The Maori problem: Our Pakeha
Pakeha racism, prejudice and wilful misunderstanding of Maori is totally pervasive - in every sphere, even ones where Pakeha control has been tempered with a political expediency to be seen to be supportive of Maori. For example, yesterday - from the Labour-Union/Left Standard this charming piece:Your typical Pakeha whinge prose: patronising and chastising - it is essentially racist. This is what passes for discourse on a left-wing blog - and it is no better than the Rhodesianesque working class conservatism of Chris Trotter, or the plutocratic Tory conservatism of the NZ Herald for that matter. The comments are credulous.
This is how Pakeha project negativity about Maori - and thus raise their own racial self-esteem. Pakeha don't say these things to help Maori - they say these things to remind other Pakeha what the place of Maori should be. Every immigrant to NZ is indoctrinated through the pervasive Pakeha-dominated media to think of Maori as a problem.
In these texts the contrast is set between a society of inherently defective heathen native cannibals who have proven themselves impervious to the beneficent wisdom of the society of white Christendom which NZ was destined to have. The inferior position of Maori is relentlessly enforced through the saturation coverage and repetition of dubious anecdotes, deliberately misinterpreted information or quotes through the mass media - and in most spheres of public discourse. This letter is a classic example:
"Child murder or protecting gangs?"
—The tawdry headline with a ridiculous forced/false choice.
"Forget about seabed and foreshore.
Forget about rights to plants and animals.
And for godssake forget about building consents for confiscated gang headquarters!"
—Forget about property rights, that is a Pakeha concern that Maori shouldn't have...
"It’s about time some people got their priorities straight."
—"Some people" - and the hateful innuendo begins.
"New Zealand as a whole has to take a serious look at its atrocious and dishonourable rate of child abuse and child murder. We are so familiar with such stories in our news bulletins that we have become insensitive and unresponsive to this entrenched trait in our national character.
Perhaps the beer companies should run ads that truly reflect our national “bloke” character of ogling some T & A and being a larrikin stealing beer or being all unshaven, understated and unflappable.
Imagine instead the good kiwi bloke being the one who rages against a child, bangs its head against a wall, breaks its bones, or neglects it to die in its own filth."
—It's all "we" and "our" at the moment, and then it suddenly changes:
"There should be nothing more pressing on the Maori Party’s agenda than the shameful statistics casting ugly shadow on Maori. Even as a “supportive, remorseful, recompensing, bleeding-heart liberal” it is hard to take the efforts of Maori advocates seriously when they are so silent."
—Maori have an ugly shadow. Cast not by Maori, but by him. Pakeha don't - it's not "we" anymore it has become "they". It is asserted that Maori advocates are silent. They aren't silent and nor are they inactive on child abuse, but that is rarely covered in the media and so he doesn't know - and nor will he care to find out either because his letter makes it quite clear he has done no research into this. He would rather go on instinctive prejudice rather than any facts. Because Maori advocates are not successfully getting their messages across in a hostile Pakeha-dominated media he suggests they are not serious. Shall we add the racism of the Pakeha-dominated media as also a failing of Maori?
"History is what it is. There is only so much that can be achieved by seeking amends – that you can blame on colonialism."
—Classic Pakeha racism 101. It's all in the past!? Colonialism is the current situation here, not something in the past. The fact we don't have compulsory Te Reo in schools and Maori must conduct almost every communication in English in order to survive - is colonialism in action. His attitude is colonialism in action.
"At some point you have to put down the taiaha and take responsibility and leadership. Leadership is not judged by how many times you have planted your arse on a paepae, or how well you can korero or how well you understand the tikanga."
—Classic Pakeha racism 102. And so disgustingly patronising. "Put down the taiaha" = Maori are violent and live in the past. "take responsibility and leadership. Leadership is not judged by how many times you have planted your arse on a paepae, or how well you can korero or how well you understand the tikanga" = Maori culture is unimportant. Attending meetings and speaking well and understanding the rules are dismissed as leadership criteria for Maori.
Holding Maori to a standard higher than that which would be asked of Pakeha - or an impossible standard - is a classic technique of racist argumentation. In this text the Pakeha everyman "William Joyce" - perhaps a Labour member floating a new anti-Maori Party line that will appeal to provincial, conservative and presumably racist Pakeha working class voters - asks the Maori Party to achieve a series of "necessary" things without specifying what they are. Before his glib final sentence deriding community funding he mocks the party that represents authentic Maori interests and indicates the standard the Party should be held to:
not while another child lies dying of a brain injury.
And Peter Dunne, as Assoc. Health Minister, is going to be held to the same standard? Of course not, he's white, so he gets to be measured in how much tax he can save the already wealthy.
The problem this country faces is that many, many Pakeha are still ardently racist against Maori (amongst other non-white peoples) and will forever be hating. And if they can't find facts to fit they will just make it up or make do with racial slurs under the guise of a patronising concern for Maori. It doesn't matter whether what they say is true of not because the media and white society generally will accept, ingest and then relay that sort of Pakeha mythology on an uncontested basis. Maori cannot win in NZ.