From The Hutch
As one of the few white men who has broken the glass ceiling and attained a middle management position, I feel it is time to stand up and be counted on the matter of bigotry and intolerance.
It is not OK to refer to pale males as ‘stale’. Sure some pale males have been standing in the sun longer than others, but that doesn’t make them stale. It’s just a bit hard on the sciatica.
This particular insult was used against our very own Todd Muller the other day, in reference to him having a crack at the leadership of his political party.
One of his own colleagues – speaking to the media while hiding in the shadows of anonymity - basically believes that Todd’s skin colour should count him out of the popularity race. And presumably being of middle age is a black mark for a white man too.
The thing is that this sort of bigotry is so ingrained in society and so accepted that it was not necessarily someone with sensible knickers making this statement. It could equally have been another pale male dumping prejudice on his brother. Shame on you.
This particular insult is specifically aimed at anyone who is pale and male obviously and the stale bit must be a reference to age because this comment is never directed at young men.
My question is; How old do you have to be before you become stale? Todd is 51 so hopefully still has a few good years left.
And how pale do you need to be? I know I fit this criteria because I went to Mount Maunganui College in the 80’s and a fair chunk of the school roll were either uri Maori, or well-tanned surfers.
My nick-name was Casper.
But mark my words, one day pale males will rise to the top. They will run the banks and chair the boards and the world will be a friendly, inclusive place where skin colour doesn’t matter and women don’t boss us around.
Now, am I the only one who thinks this whole Simon versus Todd thing is a bit uncomfortable?
It’s going to be kind of weird going to all the usual pale male events around here when this is all over. I mean can you be friends with both of them or do you have to pick a side?
I know Simon is not pale but he does go to a lot of the same events and I’ve always thought him and Todd were good together - a team. I just hate it when they fight like that.
I will change tack here – frankly I’m running out of acceptable skin colour references – so I’m going to relate everything back to a nautical theme – this is something that crosses all racial and gender boundaries. It’s very inclusive.
As you may be aware, the election is coming up in a few months.
Until now Kiwis have largely been content with our boring brand of bland politics where two main parties squabble over the middle ground.
Most far reaching ideas are shut down by the kind but conservative masses. Even our fringe parties are serious and bookish or just old fashioned and grumpy.
Don’t rock the boat please! We’re drinking our tea.
However, the boat has keeled over – bowled by a freak wave and blown off course by a storm. The sail is torn, the mast is broken and the crockery is cracked and sloshing about in the cabin. But at least we are alive and are the right way up, which is more than can be said for some of the other poor souls on the ocean.
Many passengers stayed in the cabins, numbed by rum and boredom; queasy, restless and nervous.
But now we stand on the deck, bleary-eyed with an eerie calm sea and wondering which way to go.
The skipper is beaming and full of encouraging words. The first mate has dried out the charts and assessed the damage. ‘We will need to plunder our cargo to patch up the damage, but we have enough, I believe’.
But this is uncharted waters and we can’t just go sailing off over the horizon. Who knows where we will wash ashore.
What we need is someone who can fix things and someone who knows how to read the stars. We need specialist skills and good ideas.
‘It’s no longer about riding the storm. It’s about sniffing the breeze,’ says a restless passenger.
And in a few months’ time we will pick a crew to get us home.
Basically, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how old you are. If you can read the stars we want you.