Asians with small hands: A study in political correctness

I didn't personally find National MP Lockwood Smith's comments about Asians having small hands offensive. Of course, one would assume that senior politicians would be a bit more guarded with public comments.  Apparently, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the comments were racist and she does not think he could now be immigration minister.

I don't know if we're

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all being oversensitive here, but do other Asians mind that Lockwood Smith mentioned what is widely accepted anyway ie. Asians have smaller hands than Europeans.

But just because this was widely accepted doesn't mean it's right, so I googled “do asians have smaller limbs?” Voila. First on the list: Journal of Applied Physiology study to back up Lockwood Smith's case. For those of you more scientifically inclined, feel free to download the journal article for bedtime reading.

Skeletal muscle mass in prepubertal Asian children has not been examined previously. The aims of this study were to test the hypotheses that 1) prepubertal Asians have less appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM) mass compared with African-Americans and Caucasians, and 2) ASM is less in prepubertal Asian girls compared with Asian boys.

Anyway, my point is I'm struggling to figure out what is inherently wrong with him passing a comment like that in the context of a suggestion on how to solve the labour problems growers have. We have all heard stories of fruit rotting on trees because Kiwis don't want to be fruit pickers.

I'm sure Lockwood Smith would have learnt from his mistakes, and next time he'll say Asians make better surgeons because they have small hands, in which case, no one would complain.

Is anyone else tired of all the PC mumbo jumbo gobbledygook or is it just me?

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About The Author

Kenneth is Director of Euroasia. He is passionate about languages and cultures.