Hey you, eater of raw flesh, bite this.

April 22, 2009

eskimosI promised Viking Woman I wouldn’t do this. I promised her I would stop ranting on this blog and, instead, have a bit of fun rambling on about writing and life and relationships and fruit I have loved.

But then someone comes along and makes such a complete fool of themselves that I can’t let it go. I have to call them out. I have to say, “Hey, dickcheese, you’re not getting away with that shit. Not without me pointing at you and calling you an idiot.”

And so here goes: Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons, you’re an idiot.

You can see why here (sorry, you’ll have to cut and paste):

http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/Eskimo-lollies-slammed-as-racist-by-Canadian-tourist/tabid/309/articleID/100589/cat/64/Default.aspx

Veevee Parsons, like Viking Woman and myself, is Canadian. Unlike us, she is simply visiting the country at the moment. Unlike us white folk, she is Inuit. Which means, because she is a minority, she has the right to complain about pretty much everything.

Her latest whine, as per the above link, is about candies and ice cream. Yes, in a time of economic meltdown, when the bandits who run Wall Street and the banks have driven the world to the brink of financial collapse, Ms. Parsons has been kind enough to point out that sugary treats are the root of all evil.

As opposed to, I’m guessing, the root of all root canals.

This young lady is outraged at the use of the term “Eskimo,” claiming it’s an insult. Personally, after watching the news clip, I’m insulted as well. With her pronunciation of  “out” and “about,” that is.

After years of defending the Canadian accent, after decades of stopping strangers on the street in all corners of this globe and saying, “Honestly, we don’t say ‘oot’ and ‘aboot,’ ” along comes Ms. Parsons to slap my  mother tongue upside the head with a walrus steak. Or is that seal blubber?

Nevermind, she still makes us sound like inbred banjo players. Thanks for that.

I was so embarrassed that a fellow Canadian would actually go on national television and make such a buffoon of herself that I posted a comment on the 3 News website in which I apologized to all of New Zealand on behalf of those Canucks who have not been hit in the head with a hockey stick or a frozen mukluk, or bitten by a rabies-crazed beaver.

I explained that Ms. Veevee Parsons is not typical of my fellow citizens of the Great White North. That the vast majority of us understand it is a special privilege to travel to other countries and partake of their customs and confectionary. I explained that most of us know to say “Thank you for your kind hospitality” as opposed to “That’s not how we do it at home, so I want all of you to change because I’m a little bitch.”

Ms. Veevee Parsons is obviously young and inexperienced in the ways of life. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, she will mature with age. Perhaps, if we’re even luckier, she will be eaten by a polar bear.

In the meantime, she has to realize that, just because she’s a minority, not everything is about her. Sometimes candy is just candy. Deal with it.

In a side note, when I went to Pak’nSave in search of a bag of Eskimos to illustrate this posting, I came across these:

red-skins

We all know what that means, don’t we Pocahontas?

Kiwis — they’re a cheeky bunch of buggers.

And damn proud of it.

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8 Responses to “Hey you, eater of raw flesh, bite this.”

  1. Another Canadian said

    Wow – what a hyper-nerve Ms. Parsons has hit!! I’m amazed at the insecure ranting of so many NZers, and I applaud Ms. Parsons for her courage in the face of this storm of insecurity.

    Yes, Edmonton has a football team named the Eskimos, but any and all cultural references end there. This discussion has already occurred in Canada, but it continues in some circles on other topics, as it should. The Edmonton team has a logo which is simply two capital “E”s. If you did not know that Eskimo was once a derogatory term used to represent a group of people, then it could just as easily be a fabricated name with no meaning whatsoever.

    Yes, there are Eskimo Pies sold in NZ and in Canada, but unlike the lollies, the actual food product is not shaped and marketed as an actual (but misguided) cultural representation of a group of real people.

    If I were Inuk, I too would be offended by these products, especially when so many misunderstandings and misrepresentations already abound. Ms. Parsons could not be honest with herself and true to her heritage if she did not speak out about how these products offend her.

    The real story I see here is the response by so many NZers – that they responded in such a manner around something which they see as a cultural icon, a simple piece of candy. We have seen it here in Canada as well, where the dominant cultural group gets extremely upset about the whole political correctness (PC) debate. What I see with that, is that the dominant group has lost many of the structural advantages they originally put into place (often by force) which allowed them to exert and maintain control and authority over indigenous peoples (and usually for the purposes of robbing them of their land). It is no longer acceptable to do this on the world stage.

    Instead, derogatory remarks and labels, together with often overt discrimination and racism, are the only tactics remaining for those insecure members of dominant groups who need to put down others to make themselves feel better. That is what I see people trying to maintain when they react as they have to this issue. The topic of being “politically correct” is hot-button for those folks, as their not-politically correct language and behaviour is all they have left to prop themselves up as somehow being better than everyone else – which they are not!

    I hope non-Maori NZers have some stronger cultural symbols to embrace than a marshmallow candy (yuk!) that perpetuates an incorrect stereotype of a people they know nothing about.

  2. Mike said

    Hey you racist dickbag, get some fucking perspective. How one comes down on an issue like this is usually a pretty good measure of a person, and you end up a bit short.

    But hey, what do I know? Maybe being a racist dickbag is loads of fun for you.

    • Dogsbody said

      All I see when I read comments like this is a grade 3 comprehension level of the English language.

      The point of the blog was humour. It’s called tongue-in-cheek. It is also rightly pointed out that it is never a good idea to go into another country and start telling people what they should and shouldn’t do.

      Hey Mike, are you related to this young lady? Trying to score Brownie points? That is the only reason I can see for this diatribe that is not only rude but totally uncalled for.

      So what gives?

      • Mike said

        Let us just say that there was a candy called, I dunno, Nigger Bars (“Eskimo,” while not *quite* as offensive, is hardly a preferred term and can still bring up some hurt feelings, as this woman shows).

        Now, I think we can all agree that Nigger Bars would be wrong. Beyond this, I don’t think anyone pointing this out should be dismissed and ridiculed. So how are the Eskimo Lollies any different?

        PS: It’s always a good idea to go into another country and point out their borderline racism. I’m not entirely sure how this is suddenly a debatable issue.

  3. Megan said

    all this talk is making me hungry…….

  4. Brenda said

    I think that Eskimo Lollies and Eskimo Pies are available is the US, and hundred of thousands of Braves and Redskin fans eat them in America and I don`t see the offended lady and her friend Mike taking on the big bad US of A.
    Hey, even in little old Langley, we have our Chiefs and Chief Wan-a-win, are we bad too….
    On a last note, are the names Flames and or Blackhawks offensive, because we hate them these days.

  5. Dogsbody said

    Now that the dust from the great racist lolly debacle has settled and cooler heads have prevailed, allow me to point the finger of blame for this whole scandalous tempest-in-a-igloo: the media.

    A comment by a misguided tourist to New Zealand was blown all out of proportion into an international circus because of the way it was played up by the media on what must have been a very slow news day.

    Yes, Kiwis are noted for their gut reaction to anything that smacks of political correctness being rammed down their throats. But cruel, racist and rude? As an expat Canadian living in New Zealand, that has not been my experience. In fact I’ve found Kiwis to be the most welcoming, kind people I have ever met. I would dare to venture that most Kiwis had no idea the term ‘Eskimo’ was derogatory. Hell, I was born in the same country as Seeka Veevee Parsons and I didn’t know it was an insult.

    ‘Eskimo’ has simply referred to people living in the northern regions of North America. That may very well be lack of knowledge on the general public’s behalf, but it was never meant as racism or cruelty or even a degrading slur.

    I apologise to Ms. Parsons for my initial reaction, which was: “Don’t come into this country and start telling its citizens what to think or do.” But that’s what I thought, plain and simple.

    I felt she was rude, ill-mannered and arrogant. I was also embarrassed by the audacity of her comments, by how she was concerned enough to bother the prime minister of Canada over a candy’s decades-old name when the man surely has bigger problems to worry about.

    As this debate has raged on with insults (and very colourful language) being hurled by both sides, I was intrigued enough to do a bit of digging. And I found that the young lady has a point. She simply stated a fact, that the term ‘Eskimo’ is considered demeaning to her people. Fact. Full stop. Regrettably she didn’t handle it tactfully. We got the impression she was calling us unfeeling racists – in our own backyard.

    Unfortunately, when her comments were picked up and broadcast around the country, they tended to carry a bit of a slant towards culture bashing. And the culture being bashed is the white culture. Caucasians – who happen to make up the majority of the New Zealand population – are once again bearing the brunt of someone’s whinging. But if we happen to mention we might finally be fed up with the nit-picking of every complaining minority, we are instantly tarred as racists.

    So Ms. Parsons set herself up as a target from the beginning. She’s a tourist, a foreigner, a guest who doesn’t understand the white majority is trying to hold on to some of its own culture with one hand – because it is constantly being threatened, eroded and undermined – while swatting away the race card with the other hand. Not fair is it?
    After reading just about everything I could get my hands on about Ms. Parsons’ discourse, I found that most of her own people who commented on this story don’t really mind being called Eskimos and felt the whole thing was ridiculous. It is, they said, just a candy.

    The ones actually making the biggest noise are, in fact, New Zealand’s indigenous people. Maoris are egging her on to be a spokesperson of sorts. It hardly seems fair that Ms. Parsons now bears the brunt of the abuse while others hide behind their laptops and smugly encourage her to take the bullet for them.

    Comments by New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada, Kate Lackey, about Talk Radio being “Rednecky” are absolutely correct. It seemed to me that, as more and more comments were made about Ms. Parsons’ initial remarks, the more her words were twisted and manipulated by the public’s own beliefs and perceptions until it was New Zealand’s very way of life that was suddenly under attack.

    Unfortunately, our good citizens have been fed a heap of codswallop disguised as news. We are all guilty of believing what we hear and see as being the absolute truth when, in fact, it has been filtered to fit broadcasting itineraries.

    Interestingly enough, the lollys or candies which caused the initial furor are not even that tasty – not the finest treat Pascall has ever produced. But talk about hard to find on dairy shelves! Pascall must be doing a brisk business with their Eskimos at the moment. Who would have guessed this brouhaha would be good for sales? Do I smell a conspiracy?

    If Ms. Parsons would have politely written to Pascall and explained her concerns, instead of making a public spectacle of herself, thus dragging Pascall (and the country as a whole) unwillingly into the limelight, the company might have quietly phased out the lolly or changed the name over time. Nobody sets out to intentionally offend a race of people, especially a company that values good public relations. Certainly nobody likes to be embarrassed in front of the world, do they?

    Another Canadian (tomterry@knet.ca) has inserted a blog everywhere this incident is mentioned on the net, in which he/she (hiding behind the computer) officiously states:

    “Instead, derogatory remarks and labels, together with often overt discrimination and racism, are the only tactics remaining for those insecure members of dominant groups who need to put down others to make themselves feel better. …That is what I see people trying to maintain when they react as they have to this issue. The topic of being “politically correct” is hot-button for those folks, as their not-politically correct language and behaviour is all they have left to prop themselves up as somehow being better than everyone else – which they are not!”

    I think this demonstrates this person’s complete ignorance of New Zealanders as a people, while attempting to fan the flames of racism based on one (exaggerated) spark of controversy. This, (to use his/her very own words) “perpetuates an incorrect stereotype of a people” you know nothing about. To which my response is: “Butt out and bugger off. Look after your own backyard before you start poking your nose in other people’s business.”

    I hope the backlash Ms. Parsons has stirred up will teach her to pick her battles and tread more carefully in the future when speaking out in another country. I also hope she, too, is embarrassed by her gaffe. But I applaud her for having the conviction and strength to point out a mistake. In terms of lessons learned, I also trust New Zealanders, myself included, now understand the correct term for Ms. Parsons and her people is Inuit.

    To the media who put Ms. Parsons in such a difficult and culturally sticky position I say, “Shame on you.” This young woman was just making an observation – not attacking our way of life, for crying out loud. Stop sensationalising everything.

    On a lighter note, I would suggest Pascall change the name of the cute little marshmallow people to Canuck Cuties or Hosers Eh!, and then reshape them to resemble adorable ice hockey players or dorky dudes with toques and mittens. We crazy Canadians would love it.

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