‘Daily Telegraph’ Columnist Slammed After Grossly Targeting Former Race Commissioner

"Well now I'm *totally* convinced people from China wouldn't be treated any differently to white people."

Former Race Discrimination Commission

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A Daily Telegraph columnist has spectacularly failed to clear the low bar expected of him, by being unabashedly racist to Australia’s former Race Discrimination Commissioner.

Yesterday Tim Blair wrote a column directed at Thinethavone “Tim” Soutphommasane, mocking his southeast Asian last name and calling him a “race hustler”.

Because when you can’t make a good argument, make fun of their name instead.

Apparently Blair took offence to a tweet Soutphommasane posted about the evacuees who are being quarantined on Christmas Island over coronavirus fears.

Almost 300 Australians are being held in the island detention centre after being evacuated from China.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus there’s been a rise in misinformation and xenophobia towards the Asian community.

Many of the Australians returning from China and entering quarantine are of Asian descent, but Blair’s column counters it’s not racist because at least two white people are also in quarantine.

People have been quick to call Blair out and throw their support behind Soutphommasane.

People have also pointed out that this isn’t the first time that Soutphommasane has been targeted in this way, as he was often the target of right wing commentators during his five years stint as the Race Discrimination Commissioner.

When Soutphommasane retired from his role in 2018 he said in a farewell speech that it had “never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia”.

This morning he responded to the column, thanking people for their support.

In 2016 Soutphommasane told the Australian Financial Review it didn’t send a good signal when someone didn’t even try to pronounce his name.

“It says that they’re not even bothered to treat me with respect. How would they feel if they were told that every day — that people weren’t going to even try to pronounce their name?”

Feature Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Australian Human Rights Commission