Tuesday, June 8, 2021

On racist abuse and what's driving it

Yesterday’s Dominion Post reported that Matthew Tukaki, executive director of the Maori Council, was racially abused in a Wellington street.

Tukaki said a Pakeha woman called him a “black arsehole” as she walked past him near the corner of Willis Street and Lambton Quay.

If the incident happened as described (and what reason would Tukaki have for making it up?), then it suggests that race relations in New Zealand have taken a turn for the worse.

Of course it was just one woman, so we should be careful about overstating its significance. But while we may argue endlessly about what constitutes racism, given that its definition is constantly being stretched in new and inventive directions, most New Zealanders would categorise the reported remark as unambiguously, offensively and deplorably racist.

The big question is, how much longer will we able to classify such incidents as isolated or exceptional? Tukaki says while he rarely encounters such overt racism face to face, he gets racist messages every day. We have to take his word for it that these messages are indeed “racist”, but there’s no doubt that the temperature in the race debate is being cranked up. And more to the point, we shouldn’t delude ourselves about who or what is driving it.

The Dominion Post’s story frames the Wellington street incident in the context of the race hatred that infamously erupted in the Christchurch mosque massacres, but that outrage appeared to have nothing to do with the Maori-Pakeha relationship. The perpetrator was an Australian who drew inspiration from a global alt-right movement that sees itself as defending Western civilisation against mass immigration and Islamism.

The occurrence described by Tukaki, on the other hand, seems distinctly local in tone and should be viewed quite differently from the mosque atrocities. While it may suit some people to draw a link between a racist insult directed at a prominent Maori in the street and the slaughter of 51 Muslims, my guess is that the two events are either completely unrelated or connected only very tenuously.

If it’s true that a new form of overt racial antagonism is emerging in New Zealand, then its origins are almost certainly domestic. I’d go further and say that the primary provocation is coming not from shadowy white supremacists, as the Dominion Post story speculates, but from the opposite direction – from proponents of critical race theory, the Marxist view that societies such as New Zealand are built on oppressive, systemic racism.

To put it another way, the divisive, polarising race rhetoric that we are bombarded with daily is coming overwhelmingly from one side, and it’s not from Pakeha. If we really to want to identify what’s destabilising race relations in New Zealand, we should point the finger at those who relentlessly promote an ideology of apartness – conveniently denying, as I’ve pointed out in this blog, that even the most strident activists carry the supposed curse of European blood.

The activists want to be seen as victims of oppression, not perpetrators. How they reconcile this with their European features and Anglo-Saxon surnames, which testify to the existence of colonial forebears - who by definition were white supremacists, if critical race theory is to be believed - is something they never explain. (As an aside, I note that like most part-Maori leaders, Tukaki routinely lists his tribal affiliation, but he doesn’t mention that he’s descended on his mother’s side from Sir Charles St Julian, a former Chief Justice of Fiji).

The problem for these part-Maori agitators (should we call them Maokeha?) is that if they acknowledged their European descent, the ideological narrative that we are two races, immutably divided into exploiters and exploited, would be deprived of much of its force. But as long as they continue to identify exclusively with their Maori heritage, they lay themselves open to the accusation that they do it because it enables them to exercise power and influence that would otherwise not be available to them.

These are the people who are dialling up the heat in the race debate, and no one should be surprised if a redneck backlash develops. Nothing is more likely to give oxygen to the small minority of true racists in New Zealand – people like the woman Tukaki encountered – than the perception that New Zealand is being reshaped along race-based lines that would advantage those of part-Maori descent. The danger is that the vast majority of New Zealanders who are liberally minded and racially tolerant are likely to get caught in the middle of an unlovely clash between extremes.

Footnote: Anyone who openly opposes the activist agenda risks being defamed as a white supremacist – a casual slur that seeks to invalidate legitimate concerns about racial polarisation. The slander works, frightening a lot of decent New Zealanders into silence. I hear time and time again from people who are deeply concerned about the corrosive effects of race-based politics, but who don’t say anything for fear of being branded as racists. We are a fair-minded people, but we are spineless when it comes to exercising our right to free speech.


Phil said...

I have to wonder about the mental state of someone who randomly abuses another person in a Wellington street. Wellington has been reported as having a vagrant problem.

Odysseus said...

"White Supremacism" is so 2019. Welcome to "Woke Supremacism" where anybody claiming a trace of "indigenous" DNA can aspire to the fashionable status of victimhood. You too can passively-aggressively confront the racist, colonialist oppressor culture and obtain special recognition and perquisites from the State. And you can make whatever charges of racist abuse you like against whomever you wish because no one is prepared to call you out for fear of losing their job or having their reputation trashed. New Zealand is being dismantled leaving a vacuum to be filled by opportunism on the one hand and resentment on the other and it's government policy.

transpress nz said...

Newton's third law of motion states: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." That applies in politics too. The present government and its paid propagandists -- Stuff, NZME, Newshub, Radio NZ and TV1 -- can't keep playing the race card accompanied by historical untruths and not expect a reaction to it. Maokehas can't keep playing the victim card without there being a reaction to that too.

Max Ritchie said...

Knowing the circumstances would help. The problem, it seems, is the “black”, not the “arsehole”. So why was this woman motivated to insult Mr Tukaki? If indeed it was out of the blue then she probably has mental problems - it’s hard to imagine someone walking along the street saying “Black asehole” to every Maori she met. So was it something Tukaki did? Knowing what happened would help to understand this. But a Maori who calls me “Whitey” is OK? And a Maori who insists that I should hand hand him money (via my taxes) because he’s a Maori or that he should have a greater say in the affairs of my town and country because he’s got a proportion of Maori genes is not a racist?

Max Ritchie said...

I’ve just read the article. Apparently racism is defined as objecting to racism ie Maori only wards. This is Alice in Wonderland stuff. I object to Maori bludgers. I object to all bludgers, it’s just that there seem to be more Maori ones these days. Is that racist? Of course not. But if you’ve got a sense of entitlement then I can see how you might define it as racism. It’s actually just bludging. The sooner Maori get over their resentment - 1840 was 181 years ago - the better off we’ll all be.

Andy Espersen said...

Yes. it is overwhelmingly sad the way New Zealand is beginning to split along Maori versus European lines - for the first time since the Treaty of Waitangi. I arrived in New Zealand 63 years ago. I remember how proud and happy all New Zealanders were with their mixed Maori heritage – but that has now changed. I simply cannot imagine that a remark such as this one in a Wellington street could ever have been made anywhere in those days. There was simply no hatred against Maori. Neither was there ever any hatred by Maori against white people – in my work I had numerous Maori colleagues and clients and would have noticed that immediately. I note that Matthew Tutaki, chair of the “Maori Authority” (whatever that represents!), today wants Paul Goldsmith’s resignation from the National Party for his “white supremacist, racist remark” that “overall, colonisation had a positive effect on Maori”!! But no more innocuous opinion can be imagined.

My anger and disappointment about what is now going on is NOT directed against New Zealanders like Tutaki and his ilk – with their unfounded chips on their shoulders and their pitiable, embittered paranoia. But I blame our woke Labour-Green government for paving the way here. By their racist notions THEY have betrayed the Treaty of Waitangi which for almost two hundred years was the pride and joy of almost every New Zealander – and envy of all other colonial countries. Since then we have grown into One People (intricately mixed, as Karl points out) with One Legislation, namely English Common Law with adjustments and amendments as they developed here in New Zealand over the years. This government also has worked towards stone-age, unwritten Tikanga rules and regulations (presumably complete with concepts like utu, inter-tribal warfare, slavery, etc.) now becoming part of New Zealand legislation. Is that not betraying New Zealand’s century-old, inherited legislation which was expressly accepted by the Treaty?? And did the Labour-Green regime have a mandate to change that??

This will all become much clearer in people’s minds before the 2023 election (when also the Covid effect will have fizzled out). I expect a vicious backlash against Ardern and her cohorts.

Barbara McKenzie said...

1) We're not obliged to take for granted that this actually happened. There are numerous confirmed examples of fabrications of racism.
2) "Ffing honky" is not unknown to people walking Wellington streets at night.
3) All the discussion of racism in NZ assumes white versus Maori. Wonder what Indian dairy owners think about this?

Karl du Fresne said...

To the commenter going by the name Johnston: I agree with you that there are people on the right too who are trying to raise the temperature, but I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of wider exposure by publishing the link you submitted. I'm not remotely interested in promoting the views of exhibitionist stirrers on either the far right or the far left. A pox on them all, I say.

CXH said...

How wide spread is the problem in reality? We have just had our Queens honours list which included many of mixed Maori/Pakeha race. Considering these honours are on behalf of the colonial suppressors, you would expect to see them being refused with suitable, fiery rhetoric. Instead the recipients showed humility and pleasure in being singled out for such an honour.

It is more likely the number of real agitators is small and blown out of proportion by a media desperate for clicks and survival in todays world.

Doug Longmire said...

It is not just the "rednecks" who will object to the racist, apartheid agenda being thrust upon the country.
Ordinary, fair minded people who really believe in and want to promote a just and fair society will all be outraged.
Let us be very clear here:- the racist, separatist agenda being forced upon us in New Zealand, is completely incompatible with modern, Western democratic civilization.

Doug Longmire said...

I honestly do not think Kiwis are spineless. It's mainly that they simply do not realise that these events are occurring, because these events are not being reported in the main stream media ( i.e. - the propaganda wing of the Comrade Ardern Party)

Quite a few of my friends seem to unaware of the extent of the planned destruction of democracy in New Zealand, and it seems to be simply that they have not heard about it. It is only by following blog sites such as this, that one can get the true story.

And it seems to me that these radical, racist changes being pushed through at great pace, are, in fact nothing to do with Maori rights at all. The majority of New Zealanders will object to these changes and in fighting them, start a revolution.
Then the plan is that the destruction of our Western democracy will take place, and the Great Reset, communist style, can take place.

Andy Espersen said...

Relax Doug Longmire - relax. Please don't join the panic'ers - we have enough of those. . "The Great Reset" will not happen - because it cannot happen. Dim-witted Jacinda became the Darling of Davos because she is without a doubt the Prime Minister in the world with the least understanding of global economy and capitalism - and the most gullible. If we in the West begin to dissemble our internal, capitalistic economies in accordance with that ideology China, India, Africa and Russia will just sail ahead happily on their own. The Chinese currency will take over from the US dollar - and we here will be comparatively poor until we change track. And we will change track mighty soon! All woke, Green governments will fall like dominoes! Hurrah!