Alan Howe

Posted: October 15, 2009 in Media Watch, Racism
Tags: ,

I was reading Monday’s Herald Sun and happened upon the opinion page where Alan Howe explained how the Jackson Jive skit that appeared on the Hey Hey It’s Saturday Reunion Show was not at all racist. I guess now that Alan Howe has deemed that the skit was not racist we can now assume that the case is closed, except for the fact that he seems to be the last person who I would trust when discussing racial issues. Anyone who has read anything that this ‘hack’ has written over the last few months should realise that his columns are deliberately provocative and are full of patronising, poorly researched and constructed opinion that seems to simply be there to antagonize people. I suppose that this sort of thing will become more common in newspapers and other tradition news sources now that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant due to the internet.

 Howe is a former editor of the Sunday Herald Sun, a paper that became totally unreadable during his tenure there. He is apparently a music journalist who also appeared frequently on 3AW’s Saturday night program presenting some of the 20th century’s most MOR music ever written. He is currently the “Executive Editor” of The Herald Sun whose columns seem to always be about the issue of race, even though neither he nor us are racist!

 In his latest nonsensical column about the Hey Hey skit he posited that something can only be racist if it was intended to be racist, that Harry Connick Jr should not have complained because he is a terrible crooner who has on occasion sung the songs of Irving Berlin who once wrote some ‘coon songs’, and that America’s racist past is much greater than ours, so we are therefore not racist. Also the fact that 64% of Aborigines now marry non-Aborigines proves that we are somehow less racist than Americans because only 9% of black Americans marry non-blacks. Huh! Does this mean that if you marry someone with the same skin colour as your own then you are racist?!

 If anyone wants to read Howe’s column then they can just click here.

This is not the first time I have blogged about Howe. In June I posted a bit about his Islamaphobic rant where he defended Australia as not being racist by making one of the most racist comments that I have ever read in an Australian newspaper.

“There is no shame in most of us sharing Western Christian values. And if you are feeling morally, educationally and culturally superior to such people this morning, it’s probably because you are.”

Just a month ago Howe was at it again when he stated that “WHITE colonial rule gets bad press, but it is the best thing that happened to many countries”. He then went on to say that Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea and the Turks and Caicos islands are economic basket cases run either by a cruel dictator like Mugabe, or corrupt governments. He neglected to mention any of the countries that now have democratically elected governments that were not better off under white colonial rule. South Africa springs immediately to mind because even though they are experiencing all sorts of problems with their fledgling democracy, at least the apartheid policy and racial segregation has ended. Similarly there is the case of Belgian rule in late 19th Century Congo where the native people were subjected to the most extreme forms of racism, torture and genocide by their colonial masters.

I also notice that the link that I made in my June post to Howe’s column is no longer any good. So I think I will reprint his more recent comments here for prosperity, since the Herald Sun may take them off line in a month or two.

“We must let them blunder
• Alan Howe
• September 14, 2009
WHITE colonial rule gets bad press, but it is the best thing that happened to many countries
Colonialists stepped between the warring tribes of Africa and built nations, developed mining and agriculture, forged education and transport systems, introduced organised sports, and created wealth and employment where there had been almost none.
These days the colonialists have been sent packing, but their aid money is all that keeps many countries whose natural wealth is often the envy of other continents from complete chaos.
Zimbabwe springs to mind. It has some of the world’s largest deposits of platinum, but it also has iron, steel, copper, nickel and lithium, which is sought after for batteries.
It will mark, but perhaps not celebrate, the 30th anniversary of independence next year.
Self-rule has been a disaster for what was not so long ago one of the richest countries in Africa. Its gross domestic product has plummeted to $188 a year for each Zimbabwean.
That’s not a long-term problem for the local women; they’re dead by 34.
Zimbabweans were better off when they were ruled from London and later by the white settlers.
The United Nations bullied the country into independence and quite rightly. Every people want and deserve to rule themselves, no matter how bad they are at it.
Proving laughably inadequate at running itself has been a tin-pot bunch of Caribbean islands known at the Turks and Caicos where not much has happened since its pirates left their ships years ago and started up banks.
You’ve seen some of the locals. Small bands of them turn up to the Commonwealth Games. They didn’t win a medal in Melbourne in 2006. That’s OK, they’ve never won a medal.
The islands sell some lobsters to the US, mint a few commemorative coins and put out collectible stamps proudly marking their Commonwealth Games participation.
Michael Misick was Premier to the islands’ 36,000 people until recently but, amid claims of rampant corruption and allegations Misick and his former wife led lives of breathtaking luxury, Britain last month resumed control of this little outpost.
Misick’s extravagance included a chauffeured gold Cadillac, a Hollywood actress wife with her own line of lingerie, private jets and, according to his departing missus, a campaigning strategy that included handing out $100 bills.
Its tax-haven status, offshore income and tourism means the islands haven’t descended into the tortured depths of Zimbabwe, but Misick’s style had that African feel to it that had London in a panic, so in an act of 19th century-like colonial arrogance it grabbed back the tiller.
It shouldn’t have, notwithstanding that it will certainly run the place more honestly, efficiently and peacefully.
Only accidents of history tie London to Grand Turk, whose national anthem may be God Save the Queen, but whose population includes less than 1 per cent of European ancestry.
The Turks and Caicos Islanders have the right to stuff up their future and it should not be for colonials to show them how.
I have said before that a second coalition of the willing should be assembled to bowl over the forces that sustain Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, but that’s because he is a barking mad, genocidal, racist mass-murderer.
Mugabe’s fate should then be put in the hands of “his” grateful people and we should withdraw, making sure only that we do not leave a political vacuum in which another Mugabe might flourish.
Australia showed the world how to successfully withdraw as a colonial power when we gently nudged Papua New Guinea to independence throughout the early 1970s.
Since then, PNG has sunk into corrupt and violent despair. It is estimated that a third of the country’s government spending is pocketed by corrupt officials, women are routinely abused and half of them have been raped.
Its infant mortality rates are the worst in the Pacific region, increasing numbers of women bleed to death after giving birth with no medical assistance, people are kidnapped for ransom, and gun violence is out of control.
By 2025, about 500,000 Papua New Guineans are expected to have AIDS, taking up most of the country’s hospital beds.
The Australian Government’s travel advisory last week summed up the problems: “Crime is random and particularly prevalent in urban areas such as Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen. Settlement areas of towns and cities are particularly dangerous . . . there is a significant risk of robbery and carjacking in the area near Parliament House.” It also warns of recent outbreaks of cholera and dysentery.
PNG’s problems run deep, but are partly rooted in a social system known as wantok, where your family and friends’ loyalty and responsibility to each other takes precedence over everything.
As a result cronies, clan loyalists we’d call them mates too often have government positions that should be held by experts.
Australia has invested upwards of $12 billion in aid in PNG since independence and we don’t have much to show for it.
Despite all the trauma and failure, it is up to the people of PNG to right the wrongs.
We can help with better focused aid and, despite the collapsed health system and outbreaks of deadly disease, this should start by funding secondary schools at which PNG’s best can be educated.
Only an educated elite that understands the country’s problems and the degree to which its Westminster system of government wobbles uncomfortably on the country’s embedded social patterns, is likely make a difference.
We did an excellent job running PNG but its fate is in their hands now.
And it’s time the British started rubbing out those pink bits on the world’s maps, no matter how small they are.”

And for some of Howe’s more recent racism…

“A few stones from US sinners
• Alan Howe
• October 11, 2009
RACISM usually refers to structured methods of repression or organised supremacy, not a bunch of half-wits trying to amuse Red Symons.
That nonsense about the blackfaced Jackson Jive act on Hey Hey It’s Saturday was first stirred up by an overly sensitive Harry Connick Jr, then jumped on by some of his countrymen.
Connick is a cheesy, half-talented copycat singer employing cliched Sinatra stylings while recycling jazz standards that have been sung better everywhere. You don’t want to hear what he does to a decent pop song.
Connick knows that America’s battle with racism goes on. And on.
Theirs is the land that gave the world “Coon songs” performed, of course, by whites — and not a few blacks — to cheering audiences, mostly in the late 19th century. They had titles like New Coon In Town, The Coons Are On Parade, and If The Man In The Moon Were A Coon.
They were racist attempts at “humour” characterising black Americans as wanton and violent drunks and buffoons.
Legendary songwriter Irving Berlin dabbled with the genre, but Connick is happy to sing the odd Berlin song. That’s how Connick makes money, singing songs, so why should he be too fussy about who wrote them?
I helped found the Immigration Museum on Flinders St and it stands as a celebration of the most successful mass migration of modern times.
Here are a few statistics that help explain which country has best dealt with its racist past: in the decade to 1996, the number of Australia’s Aboriginals marrying outside their race rose from 46 per cent to 64 per cent. Today it’s higher still.
The number of American blacks doing the same is less than 9 per cent.
I’m glad Connick took the time to discuss race relations in America; it is an all-too-often an unuttered, but powerful subtext to almost every debate in his country.
Australia has been guilty of deep prejudice against Aboriginals, and some others, but we’ve said sorry and we’re dealing with it.
Connick and his stateside blog buddies need to do the same. They are decades overdue.”

  1. Alan Howe’s columns are terribly chauvinist. He’s a racist, but he blurs his image by making himself out to be a Western cultural-supremicist.

    He will attack anything that is not Western and English: Japanese, French, Germans, Austrians, Africans. He is worst when he discusses Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs; he hates them, and he’s openly said how much he hates them and wants them to die; he’ll apologise for every Israeli crime no matter how obvious;

    So ofew people have actually been standing up and calling Howe for what he is.

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