir up hatred, are you serious ? Do you honestly believe that ?

 

Rather than doing this with your one liners, why don't you provide some evidence to prove him wrong if you can.


I want it all, and I want it now.

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Failed to stir up hatred, are you serious ? Do you honestly believe that ?

 

Not amongst people I know, especially the Lindt Cafe thing. He was just a total nutter. Mind you he shouldn't have been walking the streets. Did we ever find out whether or not he was involved in the murder of his ex-wife?


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away :smile:

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Not amongst people I know, especially the Lindt Cafe thing. He was just a total nutter. Mind you he shouldn't have been walking the streets. Did we ever find out whether or not he was involved in the murder of his ex-wife?

 

To be honest I wouldn't expect amongst people you know anymore than I would expect it myself. What do you think is behind the rise in Far Right groups such as Reclaim Australia and the renewed rise in popularity of people like Hanson ? I went through a stage of almost daily blocking people on Facebook because of the crap they were posting. The belief that Muslim hatred hasn't increased in recent times in fanciful. I wouldn't expect it to increase amongst educated right minded people of course.


Loving life in Gods Country. Woohoo, look at me. 

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To be honest I wouldn't expect amongst people you know anymore than I would expect it myself. What do you think is behind the rise in Far Right groups such as Reclaim Australia and the renewed rise in popularity of people like Hanson ? I went through a stage of almost daily blocking people on Facebook because of the crap they were posting. The belief that Muslim hatred hasn't increased in recent times in fanciful. I wouldn't expect it to increase amongst educated right minded people of course.

 

ISIS has a lot to answer for. Seems a lot of people think all Muslims are part of ISIS. I do think though that Grand Muftis could do a lot more to educate young Muslims against any form of terrorism when they are preaching in mosques though.

Edited by JockinTas

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away :smile:

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ISIS has a lot to answer for. Seems a lot of people think all Muslims are part of ISIS. I do think though that Grand Muftis could do a lot more to educate young Muslims against any from of terrorism when they are preaching in mosques though.

 

Yes I agree on all points.


Loving life in Gods Country. Woohoo, look at me. 

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It was an extremely uncommon word at that time (1996).

Most people would have struggled to know what it means.

 

I'd wager you would have never heard it back then either.

 

Basically it was a smart-arsed question designed to catch her out.

 

Anyone with the slightest interest in politics at the very least should have been expected to know it. Hardly unknown even back then. Nothing smart arsed asking if someone was one, I'd have thought. But I see I put too much expectation on other's holding a rather basic knowledge.

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ISIS has a lot to answer for. Seems a lot of people think all Muslims are part of ISIS. I do think though that Grand Muftis could do a lot more to educate young Muslims against any form of terrorism when they are preaching in mosques though.

 

Aspects of the media have a lot to answer for in high lighting negatives about Muslims at every chance. The marches for peace, the social activity and the protests against ISIS are too infrequently mentioned. It seems the west needs an enemy to focus on. Of course in the past it was Reds Under the Bed, type tactics and persecution of those with so deemed ' dangerous thoughts and politics'.

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I was working (indirectly) at the time for Keating. There was some in house debate about whether he had really understood what "recalcitrant" meant. While very smart, he had left school at 15. Mahathir, the target of the comments and a medical doctor, certainly did understand and reacted accordingly. Not the best choice of words. But then Mathahir had had it in for us since 1969...As Bill Hayden once said, in politics "words are bullets".

 

I was living in Malaysia when Mathahir came into power. Only PM anywhere at the time to have a book banned (The Malay Delima) First policy I recall was Buy British Last , a man that took offense quickly and used draconian powers to subdue unrest.

 

These days on the other side opposing the present pretty horrible government in place and in danger of putting himself outside of the ' law'.

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