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An American take on public discourse

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Blackland has been hosting an American communications and law student, Jaquelinne Gomez. We asked for her take on how our public figures act.

The standout for me is that the New Zealand experience illustrates that humility goes a long way.

In the United States, public figures refrain from admitting any faults. They’re too desperate to save face. They don’t want to appear weak. In contrast, New Zealanders are comfortable deploying humility – because they realise it helps, rather than hurts, how people perceive them.

I watched a debate on New Zealand television where opponents were happy to cite qualities they admired of the other during a contested discussion.

In contrast, the US experience is always a polarisation of views, negativity, and efforts to undermine opponents. We’re learning that partisanship is toxic – it harms not just those who do it, but the public they’re trying to impress.

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