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Speaker: Happy Race Relations Day

16 Responses

  • mark taslov,

    I liked this Vaughn, it’s well put and sincere, but I find it difficult to feel entirely comfortable with the experiences of ethnic minorities being presented through the portal of white. Obviously that’s not your fault – discussion point rather than criticism.

    no one of our 220 ethnic groups forms an absolute majority in present-day Auckland

    If we ignore Pākehā.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    A couple of years back, not long after we returned to NZ, the Mancunian owner of the biggest second hand shop in town came around to drop off some furniture we’d purchased. Sensing a kindred spirit he broke the ice with this advice; “Never employ a Māori woman”.

    He waxed long and hard about his theories of the Māori woman; the uselessness, laziness, and unemployability of wahine. Evidently he took the colour of my skin as indication that’s I’d appreciate a hefty dose of racism with my heavy lifting. I was speechless, almost. I just didn’t know where to begin in order to shut it down in that context. Obviously there have been no further purchases.

    It wasn’t until I attended the mayoral debate a year later at the local theater, packed to capacity with what looked like 100% Pākehā, that I realised how bad things are in this region. Where were the tangata whenua? Out of sight out of mind.

    Deanna Yang’s question “What does a New Zealander look like?” reminds me of a conversation between my mum and my wife, who is from China. She was explaining that the Auckland War Memorial Museum gave free admission to residents so she’d taken along her passport. My mum interrupted my spouse “because I guess you don’t look like a New Zealander…”. There are no words. There was no malice, it was just another example of our entrenched racism, and by golly it’s entrenched.

    At school my best friend was regularly called a Curry, like the dish. Among my friends there were a few more Curries, a Coconut, a Gook. And that’s just the most palatable end of the spectrum of the abuse they’ve dealt with since childhood. Students used to ask me if my girlfriend had “a horizontal pussy”, for this is New Zealand and this is how we roll.

    On our televisions, Māori channels aside, we have Pākehā channels, where we watch predominantly white people providing a whiter glimpse. Sure there are token minorities, but lets not kid ourselves, If someone asked me to think of a Kiwi TV presenter most of the faces that spring to mind immediately are white. Mike McRoberts, Jenny Suo, Mike Puru, Maiki Sherman, Kanoa Lloyd, these are exceptions not the rule.

    Whatever happens, no matter how damaging the structural discrimination and overt racism becomes, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever see a bunch of MSM journalists jump on a bandwagon with headlines like “We need to teach our white people about racism”.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Tze Ming Mok,

    (Her name is Wong Liu Sheng)

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to mark taslov,

    Attachment

    no one of our 220 ethnic groups forms an absolute majority in present-day Auckland

    In an exact sense, Vaughn’s claim is likely correct.
    This extract from Statistics New Zealand’s 2013 census figures Auckland poster shows “59.3% European” – but also note “39.1% born overseas”, so that “European” label should not be regarded as describing a monocultural Pākehā mass.
    Further note that the ethnicity figures add to more than 100% (because “European” and other counts include some mixed-ethnicity individuals who ticked more than one option, and therefore the % figures are inflated by counting those individuals multiple times).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to linger,

    I think you’re splitting hairs unnecessarily there linger. Non-white minorities don’t go around checking people’s passports, there’s nothing notable in the distinctions you’ve made that would necessarily alter a perception of New Zealand as a predominantly white, colonial country administered by a predominantly white Government, generally according to values largely imported from Europe.

    You live in Japan, or did, as I understand. If their country were to get a sudden boost of multiculturalism to the extent that it reduced ethnic nationals to 50 or even less than 50%, as an expat there I imagine you’d still have no doubt which ethnicity your パパ is. If many of the new immigrants came from China or the Koreas, things wouldn’t look much different to the naked eye.

    Again, this is exactly why I said I’m uncomfortable looking at this through a Pākehā lens, because this post is about race relations, not about cultural distinctions between the Caucasian majority. Bearing in mind that missives (and your chart) have a tendency to group individuals from myriad cultures and ethnicities as one continental group – “Asians”, as in;

    "The Asian Invasion"

    2013 census, 1,415,550, 789,306 identified as European.
    Regardless, even if Caucasian/European/Pākehā were an absolute or even a notable minority, POC generally remain in little doubt exactly which demographic is in the driving seat, both in terms of governance and culture.

    We need to better address race relations in New Zealand. Disrupting that with arguments that not all our white people were born here feels counter productive.

    Here, one of our Neighbours are a Māori family the other is a family from the UK. Both blue collar. No guesses who has the most clout around the community.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tze Ming Mok,

    (Her name is Wong Liu Sheng)

    Thanks, fixed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to mark taslov,

    I liked this Vaughn, it’s well put and sincere, but I find it difficult to feel entirely comfortable with the experiences of ethnic minorities being presented through the portal of white. Obviously that’s not your fault – discussion point rather than criticism.

    Given that the alternative is Vaughn remaining silent on racism, I'm not sure I agree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Russell Brown,

    In my defence I’ve had a long time to think about it Russell, I saw it when it was first published, and I appreciated it the first time.

    The second time I guess the collocation of “race relations” and “happy” wears a bit thin. Honestly I’d be rather more interested to hear what Keith Ng, Tze Ming Mok, Lynn Yum or anyone confronted by racism in New Zealand has to say – directly – without the editorialisation by someone from the dominant race implying ongoing entrenched racism and structural discrimination is something your readership might have somehow overlooked.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to mark taslov,

    To claim Pākehā as an absolute majority in Auckland, you have to apply “but they all look the same” to Stats NZ's “European” label – which is no more true than for the other (overly) broad clumpings in their poster. (All of which hide a greater range of internal diversity in Auckland than elsewhere in NZ, it must be noted.)
    But your points about Pākehā status as “notable minority” and greater visibility in positions of power are well taken.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to linger,

    “but they all look the same” to Stats NZ’s “European” label – which is no more true than for the other (overly) broad clumpings in their poster.

    That’s an excellent point linger.

    What I’m assuming – as dangerous as that may be – is that based on NZ’s major sources of immigration, superficial perceptions of the homogeneity of the hegemony are unlikely to have been challenged much as yet.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to mark taslov,

    superficial perceptions of the homogeneity of the hegemony are unlikely to have been challenged much

    I remember back in high school we did a geography exercise looking at ancestry, and the all-white class was made up mostly of UK'ians, but with a significant leavening of Germans, Russians, Dutch, Yugoslavia, and a smattering of other European areas, as well as a "Scandinavian by way of Orkney". Then there's the question of whether Russian Jews are from Russia or the Middle East or both as far as ethnicity goes. Oh, plus we had some obvious neanderthal ancestry ... redheads :) But I think that's pedantry at the edges. White skin is what counts, no-one asks for a gene test before calling you a {racist expletive}.

    For me, it's obvious here and in NZ that being a white guy helps, and my partner being asian-looking (Australian born) hinders. Albeit a quarter-chinese partner of mine passed for part-Maori when we were on holiday in Northland and that helped. Was a first for her!

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Rochelle Wilson,

    Unpleasant racism lingers in the heart/memory when experienced by anyone.

    I arrived in NZ in January 1977, a real hot summer in Palmerston North: such an amazing contrast to the grey freezing England I had left in December. I was walking up Rangitikei Street full of happiness when a group of three Maori, two men, one woman, abreast, walking in the opposite direction taking up the entire pavement width, spat at me and nastily "said" "Pakeha!".
    In UK I had grown up with anti-semitism as a subtle background. Perhaps as a result I was involved with all anti-racism movements of the times [from Korea to Algeria, Vietnam,South Africa etc].and had had friends or acquaintances from around the world. It was a shock to have experienced a racist epithet [as this was meant to be] is this country.

    Kapiti • Since Jul 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rochelle Wilson,

    The timing of that attack is significant Rochelle.

    Protesters occupied Bastion Point in January 1977 after the government announced a housing development on former Ngāti Whātua reserve land. The reserve had been gradually reduced in size by compulsory acquisition, leaving Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei holding less than 1 ha.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rochelle Wilson,

    I arrived in NZ in January 1977, a real hot summer in Palmerston North...

    Palmy was the big smoke when I was a kid. About a decade and a half prior to your encounter I was in the Square, on a family late night shopping trip. It was capping week, and the Massey College (it was still a mere agricultural college then) haka party came charging through the crowd, scattering adults and children alike. They wore grass skirts and cardboard top hats, and were daubed with crude spirals representing tattoos. While I was astonished to see adults literally knocked off their feet I took my cues from my parents, who nervously laughed it off as youthful exuberance.

    In 1968 the Canterbury University haka party, composed largely of engineering students, was accused at a student union meeting of a particularly nasty sexual assault. The accusation was read out by a male on behalf of the alleged victim, and was greeted by a bit of awkward chortling from representatives of the hostel where the supposed perpetrators lived. I don't believe that anyone went to the police. Things being the way they were back then there were probably good reasons not to.

    Anyway thanks in no small part to Hone Harawira and a few of his pals we don't have haka parties any more.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Rochelle Wilson, in reply to mark taslov,

    Thank you Mark, but I supported the Bastion Point protesters. I don't know that the young people in PN were concerned by Bastion Point at all: they did not put a context for their unpleasantness.

    Kapiti • Since Jul 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I was astonished this thread ended up here and was reluctant to address at the time it but as no one has:

    Dear White People Please Stop Pretending Reverse Racism is Real

    "Simply put, Morgan said reverse racism doesn’t exist and a person who claims otherwise is “outing themselves as someone who has little to no experience or knowledge of what racism is.

    Racism is based on a couple of things—historical, systemic oppression and power, Morgan explained. And as far as history goes, white people have never been persecuted for the colour of their skin—so there’s no point comparing their experiences to those of black, brown, and Indigenous folks.

    “It’s slavery, colonialism, theft all kinds of violations on systemic proportions… versus feelings being hurt."

    Note; I’m not suggesting that a crime wasn’t committed – simply that as part of the Pākehā hegemony, what was experienced wasn’t racism as much as it was a backlash for being a colonial settler. Which is not to dispute – as Toi later pointed out on the show – that Māori can be racist – but to highlight that as a Pākehā, calling that racism, is to ignore the wider historical, systemic and power dynamics.

    "But Morgan said even if all people of colour straight up said they hate white people, it wouldn’t affect a white person’s ability to get a job, an education, or increase the odds that they’d get carded or charged for a crime. “If all white people had that view [of black people], that would have a very dramatic life impact on the material reality of all those people."

    Something MXR Dentith left here a few years back:

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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