April 19, 2019

The Kiwi Contest to Define ‘Racism’

December 12, 2018

By Anarchist History of New Zealand

Two battling Cultures compete for power and influence in New Zealand. It’s primitive and silly to the Anarchist but has been going on for over 200 years. Sometimes it’s open warfare but the rest of the time goes on via an endless grappling and clashing of memes and the very meaning of words. Especially words like ‘racism’ and ‘apartheid’.


In modern times, our conception of racism has evolved, and well beyond any directive to treat different races on equal terms. The white man is perfectly evil – if you think that there’s a semblance of good in him, you’re a racist.- A Brief History of Modern Racism, VJM (2018)

When Vincent wrote the above this week he helped clear up an historical change between these two contrasting mindsets. For an example of what he means, see this “expert deconstruction” from NZ Herald 12 months ago….

“Apartheid refers to a system where small white minority denied the rights of the brown majority in the country of those indigenous people.”- Dr Huygens, ‘Experts deconstruct Sir William Gallagher’s Treaty of Waitangi claims’, NZ Herald (Nov, 2017)

I understand where she’s coming from in this perspective. That an institution (eg ‘apartheid’, eg ‘racism’) is defined by not by the nature of what it is but by the political identity of those involved.

In their own words, the “situated nature of social reality, which is seen as embedded in the various social identities” as shown in this note from an accademic paper.

This news story was a reaction at the time to an identity-neutral world view as expressed by electro-entreprener, William Gallagher*. For Sir William’s mindset ‘apartheid’ is what the English dictionary says it is. It’s race-based discrimination. It’s a cognitive judgement, a moral and political action that anybody could perform and apply to anybody else.

For Doc Huygens, she must primarily know who is being judged and also who is doing the judging. What are their races? Where are they located? Are they indigenous? It’s not what you think but who you are that defines reality.

Cultural clash between two mindsets that will talk past each other, unable to understand this. And, one is the epistemology of Maori/tribalism/old world/primitive/Feminist world crashing into the other of European/civilisation/modernity. Ironically, these two world views are exactly what The Treaty was an attempt to reconcile.

They think they’re talking about The Treaty? No. They haven’t transcended the old head-butting contest historically marked by the 1840 Treaty. Looking back on it as if beyond it? Not at all! They’re simply acting out the same silly contest. The New Zealand pastime immemorial! Sometimes contested with war, with religion, with taxation. Other times settlement money, in this case word sparring.

Professor Dame Anne Salmond said the views on the Treaty of Waitangi expressed by Sir William Gallagher are unbalanced and worrying.- Salmond having a Blue Pill traumatic reaction (‘unbalanced,’ ‘worrying’ are non-intellectual terms, they are identity political signalling terms)

This tension is a ticking time bomb. Rather than be aware of it so we could fix it, the sides simply talk past each other. They Blue Pill into each other rather than empathise. The Treaty of 1840 was at best a bandage to temporarily contain the ambivalences, which is at least a recognition that their is a problem to solve. Nobody has done so and these petty spats go on. All a proxy for what’s really needed: Philosophical contest.

Neither side seeks that because they want to ‘win’ a Dr Seuss Butter Battle. Neither side particularly cares at any point about who or what is damaged by the war. They’re not standing up for anyone’s rights per se, they’re fighting for political power. Whose discourse will rule? Whose will survive? Whose will be crushed? How will the children be instructed? Who gets to reproduce? Will New Zealand be more acid the way they like it or more alkaline as we prefer? All else is collateral damage.

To step out of this Blue Pill silliness (of any stripe) is to step into Anarchism.

Image ref. The Butter Battle Book, Dr Seuss

*Gallagher is the inheritor and super-sizer of a Hamilton-gone-international business largely revolving around electric fences. I read his biography which is another one in a long line that Paul Goldsmith wrote about powerful men until finally They made him one too so he didn’t have to anymore (is currently the List MP for Epsom.)

Post syndicated from http://ahnz.anarkiwi.co.nz/the-kiwi-contest-to-define-racism/.