Misunderstood banter?

This is about remarks on an Australian TV show but I am not quite sure what the problem is. The remarks were clearly a joke:
"Dancing With The Stars" presenter Sonia Kruger is in hot water after making derogatory comments about a "sweat shop of illegal immigrants" slaving away on her wardrobe for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Kruger, 43, made the comments during the celebrity reality show last Sunday after co-host Daniel MacPherson asked about the bevy of outfits the star would require for her four day stint covering the racing carnival for Channel 7.

"Lets just say there is a sweat shop full of illegal immigrants working on them right now," Kruger said before referring to the show's Malaysian born musical director Chong Lim. "How is the family Chong? Alright?"

Disgusted fans of the show have lashed out at the personality on internet message boards, branding Kruger's comments as outrageous, racist and inappropriate....

Kruger offered no apology and said she had no regrets about the remarks. "I certainly didn't say anything with any intention for it to be racist," Kruger said.

"Chong and I are in a friendship that we poke fun at each other all the time. In all honesty political correctness does get up my nose ... I poke just as much fun at myself. I would never ever, ever want to seriously offend anyone."


As far as I can work out, it was thought derogatory to the Chinese to mention that some of them work in "sweatshops". But they do. Almost all clothing seems to be made in China these days. And the Chinese workers are poorly paid for it by our standards. But they are very glad to have the jobs, nonetheless.

And it is also true that Asian women living in Australia (mostly Vietnamese) do supplement the family income by making up garments for designers on their sewing machines at home. And they too tend to be poorly paid for it, but again they think it is better than earning nothing.

I think one problem here is with people who cannot handle reality. Another problem may be that some people do not understand banter. The remarks above were clearly banter. Banter in the sense that I am using it is mocking or derogatory statements made to and about another person that are not expected to be taken seriously by that person.

For instance, I have a couple of old friends whom I abuse roundly almost every time I communicate with them. And they do the same back. And what we say would just about get us shot if uttered on TV. Yet they are friendships of very long standing which we all enjoy. Saying abusive things to friends is in fact a statement of confidence in the goodwill of the other person and it strengthens friendships rather than weakens them. But I suppose there are some sad souls who have never taken part in that sort of thing.

Undoubtedly, however, it was risky for the lady to use banter on TV

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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