Anti-Whaling Groups Display “Open Prejudice” Towards Japanese

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    The Australian has printed an excellent opinion piece by Brendan O’Neill (“Shades of open prejudice in war on whalers“). He argues that prejudice and racism are behind the views of some anti-whalers:

    The attempt to transform Sea Shepherd’s cynical seafaring shenanigans, this overblown act of adrenalin-pumping adventure tourism, into a clash between the Australian and Japanese authorities shows what lies behind concern for whales today: a desire to exert the moral authority of what are presumed to be Good People (in this case Australia) over Bad People (Japanese).

    One of the key driving forces behind much international animal rights activism is not so much love for animals as disgust and disdain for wicked human beings especially human beings with dark or “yellow” skin.

    So Australia’s anti-whalers have successfully rehabilitated what many of us considered to be long-dead prejudices against the Japanese.

    Echoing World War II propaganda that tended to depict the Japanese as uniquely wicked – far more weirdly sadistic than the Germans, say – the Sea Shepherd website informs us that the whaling carried out in the Southern Ocean is “cruel and barbaric, a gross sadistic perversion”.

    A columnist for The Courier-Mail once lamented the “uncivilised barbarity” of that whaling nation of Japan, in contrast to Australia, which is “a civilised nation of pet-lovers”.

    Here, the issue of whaling is openly used to advertise the decency of white folk who own puppies over yellow people who scoff whale meat.

    Sea Shepherd has also referred to Japanese whalers as “viciously cruel” and as “terrorists”. On one eco-website, a contributor to an online debate about Japanese whaling said explicitly what other people generally only hint at – that the Japanese kill whales because they are “f . . king evil bloodthirsty amoral wankers”.

    Sometimes, there’s a very thin line between international animal rights activism and xenophobia. Often, expressing concern for God’s creatures is a cover for communicating disgust with ungodly human beings.

    Over the last few days, I had a chance to experience the prejudice of some of Sea Shepherd’s most fanatical supporters. Several SS members stumbled upon last week’s post about the Australian government having to spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to pick up activists who illegally boarded a Japanese ship as part of a SS-directed operation. They noticed a poll asking JapanProbe readers whether the activists should reimburse the Australian government for the expense of the rescue, so they used tweets to send hundreds of supporters to spam the poll with pro-SS votes.

    I altered the poll to void their spam votes. I don’t know what they expected to achieve by changing the results of an unscientific poll on a blog post that was already off the front page of this blog. After the poll was voided, I figured it might make them go away and could reduce the number of racist comments that were flooding the post. Judging from some of the death threats I received, it seems that quite a few of them thought that I was a Japanese government official or part of the “yakuza-controlled” Japanese media. Many of them seem to think that people in Japan get their news from English language blogs that occasionally translate Japanese media reports. So, by altering the results of a poll that had been skewed by Sea Shepherd spamming, I was hiding the “truth” from the Japanese people.

    Below are a few excerpts from e-mails and comments I received this week. Several clearly reflect the kind of prejudice that O’Neill mentioned in his article.

    From Maria, a “Proud Resident of Fair Australia” who assumed that I was a Japanese person who worked for the “jap government” and was announcing her intent to report my blog to the Australian government:

    I understand what type of a lying and hateful breed of people the Japanese people are….

    […]

    ….It will be a very happy day when Japan is brought to its knees for their crimes and the world will be rejoicing because finally Japan has shamed themselves for the last time. I hope one day that all Japanese people are banned from entering my wonderful, caring and honest country. I dont want my children to grow up with your terrible children.

    A line from an e-mail from Sonya McNerk:

    You lot are such idiots….I have yet to meet and honest and honourable Japanese person.

    And a comment from Celeste:

    …if you have family like i do and you care about their future please donate to Sea Shepherd so they can fund these very important campaigns and hopefully save the planet and keep the disgusting japanese race out of our beautiful and caring country.

    A comment from Martinguest, who thinks that “under evolved” Japanese are killing whales, and that SS should “research” the Japanese (or, in other words, kill the Japanese):

    How can anyone condemn Sea Shepherd? These are people merely carrying out ‘research’ on lowlife that carry out cowardly attacks on whales! Sea Shepherd would gladly accept the handing over of their ‘kidnapped’ crew members so they can continue their ‘research’! There is obviously a number of under evolved humans that think chasing families then hacking to death (a long agonising death) the adults of the family is acceptable behaviour. However this is not the view of civilised people so, unfortunately Sea Shepherd will have to continue its’ highly valuable ‘research’!

    There are, of course, plenty of non-prejudiced people who oppose whaling. However, a great many of Sea Shepherd’s most loyal supporters seem to carry outrageously ugly prejudices against the Japanese.

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