CNN has outdone itself in terms of cultural insensitivity by outrightly mocking an entire culture. Jeanne Moos published a video segment about William and Kate’s visit to New Zealand, in a section titled “The Wacky World of Jeanne Moos.” What’s so wacky? According to her, the culture of the aboriginal people of New Zealand.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on an official trip to New Zealand, which was also their baby son’s first official trip abroad. Upon landing, the locals gave them a traditional welcome, which includes traditional clothing, chanting, and a dance. Prince William even had to meet a challenge by picking up a dart while maintaining eye contact to prove he was a friendly visitor. They put on this welcome ceremony despite bad weather; and, William and Kate both seem to have enjoyed it.
Rather than focus on the recent controversies in New Zealand as the The Independent did, or the “cuteness” of the baby as Fox News did, CNN‘s reporter decided to take this moment to mock the Maori culture. She starts out by questioning whether the Maori attire was appropriate to “welcome a future king and queen,” implying that the traditional welcome was a bad idea. She then goes on to mock the culture in the context of Laura Bush’s visit to New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan, calling the welcoming ceremony, “a cross between a Chip and Dale’s lap dance and the mating dance of the emu.”
She also points out that we tend to love it “when leaders go native.” Wow. “Native?” Really? Her video is a blatant display of arrogance, ethnocentrism, western exceptionalism, and a disregard for cultural diversity. We would expect more respect towards a group of people who were just practicing their cultural traditions.
Continuing to support a network that allows for this type of content would be apathetic at best and immoral at worst. We urge you to leave a comment on their Facebook post expressing your concern and to sign this petition that calls for an apology from Jeanne Moos.
[Image Credit: EPA/Mark Coote via The Independent]