Sunday, 6 May 2007

What's the problem with white?

-- by Hannah Ho, cross-posted to Yellow Peril, Public Address

Why do some white people get grumpy when they get called white people?

I would hazard a guess that it’s not because those people reckon they are actually beige, peach, off-white, cream or pink, rather than literally white. I suspect it’s because being called white is real close to the bone, the white supremacist bone. (And I don’t mean the 20 National Front members in New Zealand.) When I call white people white people, I reference systems of white privilege and white dominance. Which does sound awfully close to white power and white supremacy . . . Purely semantics?

In the national collective mind, white is the national default setting. This fact should feed into the discourse on national identity. But, if you point that out or start talking about it, people get nervous. Why? Because identifying whiteness is pointing to a power structure that we’re not meant to talk about.

It’s all about dominant culture. When we talk about “the real New Zealander”, or what constitutes “Kiwi values”, we have to talk about dominant culture. If we don’t we’re like fish who don’t know they’re swimming in water.

These discussions on culture, as opposed to race, are important because race is no longer a barrier to technically being a New Zealander. You can be any sort of ethnicity to be a New Zealander. But to be a “real” New Zealander, according to the mainstream argument, you have to buy into dominant culture and values. And when you buy into that, you can forget the foreshore and seabed, inequitable health care, dominant culture-geared education system, or any other thing majority-enforced inequity. Different world views? That’s divisive. That’s not the “Kiwi way”.

So, we get back to labels. Without the dominant culture analysis, “New Zealander” is easy. New Zealanders just “belong” to New Zealand. We can forget Aotearoa. We can forget our colonial and migration history. Forget Māori sovereignty, stolen land, the White New Zealand League, Poll Tax, dawn raids, because we’re all just New Zealanders. Right? In the context of national identity, pretending that you can be “just a New Zealander” (whether you’re white or not) is denying white privilege. It dismisses power dynamics that benefit some and disadvantages others. And it means that you can’t scapegoat the National Front as the only ones who are racist and white.

I guess that’s the real reason why white people don’t want to be called white, because then they’d have to fess up. The objections to being called Pākehā or tauiwi are kind of the same, because the terms are inherently about being in relation to Māori.

Shock, horror!! Well, hey, no-one’s just one label. You can be Irish and Pākehā and white and middle-class and heterosexual and monogamous and a man. Just like I am Chinese New Zealand and tauiwi and middle class and queer and a woman. Yes, everyone can suffer multiple oppressions, have multiple identities, and have multiple responsibilities!! Amazing!!

Yes life is complex – and things are hardly ever either/or. When Māori use tauiwi as a term they don’t think that Cambodian tauiwi don’t experience racism from Pākehā, tauiwi. They aren’t saying the Irish were never done over by the English, that the Romans never did over the Pagans. That the Greeks, Italians and Dutch never experienced discrimination from English tauiwi. Tauiwi gets used to point to the fact that all us non-Māori, enjoy and benefit from the past and continued colonisation, no matter where and when, we, or our ancestors, migrated here.

So have a think about privilege. Because sometimes it’s not just about the ‘having”, but about the “not having”. Not having to be yelled at “fuck off home chink”. Not having to be told that Asians are driving the housing market up so that “ordinary Kiwis” can’t afford houses (never mind neo-liberal economics). Not having to worry about walking home late at night. Not having shop keepers follow you around in shops. Not having to hear stupid Irish jokes. Not having to be “randomly” searched at the airport. Not having our friends in blue check your license and ask if you own the car you’re driving. Not having to ask if there’s wheelchair access. Not having the government always taking your land “for all New Zealanders”, and not returning land they said they would. Not having to ask for the Treaty to be honoured.

If you’re having trouble thinking of things you don’t have to worry about, you can get off your computer and talk to someone who doesn’t look like you.

If you are interested in this stuff and would maybe consider getting off your computer to talk about it with other people, come to the “Sweet As?” conference. It’s all about national identity, dominance, colonisation and social justice. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

Ouch! $170 to go to the conference just because I have a government job. I also have three kids and a mortgage. So are you serious about that $170?

Robyn said...

If you're having trouble thinking of things you don't have to worry about, you can get off your computer and talk to someone who doesn't look like you.

But when I'm online, I talk to Poles, Britons, South Africans, Japanese, Americans and Germans.

When I'm offline, I talk to Pakehas.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's the real reason why white people don't want to be called white, because then they'd have to fess up.

Maybe, but I doubt it. I was always a scrawny little mazungu as a boy and the description never bothered me, nor was it meant to. I don't think a third party calling me white is objectionable, I just don't identify particularly with the term just as most people from Asia don't identify with the description of yellow, other than in irony.

If you look at British "Empire" literature you *will* find plenty references to being "white" and behaving like a "white man". This implies some form of superiority, particularly in behaving "honourably". The fact that many white folk these days no longer believe their skin colour bestows some sort of genetic superiority is a good thing, isn't it?

Power structures in the west being tilted in favour of WASPish culture is another matter. If you want people to start calling themselves white again so that they can apologise for past misdeeds I think you are probably barking up the wrong tree.

Can I suggest that "barbarians" would be better word and at least that is a title already in use for us, in Japan.

Russell Brown said...

As ever, it's the look on someone's face when they say the words. I've been called "tauiwi", on a marae, in what I took to be an unpleasant ashion. I'm sure someone could call you "yellow" or "queer" in a way that would make you uncomfortable.

In general, I'm very happy to be a pakeha or a palagi, but I'm not wild about being deemed a stranger or an alien in a country where I've had family for more than a century. I don't think that precludes me appreciating historical and contemporary ethnic realities.

Anonymous said...

What's even hard about this question? No one likes being stereotyped. Am I missing some subtlety?

Ben Wilson

Anonymous said...

perhaps the offense toward being referered to as "white" or "whites" is just the same as the offense many would take to being referred to as "yellow" or "red" or whatever collective term used to define one based on the colour of ones skin let alone the hypocricy inherent in a society that seems to accept that such terms are generally fine when referring to one culture/race/social grouping and not others.....i am not a pakeha...nor a european.....nor a white New a New Zealander!!!!....hell id happily be an Aoteroan if that was a commonly used term!!!!! a human being born and bred in New Zealand...i have no claims to any other culture other than that and i resent having my existance defined by others based on the colour of my skin or the origin of my family some 5 generations ago!!

Danny said...

Thanks Hannah for a very interesting post.

In response to some of the comments (and apologies for length), the dynamics of the colonial relationship (whose land it might be) are not the same as those of racial identity.

When talking about the issues I tend to describe myself as Pākehā when in NZ and talking about colonial or "bicultural" stuff, because it situates me very clearly on one side of that relationship, with a certain perspective, history and set of opportunities / responsibilities which are different from Māori.

However, in the racial/ethnic sense I'm white, and we have a diasporic community (US, Canada, Australia, NZ, etc.) with whom I generally share a set of values and ways of relating. Take a white New Zealander and a white US resident from New England and drop them in a black neighbourhood in Oakland, California and the responses are more similar than different.

Unfortunately, because we kind of invented the modern nation state, we white people tended to (for better and worse) stick a lot of our cultural identity into the country we were born into. While this has creates some flexibility and mobility compared to ethnic/kinship based identity, there's a basic problem which is that one's citizenship only really defines a small proportion of who we are, compared to our native language for example. New Zealand and Canada are only equally different to NZ and Kenya in sports events and the UN.

During the hardcore cultural nationalist days of the 50s-70s there was a very committed project, quite often from the white settler left ironically enough, to distance the colonies culturally from the British. The effects of this on non-white citizens are diverse, but it's fair to say that it is white citizens who are most interested in defining their culture in affiliation to their nation state,
whereas many migrants and indigenous peoples would prefer it if the nation-state just kept to preserving basic rights and infrastructure and let everyone get along with their own culture thanks. Of course there are always exceptions.

Personally, coming to identify as white (which happened most profoundly during some time spent in Northern Ireland a few years back) has been a great relief from nationalist anxiety and has also given me a sense of license to explore relationships with other white settler cultures in a much more open and flexible way, without assuming so much about them just because of what nation they're in. It's also been a process of getting in touch with my own history in a more nuanced and detailed way. And most importantly, I think it's been realising that culture after colonisation is not something that can be solved nationally ("biculturalism"), but is an international process.

Here, I think it's instructive to look at the developing relationships between Pacific cultures across their shared history and values, and how much strength this has provided for many people (including Māori) in cultural development. White New Zealand has its own larger, international history and coming to embrace it is a great opportunity. After all, there are a lot of things non-whites think we're good at and I think building some confidence in those might allow us to start coming to terms with our history and role in the world a bit more effectively.

Putting it that way, there are a lot of opportunities for this dialogue to have value internationally, and conferences/discussions like this are a big part of why New Zealand is my home. Thanks hannah and all for the initiative and looking forward to the discussions next week.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...not having to explain to taxi drivers that just because you're white, it doesn't mean you want to hear their racist jokes.

Not having to explain to people that the ethnic mix at your child's school is something you love, not barely tolerate.

Not having to explain that you're not actually that interested in the cricket, sorry.

Not having to find ways to explain that you don't like being stereotyped, even though you do belong to the hegemonically dominant demographic.

Not having to be asked in retaurants, when you ask for 'hot', whether you just mean 'European hot'.

Not having to feel weird and slightly embarassed when a chinese person introduces themselves as Steve or Mary, when you know that's not really their name.

Not having to feel completely unsure about how to articulate your own sense of cultural identity...

Organisers: said...

"Ouch! $170 to go to the conference just because I have a government job. I also have three kids and a mortgage. So are you serious about that $170?"

Hi, we've got no problem with you paying the $25 or $55 rate. We'd rather you came to the conference than not at all.

We just assumed that if you were coming in your capacity as a government official then your work would be paying for it.

By the way, the registration fee includes morning and afternoon teas, lunches and the conference dinner.

The rates are:

$25 low wage, unwaged, student
$55 decent wage
$170 if your work is paying/government

Thanks for raising the question.

The organisers

Anonymous said...

deemed a stranger or an alien

Where does the blog post say anything about that?

white = privilege.
Seems like most of the commenters go out of their way to ignore the main point of the post.

Russell Brown said...

"deemed a stranger or an alien"

Where does the blog post say anything about that?

white = privilege.
Seems like most of the commenters go out of their way to ignore the main point of the post.

Calm down, re-read my response. I am responding to Hannah's original post. I was saying I'm not so comfortable with "tauiwi", which literally means "stranger" or "alien".

If you have a different response to Hannah's post you should write it,

Paul Dowden said...

Hmm, I can think of one thing you could consider at the upcoming conference (I won't make it as I currently live in Canberra). After reading your article I decided to see how Pakeha and Tauiwi were defined out there on-line. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia (

"Common alternative designations for Pākehā in New Zealand include "New Zealand Europeans" or "European New Zealanders" and sometimes "Caucasian New Zealanders" or "White New Zealanders". The term 'white' can have offensive connotations and seldom occurs."

This seems pretty lame and probably misleading ('white' seldom occurs?!) any chance you could workshop a re-write? (Any chance you'd get consensus?). Also no meaningful pragmatic usage of Tauiwi seems to be available (beyond a simple translational definition). It seems this word is becoming much more prevalent and thus is likely to become more important in discourse on identity, politics etc. Surely a concise treatment of both words alongside an analysis of the various pro's con's and related usage baggage, readily available online, would be beneficial in developing all people's understanding. Words are symbolic after all and symbols are important.

Anonymous said...

I've been called "tauiwi", on a marae, in what I took to be an unpleasant ashion.

Surely that's the point, you were an alien in that context (a marae).

Russell Brown said...

Surely that's the point, you were an alien in that context (a marae).

No, I was manuhiri. I'd introduced myself, hongi'd and brought food. But I don't want to get too hung up on it. My point was that I'm not that comfortable with the term.

Interestingly, Hannah notes in another thread that the conference literature was going to refer to "the descendants of migrants and settlers", but she and others thought that would be offensive to fifth-generation Chinese. Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Anonymous said...

My point was that I'm not that comfortable with the term.

Fair enough.

I just thought it was interesting that the majority of the commenters on this thread seemed to avoid or dismiss the main thrust of the post:

white = privilege

yamis said...

The point seems to be that white New Zealanders don't like to be called "white" because the "priveleged" group in New Zealand is "white".

Personally I am white and have no issue with being noticed as being white. In fact the number of times I would be called "white" to my face in a year would be so small that I can't even recall it happening.

I just really don't get how I would be offended by people thinking that I am to blame for historical grievances, or am some how privileged more than others if I was to be called white.

I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to HOW you are called white, or black or brown or green. There's a difference between "the coffee machine is by that white guy in the corner" and "that white stole my land"

I may well be 'privileged' but as a school teacher my job is to raise the achievement of all my students, PARTICULARLY MAORI students (that is a massive school and government directive) and I am doing my best to do just that.

Organisers: said...

Dear all,

Thanks for your comments.

The purpose of doing this conference is to stimulate, and provide a forum for, discussion. This is clearly happening, which is great!

Terminology vs the fundamental issues

One of the difficult things when talking about this stuff is that there’s no agreed terminology for a whole range of concepts. This makes talking about the fundamental issues (such as the effects of dominant culture), is really hard, because people are forced to use words that are emotional triggers for other people.

It’s all about context. Russell Brown, for example, doesn’t mind being called “the descendant of migrants and settlers”. But, if his experience was of being a fifth-generation New Zealander who is constantly being asked “where do you come from?”, he might feel differently. Different triggers for different people.

Unfortunately, this means that the fundamental issues aren’t easily addressed. We just have to keep talking until we get to some constructive dialogue, on the understanding that we all DO want to talk about the same thing.

As an aside, we had some seriously intense arguments in our own organising group. And it wasn’t about fundamental intention or concepts – it was caused by misunderstanding of terms. We kept talking and it paid off.

Amping up the discussion

One of the reasons we wanted to do this conference was that we felt New Zealand was missing out. In other parts of the world, there’s been huge discussion on dominant culture issues: mostly in the “critical whiteness studies” field.

Whiteness studies has been slow to take off here – although people like Avril Bell (one of our speakers) and Claudia Bell, are certainly doing their bit.

So here’s a guide to whiteness studies (sorry it’s a bit rough, we’re in the throes of trying to source 100 sets of cutlery without having to pay Hiremaster $240).

What is whiteness studies?
"The central tenet of whiteness studies (also known as "critical whiteness studies") is a reading of history and its effects on the present, inspired by postmodernism and social constructionism, in which the very concept of race is said to have been constructed by a white power structure in order to justify discrimination against nonwhites.

"Major areas of research include the nature of white identity and of white privilege, the historical process by which a white racial identity was created, the relation of culture to white identity, and possible processes of social change as they affect white identity."

Noel Ignatiev: RACE TRAITOR - treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity

“Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet.”

Noel Ignatiev is a history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art. He was formerly a professor at Harvard.

Race Traitor is also associated with the New Abolitionist society: “The white race is a historically constructed social formation. It consists of all those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society.”

Ghassan Hage: White Nation: Fantasies of White supremacy in a multicultural society”

“Ghassan Hage argues that White racists and tolerant, White multiculturalists both see their nation structured around a White culture which they control, with Aboriginal people and migrants as exotic objects . . . “

Dr Ghassan Hage is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Sydney.
Bob Gould's critique of White nation
Ghassan Hage's home page

Teaching about Whiteness studies

Professor Gregory Jay, Department of English, University of Wisconsin

This page covers:
- Why teach about whiteness?
- Approaches to whiteness, questions to ask
- Exercises, Activities, Projects, Inquiries

Race, Racism and the Law: Speaking Truth to Power!!

Vernellia R. Randall, Professor of Law, editor in Chief

The front page features a paper by Judy Helfand called "Constructing Whiteness"

“In this paper, I hope to show that whiteness consists of a body of knowledge, ideologies, norms, and particular practices that have been constructed over the history of the American colonies and the U.S. with roots in European history as well.”

The site also contains a link to an implicit association test to test your hidden bias. Unfortunately it's pretty American so doesn't really work for us, but you might be interested.

Happy reading, and keep the discussion going.

The organisers

steven crawford said...

"What's even hard about this question? No one likes being stereotyped. Am I missing some subtlety?"

And the so called white people culture is by no means a monoculture, Some white people don't speak english.

Having attended a predominantly Maori school 98% Maori (me making the 2% balance) during the 1970s, I have inside knowledge of the lack of privilege you are talking about. That school was run differently to the school I attended in Auckland. The Maori school education was more fun. But ultimately we ( thats me to) where being groomed to work at the local meat works or road works or some such laboring job.

But we don't live in the 1970s now and Dislexia has finally been officially recognized by the "main stream" Are you main stream?

feminist said...

Hannah asks: "Why do some white people get grumpy when they get called white people?"

The answer is right there in the question: "get called". No-one likes being defined by others. Ethnicity is something you choose to identify as/with (if you're really young, your parents choose for you). To define others by the colour of their skin is racist. This is Sociology 101 (before the discipline got taken over by postmodernists).

Hannah goes on to say:

"I guess that's the real reason why white people don't want to be called white, because then they'd have to fess up."

Fess up to what? Colonialism? Blaming all white people for the crimes of a few towards indigenous people is as illogical and wrong as blaming all men for rape.

Mkura said...

Feminist (and others) please calm down. No one is blaming all white people for colonistaion. I think the point is that it would be helpful if yall recognised that in a colony white people - regardless of sex, religion, ability, etc - have benefitted economically and politically from the oppression and exploitation of indigenous people and land. And they continue to do so.

Whether white people benefit spiritually and/or emotionally is probably more debatable.

You also seem to miss the point that has been made by Hannah and cohorts that whiteness is not necessarily bound to colour -
"These discussions on culture, as opposed to race, are important because race is no longer a barrier to technically being a New Zealander... But to be a "real" New Zealander, according to the mainstream argument, you have to buy into dominant culture and values."

And seriously, trivialising colonisation as a 'few' crimes against indigenous peoples, WTF? Colonisation has almost completely destroyed 1000s of previously healthy and sustainable societies around the world. Comments like that imply you either have no sense of the history and essence of the ongoing colonial project or that you think the intentional destruction of entire socities, and mass theft of land is ok, as lng as its 'only' indigenous societies/land.

Anon with the list of things that sucks about being white: as much as the denial of authentic cuisine may hurt, at least you will get to endure such harsh insults for an average of 8 more years than the typical Maori in Aotearoa.

Russ, feel free to say no but I'm really curious as to what the exact circumstances of you being called tauiwi were? Like what were you doing at the time, was it a tane or wahine, how old, etc. You've mentioned it a few times before and I always wonder what the scenario was.

Hannah and other organisers: bugger knives and forks. Most of the worlds populus seems to get by without em! Food tastes better when you eat with your hands anyway.

steven crawford said...

What! So mkura, Are you saying that anyone that explains why they feel offended by racist or sexist rhetoric is in some way emotionally over reacting?

The very question "why do some white get grumpy when they get called white people" Is intended to be offensive.

feminist said...

mkura: You misread what I wrote. I did not say “a few crimes” – I said crimes of “a few”. That’s an important distinction.

Consider this: who in New Zealand today is trying to make everyone conform to a mainstream cultural model? “Bishop” Brian Tamaki!

Do I feel pressure to comply to the Bish's wishes? Hell, no! No more than I have felt pressure to comply to a 1950s model of femininity.

Anonymous said...

Aha, I think I get it now. This is a postmodern thing so we have to use words in ways which are not common, which carry emotive overtones, because normal words and unemotive language is all part of the oppression of ... hmmmm .... let me see .... The Other?

So we're not actually arguing about whiteness as a skin colour at all, we're arguing about privilege and labeling that Whiteness. Which makes the original question even easier to answer. If you ask why people with white skin often don't like to be called white it's because you're really calling them White, meaning an oppressor of Others. Which is even more stereotypical than just commenting on their skin colour. I take it Whiteness studies in Japan include Japanese people as Whites?

I suppose these connotations exist in language, but where I lose patience with Postmodernism is when instead of righteously exposing such things, it tries to just replace them with other words. Which ends up meaning that unless you know the secret language, pretty much anything any postmodernist says to you sounds damned offensive, or just plain wrong. It makes argument frustrating and elitist.

I find Popper's approach to word usage much more sensible, when he says that you simply shouldn't 'overload' words. If what you are saying is the slightest bit ambiguous, either define things better to mutual satisfaction, or say it another way. Use more words that have less meaning, rather than overloaded words like Good, or The Other. Because arguing about the meaning of words is really the most trivial part of philosophizing, it goes nowhere, it solves nothing.

However both he and I base that on a belief in the idea that discussion of ideas could actually have a constructive purpose, could be about stuff that both parties understand, could even lead to agreement once clarity of the point in contention is reached. From what I understand about postmodernism, constructive discussion is anathema, all part of the oppression of the Other by Whites. The purpose of discussion is to deconstruct, so that nobody knows what anyone is talking about, and no progress can be made. A tower of Babel is deliberately constructed.

What I don't get is why they want that tower, which of course quickly becomes an ivory tower, and crumbles to nothing but a massive pile of incomprehensible garbage.

Which is all a more elaborate way of reiterating "What's hard about getting that people don't like to be stereotyped?".

Ben Wilson (forgot my blogger login)

Mkura said...

Ooops my apologies, I did misread that sentence, but saying only a few europeans/white people (whatever) were/are responsible for perpetrating colonisation is equally false. It is a highly co-ordinated project with a cast of millions (yes not all are racially euro but they certainly buy into the West). And again if you had any historical and/or critical sense of colonisation you'd know that already.

Anyway, enough boring navel gazing over semantics. I find it interesting that Hannah words do seem to be prescient:

"I guess that's the real reason why white people don't want to be called white, because then they'd have to fess up."

Most here are getting offended or otherwise focussing on whether 'white people' 'tauiwi'(and other terms with cultural baggage) are offensive epithets or not.

This tired old merry go round is successfully derailing any critique of white/european/western/whatever privilege. Shame really because I'm genuinely interested in what white people think of white hegemony.

So anyone care to 'fess up'?

che tibby said...

So anyone care to 'fess up'?

sure! always good to debate with you manakura.

apologies for missing much of the debate. work priorities, blah blah.

in my humble opinion, half the problem is the periennial nature of the issue. it seems that as each generation of politically aware individuals comes up through the ranks they have to find something to rail against. the most popular target is hegemony.

i say this because i fought the same battles myself, but as a straight white man, against the ignorance of other straight white men.

let me also add that some of us have fought this fight, even at risk to our own jobs.

and, as each generation has come up, the majority has adjusted itself in response to the demands of those pointing out that hegemony exists. consequently and as an example, we have had the waitangi tribunal, the expansion of the waitangi tribual, and the treaty settlement process (with all its foibles).

i think this causes something like "accomodation fatigue" to set in. the average white person in the street ends up asking themself, when is enough enough?

thing is, that person in the street can't ever understand the lived experience of the migrant, or the maori, or the [insert relevant minority here], but they can experience the "periennial assault" of being labelled "the man" or cultural oppressors. i think that that irks?

now, that's in no way an apology for cultural oppression. instead, it's important to note because in an active liberal democracy leaders need the goodwill of that partially ignorant person in the street to be able to provide accommodation to the needs of the minorities.

it's kind of a vicious catch-22. the minority needs to protest to get the attention of leaders and instigate change, but that protest causes the goodwill of the majority to wane.

so in a roundabout way, yelling "whitey" and "cultural oppressor" is necessary, but simultaneously counter-productive? especially in the case of white liberals who understand and support the struggle. how come we're the ones who end up copping the flack?

PS. i'll happily apply labels to myself, but hate being labelled. and i think we could find evidence that it's not just a white habit.

feminist said...

That was an enlightening post about post-modernism, Ben – thanks!

I think that one of the differences between Ben’s way of thinking and that of mkura, Hannah and some others in the thread is that Ben’s has its origins in the Enlightenment, while theirs is rooted in Romanticism, which looks backward to a supposed golden (pre-colonial) past. Leaving aside the evidence that colonialism brought many benefits as well as harm, I find it highly ironic when such people talk of “buying into the west” when their own ideas are drawn from French and German intellectuals. And where does post-modernism fit on the west-east-north-south map of ideas? I’d say it’s up a cul-de-sac - a route to nowhere.

The thing is, ideas don’t belong to any particular race/ethnicity/nationality – they are available to us all, to use for good or ill - ideally to increase our understanding of the world we live in and all its peoples. The latter can only happen through honest and open enquiry and debate.

I think that one reason why people get angry when they get called white is that it’s a racket, in the sense that Eric Berne meant (in case anyone takes offence, note that Adult and Child have a particular meaning in his Transactional Analysis theory, and not a pejorative one). From wikipedia:

“A racket is… a set of behaviours which originate from the childhood script rather than in here-and-now full Adult thinking, which (1) are employed as a way to manipulate the environment to match the script rather than to actually solve the problem, and (2) whose covert goal is not so much to solve the problem, as to experience these racket feelings and feel internally justified in experiencing them.”

You cannot have a constructive argument with a person conducting such a racket. They are simply not interested in a genuine exchange of ideas that might lead to mutual understanding because this would involve letting go of the bits of their life script that justify both their sense of grievance and their inaction. Believing in an all-powerful white hegemony – a “highly coordinated project” no less (conspiracy anyone?) – lets you off the hook of actually doing something to improve the lot of yourself / family / group, either on your own or with sympathetic others. It’s a merry-go-round alright, but one those who are being unfairly scapegoated can easily step off: why stick around and be subjected to bigotry and abuse? People who are serious about change wouldn’t want a bar of it.

Mkura said...

Feminist, colonisation and white hegemony is not a conspiracy.

Is it not obvious that the invasion of indigenous land and the annihilation of indigenous societies doesn't happen on an ad hoc or accidental basis.

Someone kinda has to like plan some of it y'know. Raise armies, develop ideologies, ship over colonists, write the foreshore and seabed act. That sort of thing. This is all basic stuff really and I find it hard to beleive that you would participate in such a thread without some knowledge of such things.

Please don't feel scapegoated just because you get challenged. I'm just asking that you exam your positionality in terms of identity. What is your relationship to the dominant culture, etc etc?

Carl said...

the problem I have with being called white is exactly the same problem I have with calling friends of mine black...or yellow. I think it is a lazy generalisation that describes me imperfectly and defines me not at all.

Calling someone black or yellow - likewise - is lazy and just doesn't do them justice. If I'm going to talk about someone (or to someone), I really should learn enough about them to at least refer to them the way they would describe themselves.

I think identity is a matter of choice. If you choose to believe that you belong to a certain group - then that is what you belong to.
Culture is learned behaviour after's not like it is a static unchanging thing. I know plenty of BBC's in England (British Born Chinese) whose parents are MORE traditional than their families in HK or China.

Wishy-washy utopian liberalism maybe - but it owes nothing to any sense of borrowed guilt over the imperialist past of my forefathers. Most of my forefathers were treated quite as badly as anyone else within the british empire.

P.s I think I'm puce, by the way

che tibby said...

mkura, i would have agreed had you said "colonisation and hegemony" are the issue. conspiracy? no.

fiji, new zealand, china, zimbabwe (and sadly, increasingly) india all have in common is a hegemonic national identity.

but hegemony isn't a conspiracy, nor was the foreshore and seabed act. hegemony is a natural product of the nation-state system, as evidenced in the disparate political systems in the above paragraph.

Anonymous said...

Che, I believe Manakura indeed said:
"colonisation and white hegemony is not a conspiracy."

So, try that one again...?

che tibby said...

whoops. pesky 4am reading/posting... apologies mkura.

my point stands though. characterising the issue as a "white" one is not accurate. hegemony is not a product of white societies, it is a product of the nation-state system.

granted, europeans evolved the nation-state. but in application the nation-state encourages the same kind of behaviour in a range of different cultural settings.

colonisation and hegemony are not characteristically "white" behaviours. so constructing a discourse about "whiteness" is misleading.

feminist said...

mkura: I don't have time to answer your post fully, but I will respond to this bit:

"I'm just asking that you exam your positionality in terms of identity. What is your relationship to the dominant culture, etc etc?"

I liken your question to this one:
"Where are you from?" By listening to people I've met, I've come to understand why that question is offensive to people who look different from the majority group: it relegates them to the status of "Other" and suggests that what they have to say will be filtered through a lens of preconceptions, if not outright prejudice.

And, given that you appear to be prejudiced against "whites", it's also not unlike the question:

"When did you last beat your wife?".

steven crawford said...

Describing people as blacks and whites is loaded with American shame.

stereotyping? people that don't understand the problem with calling people whites are idiots.

French perspective said...

Che has written:
"colonisation and hegemony are not characteristically "white" behaviours. so constructing a discourse about "whiteness" is misleading. "

I think quite the contrary. It's typically white and whiteness is the core subject.

Another one said 'not all whites speak English'. Well it's not about English but whiteness, the French are also part of the dominant white world.

French perspective said...

People can hardly be objective. They can't forget for a second that they are white and try to understand others.

In France, Arab-type people suffer a great deal from racism and discrimination. Can a whitie try to take the place of an Algerian just for a short time? When he walks in the street, a policeman would ask for his ID document, often with brutality. When he goes to a club, the guard at the door would say 'it's full, no more room for you'. When he applies for a job with his Arab name, he would be answered 'the job is no more in offer'. Even when he changes his name into a French one, the fact that he lives in a poor suburb can prevent him find a job. When he tries to move out from his ghetto, noone would rent him an appartment. Things are really difficult for them, that's why there were those riots recently. Then white people would say 'they are just scum and delinquent'.

The implementation of affirmative action or quotas is a kind of acknowledgement that there is a systemic racism.

88 said...

whiteness isn't even really about racism.

racism requires a certain amount of forethought or even thought about race and stuff.

racists are kid of motivated and active.

whiteness means having someone else do your racism for you.

it means the racism is diffused throughout the whole society so you don't actually have to do it yourself or even think about it.

this is where white privilege comes into it.

well, 'race' issues exist still in the world and whose fault is that?

whites are still favoured in the world

whose fault is that?
who is responsible?

no-one obviously . . .

Mkura said...

Prejiduce against whites would be a bit difficult for me to maintain as I am white... and Maori... and Latino... and Irish... and (not neccessarily in that order). Please don't mistake my critique of whiteness (as a system of values, ideologies etc) as a dislike of white people.

I don't see the logic behind equating my question with "Where are you from" with "When did the last time you beat your wife?" Could you elucidate perhaps?

However I get the salient point which is that you have no desire or are unable to dispassionately examine your position in a white dominated colony. Fair enough I respect that.

But its a shame so many on this thread seem to share this resistance (props to those that are giving it a go) and I know that a lot of white people have a problematic relationship with white hegemony.

O well, business as usual I guess.

Che, I would argue in a really long winded way that narratives of dominance (Man over nature, Man over woman, God over everything, etc) lie at the heart of Western Modernity - you know, Logocentricism, Foucault, etc etc. I'm sure you know roughly what I'd say - a mash up of Post-structural, Neo Marxist, 3rd wave feminist and indigenous critical analysis.

I can't speak for other NWWOM (Non WASPs Without Own Ministry - thanks TzM!) but narratives of harmony lie at the core of Indigenous cultures - for example man is a part of nature not above it in Maori cosmogonies.

So I agree with French Perspective. Its white/Western values, epistemes and ways of structuring reality that are at issue. And anyone, regardless of colour and creed can be acculturated into that.

Maybe that sounds like Romanticism, but my analysis owes nothing to Rousseau, Byron, et al. and everything to the poets, artists, philosophers, scientists and trubadours of te ao Maori.

steven crawford said...

88 "well, 'race' issues exist still in the world and whose fault is that?

whites are still favoured in the world

whose fault is that?
who is responsible?"

Well, Racist's obviously!

Mkura said...

Anyway, who cares if white is offensive or not? When someone calls me white, brown, hori, radical whatever don't bother me none, even when the intention is to offend. This is because I know who I am and where I stand.

Discussing this 'white people' hoo ha is a sideshow which serves to avoid adressing what should be a more pressing issue.

It seems obvious that there is a dominant and dominating culture in Aotearoa. This culture has a whakapapa that can be traced directly back to Western Europe.

This situation sucks for everybody, (in some ways including white people). So what do yall think about it?

steven crawford said...

Well don't worry your pretty little male chauvinist nazi scum bag head about it then Mauka, (Just joking) not. It bloody well do's mater in racial harmony terms weather people offend each other or not.

French perspective, you said:"Another one said 'not all whites speak English'. Well it's not about English but whiteness, the French are also part of the dominant white world."

I am "Another one" My name is steven! It is actually about English because the English colonized New Zealand. The French Government committed an act of terrorism directed at Greenpeace and within our waters. The New Zealand peace flotilla crewed by middle class liberal privileged predominantly white skinned people, using European colonizing marine technology, where protesting the injustice of testing nuclear weaponry in Polynesian waters.

My point is New Zealand Europeans are not responsible for all of the worlds problems all of the time.

It is also true that not all of the New Zealand European population have criminal convictions as a result of protesting for the rights of south african "Indigenous" people. And some of us New Zealand Europeans don't mealy gain extra privilege due to colonization.

My personal experiences is way better than that. Tangata Whenua are part of my cultural and spiritual identity. But as I said in an earlier post, people that don't understand the offensiveness of "why do some White people get grumpy about being called whites" Are in fact Idiots.

Now don't get me wrong I am not calling Hannah Ho an idiot. This is because I believe she knows What she is saying will cause offense and in turn create debate.

feminist said...

mkura wrote:
“Prejiduce against whites would be a bit difficult for me to maintain as I am white... and Maori... and Latino... and Irish...”

Not at all. I know a number of staunch Maori nationalists who have Pakeha ancestry and yet make huge negative generalisations about non-Maori, illustrating their prejudice. One such person had his genealogy online and I found that his maternal great-grandparents were almost exact contemporaries of mine – English migrants who came to New Zealand in the 1870s. Were they, too, individually to blame for the effects of colonialism on Maori? Do they, too, get interrogated as to “where they stand on white hegemony?” What’s going on here? It seems more psychological than political to me.

“I don't see the logic behind equating my question [what is your relationship to the dominant culture?] with "Where are you from" with "When did the last time you beat your wife?" Could you elucidate perhaps?”

They are loaded questions. Look it up. Demagogues use them a lot.

“However I get the salient point which is that you have no desire or are unable to dispassionately examine your position in a white dominated colony. Fair enough I respect that.”

That is soooo disingenuous: you make an insulting assumption, then say you respect what you just invented!

Hey, I can drop names of authors I’ve read, too: Malcolm X (possibly before you were born); Franz Fanon, Paulo Freire, Stuart Hall (post-grad course in Race Relations in Education); Ahmed Iqbal, Edward Said, etc, etc. So much for your glib assumptions that I haven’t looked at other perspectives. I thought all these writers had something useful to say, and some have played a vital role at various points in history, in helping to leverage disadvantaged groups into a better position. Malcolm X was anti-white, but that was appropriate in Jim Crow America. I don’t think it’s appropriate in 21st century New Zealand, not when three in five Maori babies born each year have more than one ethnicity. Who’re they gonna blame?

That’s it from me. I strongly suspect that the point of Hannah’s challenge was to make “white people” angry and it worked. I regard her bigoted rant and some of the comments here as a kind of bullying and I was disappointed that Tze Ming allowed it to occupy her well-respected column space.

che tibby said...

mkura, you're copping it from all side today!

well, it'd be hypocritical for me to argue that there is not a dominant culture. much of my own writing has contested the mores of that dominance.

but, by the same measure, is it really all that bad? i think what threw me about hannoh's post is that i agreed with right up until she stated that belonging to the majority demands buying into the dominant values. and that is patently wrong.

the battle to unseat brash was a battle to oppose dominant values that undermined and over-rode minority rights and minority voices. i'm proud to belong to a majority that genuinely wants minorities to fit into their structures, even though the majority means might be misguided. and i'm proud to belong to a majority with leaders who step up and address things like the legacies of colonialism. the raupatu was a blight on my history, my family, and my nation.

i'm proudly part of the majority, but also agitate against attitudes that seek homogeneity and sameness. what i'm hearing from hannah though is that i'm just another member of the assimilationist mainstream, and that undermines me, my work, and my choices.

Anonymous said...

Don't pick on ordinary people. If you want a target, here's a REAL representative of anglo hegemony.

American public policy intellectual Professor Lawrence Mead of New York University
will deliver the 24th annual CIS John Bonython Lecture:

Anglo Primacy at the End of History: The Deep Roots of Power

Date: Thursday 28 June, 2007
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Auckland

Sponsored by the Centre for Independent Studies

steven crawford said...

Mkura, I do have respect for your contributions here. I was using your post to make my own point.
The same is true of calling Idiot.

feminist said...

Oops, my apologies, I got his name wrong. I meant Eqbal Ahmad.

But while I was looking for him I came across this site about Ahmed Iqbal Ullah, which also looks relevant to this discussion.

And I might as well add this page on Loaded Questions, since it was one of those that started the debate. It helps explain why such questions annoy people.

bangbang said...

che tibby said: "i think what threw me about hannoh's post is that i agreed with right up until she stated that belonging to the majority demands buying into the dominant values."

Where does she say this? I went back and looked and couldn't see it. She just seems to assert that all tauiwi are privileged in that they benefit from the history of colonisation.

Mkura said...

Che, as I said business as usual. Aside from being called a demagogue, that's new, I'll add it to the list.

One wo/man's blight is another's political, economic and social oppression! So you lost the moral high ground... we lost pretty much all the ground. Doesn't really bear comparison in my mind.

Surely in your years of study you must have realised most Maori don't want to fit into majority structures. They dont call it tino rangatirtanga and mana motuhake for nothing. We recognise that the majority culture doesn't work for us, our whenua, our values, our knowledges.

I sense from your that you equate my struggle as a Maori with that of the liberal left? If so then you are quite wrong. Most of the people I run with think the only difference between right and left is one has the chutzpah to stab you in the front.

Who are the leaders that wish to deal with colonisation in any real way? The ones who passed the Foreshore and Seabed Act? The ones that set a deadline for lodging Waitangi claims without cinsultation? The ones that continue to sell off stolen land through Landcorp?

Che, you do realise that the Crown has a policy of paying no more than %2 of the true value of any claim right? And that the Crown ignores between %70 and %90 of all tribunal reccommendations in any given claim? Its a deal alright, but not a settlement.

I'm not denying you have things to be proud of as a white man - Steven is right to point out Nuclear free and 1981 tour protests - but it seems you're picking the wrongs things to be proud of.

Mkura said...

Well I guess the difference between me and staunch Maori nationalists you know is that I'm not a Maori nationalist. That and I openly acknowledge all lines in my whakapapa, including the ones that mean I have a share in a certain amount of white privelege in Aotearoa. (Yep, I got no problem admitting that the (light) tone of my skin, my immersion in the majority culture, etc accords me certain narrow kinds of power, privelege and access.)

I was name dropping to Che, out of sheer laziness, not as some kind of oblique attack on your reading habits. Its not all about you.

I don't assume you're not well read in general. But it appears you know little of de/colonisation, critiques of empire or the colonial history of Aotearoa.

"That is soooo disingenuous."

Ok then prove me wrong and address the issue; i.e. give us your take on the nature of white privelege in Aotearoa. Like I keep trying to communicate; I am genuinely interested in what white people think of colonisation, and white hegemony. If you still feel thats loaded and interrogatory then you say tomato, I say tomater...

Now I know you're an avowed feminist who has done some interesting reading I'm even more interested in your critique of white hegemony (assuming you admit it exists?).

Michael S said...

I regard her bigoted rant and some of the comments here as a kind of bullying, and I was disappointed that Tze Ming allowed it to occupy her well-respected column space.

I reckon Hannah Ho's column was a bit provocative, but it made its points in a pretty laid back way, and didn't seem that ranty to me, and not at all bigoted. In fact, Tze ming is usually *more* ranty, and probably gets even *less* respect on her threads from the angry/off-topic white commenters, so I don't know what the f*ck 'feminist' is talking about. If Tzeming reads that comment she will probably crack up!

Maybe 'feminist' would feel more at home over at that 'Brown people are Bigots' thread that Russel Brown has going on right now over at Public Address System - so nice that white people have a special place to talk to each other in peace without the 'bullying' presence of those fraeky colored folks.

Anonymous said...

Far, this thread has got some interesting characters eh? All that postmodernism and romantism stuff is a bit over my head, but I gather that this Che Tibby guy though, is some kind fo legendary freedom fighter fo r Maori sovereignty... or like, a blogger who works for the government or something. Hey, same thing aye? That's easy enough to understand! So Mkura, the white man wants his dues? Give the white man his dues bro! Otherwise he'll have to keep comin back atcha with whiney ol lines like "how come we're the ones who end up copping the flack?" Pin a medal on the white man, quick, before he opens his mouth again!

che tibby said...

right... nice debate heating up.

bang bang: "Where does [hannah] say this? I went back and looked and couldn't see it."

how about: "You can be any sort of ethnicity to be a New Zealander. But to be a “real” New Zealander, according to the mainstream argument, you have to buy into dominant culture and values. And when you buy into that, you can forget..."

as far as arguing that tauiwi are privileged... yeah? care to point out the sky is blue? it's not an argument. it's a statement of fact. interesting thing is, tauiwi doesn't mean "white".

anon (0601): geez. got borderline personal pretty quick there, my friend. learn the arguments before you join the adults.

mkura: i agree and have written as much. the treaty settlement process returns woeful amounts of money as reparation. but the policy has always been, since the very beginning, to symbolically restore concepts my pakeha brain doesn't fully grasp. things like manawhenua.

as for my personal position... i find it a bit rich that anon doesn't use their real name, but is happy to go me.

that said, not all public servants agree or support policies like the seabead and foreshore, or the mandating process for treaty settlement, or the sale of landcorp lands, or the deadline for treaty settlements, or the possible closure of te puni kokiri should the government change.

but hannah's post suggests that because i am a majority member, i will support such things.

and you're right, the things to be proud of are limited. but i've lived in places where the monoculture runs deep and true, and i can see that here isn't so bad by comparision (i.e. the usual disclaimer). i've also watched the kinds of battles we're talking about for 20 years, and written about them for 15.

that position allows me to argue that the liberal left aren't fighting for the rights of minorities. they're fighting others about the rights of minorities. the lib.left argues that you should be listened to, and given space.

it's working, and things are getting better.

steven crawford said...

Well that pretty much raps it up. We don't like being stereotyped. And we don't like being kicked and slapped indiscriminently. We do however do the best we can with what we have.

Anonymous said...

Danny Butt wrote:

“During the hardcore cultural nationalist days of the 50s-70s there was a very committed project, quite often from the white settler left”

This comment is more relevant to the aggressively nationalist White Australia period, rather than what was happening in New Zealand in the 1950s-1970s. Emerging nationalism in New Zealand was quite muted; visible in literature, some sections of academia (Keith Sinclair’s history is a prime example), the dialect used on national radio and television (formerly standard English), and the ending of the practice of standing for God Save the Queen in movie theatres.

The biggest difference between Australia and New Zealand in their separation from Mother England was in the treatment of the indigenous people. For all its shortcomings, the integration policy of the 1960s did express a will to improve outcomes for Maori and, to a limited extent, to recognise Maori values as New Zealand values. The Currie Report of 1961 was an important milestone. It was the first major report card on outcomes for Maori relative to Pakeha, the first “closing the gaps” report and it was welcomed by Maori as a call to action. Some older Maori leaders today benefited from the educational initiatives put in place at that time and inspired others to follow suit. One example of a legislative change that was specifically argued for on the grounds that New Zealand should recognise Maori values was the Status of Children Act 1969, which removed the concept of “illegitimacy” from the statute books (sadly, the treatment of adoption went in the other direction).

In short, New Zealand diverged from its British heritage in quite a different way from what was happening in Australia at that time. I hope other people critically examine Butt’s arguments in the light of factual evidence. They appear to me to be heavily dependent on sophistry and rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Danny wrote:

“Take a white New Zealander and a white US resident from New England and drop them in a black neighbourhood in Oakland, California and the responses are more similar than different.”

Perhaps this analogy is more relevant to the conference theme:

Take a white born and bred New Zealander like Russell Brown and a white recent migrant like Danny Butt, born and bred in Queensland (who identifies with a “white diaspora”), drop them in Ruatoria and ask the locals who counts as a “Pakeha”, and who they regard as an outsider who still has much to learn.

Perhaps the conference attendees could discuss why “white” is "not a problem" in Australia, while it is here.

everybot said...

One of the many Anonymouses (Anonymice?) seems to be saying (agreeing, or is maybe the same person as the previous Anonymous), basically, that Danny Butt doesn't know what he's talking about because he's an immigrant. Is this a fair reading?

"Take a white born and bred New Zealander like Russell Brown and a white recent migrant like Danny Butt, born and bred in Queensland (who identifies with a “white diaspora”), drop them in Ruatoria and ask the locals who counts as a “Pakeha”, and who they regard as an outsider"

Good idea! Yes, we will see who comes out more popular, especially given Russell Brown's antipathy towards the Maori Party, and Danny Butt's close relationship with Hoani Waititi Marae.

Okay, a bit of an unfair throwaway I guess but that's what you get when you assume 'immigrants' are more ignorant of Maori than 'born and bred' Pakeha. Kind of racist right? Ha ha. Seriously though, is Anonymous/mice trying to say that Australians can be 'white' because they have a more racist history and more racist present, whereas Pakeha o Aotearoa are just way nicer and shouldn't be tarred with that brush?

bangbang said...

Arg okay, this is getting complicated. So Che said something weird about what he thought the original post said, something about the article having lost him at the 'white people inevitably have to buy into dominant values' statment, then I said to Che Tibby: "Where does [hannah] say this?" Che said: "how about: "You can be any sort of ethnicity to be a New Zealander. But to be a “real” New Zealander, according to the mainstream argument, you have to buy into dominant culture and values." That's a strange reading ie, being read as accusatory, and offensive to 'right-on' Pakeha like Che Tibby. What she is saying is that "according to the mainstream argument", "to be a 'real' New Zealander" you have to buy into dominant culture/values. Nowhere does, as Che says, "she state(d) that belonging to the majority demands buying into the dominant values." She's quite clearly saying that the so called "mainstream argument" (ie Don Brash et al) defines that buying-in as a requisite for being a so-called 'real' New Zealander. This seems to be stuff that Che Tibby would generally agree with, so the defensiveness is disappointing.

che tibby said...

to bangbang: ahhhh... that is so, so much more clear.

had hannah indicated from the outset that she was talking about the brash-esque assimilationist argument then i would have agreed from the outset.

this is a great example of where pendantics and semantics meet!

so. on the same page now.

but, now i have a question for you. do you honestly think that asian people suffer because of c21st white privilege? how often are asian people denied jobs or housing because they're asian?

i've seen the racism, sexism and general stupidness normal to human beings, but does new zealand as a white nation really prevent asian people from getting ahead?

and don't get me wrong, i'm assuming it does. but i'd like some evidence?

Anonymous said...

No, everybot, it’s not a fair reading. I was suggesting that the word “Pakeha” may have different meanings than tauiwi. I personally don’t think Pakeha is compatible with identifying with a “white diaspora”. I think it’s a word that denotes a shared experience of living here in New Zealand with the tangata whenua who coined the term, a shared history that means when a Pakeha sees a Maori face in a majority white country overseas, they feel more of a sense of belonging with the Maori than with the white residents of that country. Danny’s analogy is too simplistic for me. America has so many divisions by race, class, religion, political affiliation that I could not assume in advance that I would feel more affinity with a white American than with a black or brown one. It depends on the context. I don’t think there is such a thing as a “white” perspective on everything. That’s cultural determinism, aka racist.

I was also suggesting that identifying as “white” has different connotations in Australia than in New Zealand. Historically, it’s been used to differentiate the settlers/transportees from the indigenous peoples (still referred to as Blacks), then after WWII from new migrants from Southern Europe, and more recently Asians and Middle Eastern peoples. It is an assertion of whiteness by whites.

Whereas in New Zealand, the fact that we have two main cultures is reflected in the language used for people of mainly European origin: Pakeha and non-Maori. Both of those terms are from the Maori perspective, illustrating a greater level of recognition of that perspective than there is of “non-whites” in Australia.

It’s not about personalities or who’s “way nicer”, or who would be “more popular” in Ruatoria. Nor are my comments on Danny's views anti-immigrant.

I agree with Che Tibby that this whole discussion would have been a lot better if the people who initiated it had been clearer about what they meant, and not made the assumption that all "white" New Zealanders agree with Don Brash's view on ethnic relations.

bangbang said...

Che: Dunno why you're asking me - why don't you google it, or ask an Asian?

bangbang said...

Oh, I see, you've taken the name of a small, prehistoric, club-wielding boy to mean an Asian chicken dish. No worries, these things happen.

che tibby said...


lol. i'm assuming you mean bambam.

i, otoh, was fishing for data. no worries.

Mkura said...

Hannah Ho calling white people 'white people' on a blog aint racist you sheltered priveleged liberals. Its just Hannah Ho calling white people 'white people'.

Yall clearly have no idea what its like to experience racism. As someone once said to me (when I made the same mistake) 'that shit aint nothing, there's no hate in calling white folk 'white folk'.

Racism is constructing a vast ideoloical complex that justfies the annhilation of entire peoples on the basis of 'biological inferiority' and manifest destiny.

Racism is Pakeha living on average 8 years longer than Maori.

Racism is the legislated denial of due legal process to a people based on their ethnicity a la foreshore and seabed act.

Racism is the wanton rape, murder and burning of villages in Te Urewera in the 1860s and 70s, perpetrated by Crown forces.

Racism is not someone calling you white, especially when that person doesn't hate you. Thats a trifling. Most you people don't know shit about racism and you certainly havn't experienced it on this thread.

Mkura said...

Che, a symbolic restoration of manawhenua is a contradiction in terms. Symbols are an insult to me and all Maori people whose land yall live and prosper on. How is a symbol going to help a Maori community heal itself and prosper as a Maori community? The settlement process is a divisive fraud.

Things are not that bad here? Why don't you pop up the Auckland central ICU ward and tell that to the brown patients that make up %90 of the population there. Or to the Waimana Valley where the people live in shacks because the government came and stole all the fertile land. Sure they would beg to differ.

"it's working, and things are getting better."

By what and whose measure? I'm curious as to how you define progress in terms of the problems white hegemony creates?

Anonymous said...

mkura: why not focus your anger on the tobacco industry? Smoking is a large part of the reason Maori have shorter lives.

How does brow-beating individual Pakeha about their attitude to
"white hegemony" help house people in Waimana Valley?

Unless you address specific problems with specific solutions, it's easy to conclude that you're just posturing.

Russell Brown said...

Good idea! Yes, we will see who comes out more popular, especially given Russell Brown's antipathy towards the Maori Party, and Danny Butt's close relationship with Hoani Waititi Marae.

Ahem. Guess I should say something. I don't have an antipathy towards the Maori Party - if you were to take the trouble to look back you'd see I have admired the way the party revived the idea of grassroots politics. I think the Maori Party has been a great thing for democracy.

It would, however, be true to say that I have an antipathy towards Tariana Turia's logic fades - about the immigrant peril, teenage pregnancy, psychology and a number of other things.

I was also critical of her vote against the civil unions bill. As Metiria Turei put it: "If anyone understands the devastating effect of the tyranny of the majority, surely it is she."

The Maori Party, at least in so far as it manifests in the views of its co-leader, is a brown conservative party, and the simple fact is that I'm going to have much the same differences with it as I am with a white conservative party like National.

So I guess there are perils in sacrificing every other way of looking at the world to some monolithic construct around race.

Russell Brown said...

I also feel bound to note that my daily reality is bound up in a form of alienation whose dimensions even I can't really grasp. I have two children on the autistic spectrum - if you want to talk about a minority living forever in someone else's world, there's one.

This doesn't make racism and history go away, but it does mean I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about my two strange boys as white, male oppressors.

I did feel that in her original post Hannah identified herself as part of a list of out-groups in such a way as to absolve herself of any sort of privilege. It ain't necessarily so, as any number of neurodiversity activists will tell you.

Organisers: said...

Che Tibby asked:

but, now i have a question for you. do you honestly think that asian people suffer because of c21st white privilege? how often are asian people denied jobs or housing because they're asian?

. . . . and don't get me wrong, i'm assuming it does. but i'd like some evidence

In response:

Human Rights in New Zealand Today: Ngā Tika Tangata O Te Motu (report)

There is an increasing body of research, particularly through the New Settlers Programme at Massey University, about issues faced by new migrants, which highlights difficulties in finding employment, difficulties in accessing health and other services, and experiences of prejudice and discrimination (e.g., Spoonley, 2003; Spoonley & Trlin, 2004).

Chinese? Sorry, there's no job

Victoria University researchers sent resumes from four fictional people - two immigrant Chinese and two New Zealanders - to 85 technology recruitment agencies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Dr Anne-Marie Masgoret and Professor Colleen Ward, of the university's centre for applied cross-cultural research, found that in 27 per cent of cases the Chinese applicants were told there were no job opportunities and contact with the agency was terminated. That happened to just 3 per cent of the New Zealand "applicants".


A rose by any other name

Ethnic Asian applicants of equal quality. will be less likely to be shortlisted for employment than. European/Pakeha applicants. Impact of ethnic names on ...

Joint study from University of Auckland and NBR - 2005 -

Spoonley, P. (2003, November). The labour market incorporation of immigrants in post-welfare New Zealand. Paper presented to the Labour Market Dynamics Workshop, Massey University, Albany.

Henderson, Anne (2003) "Untapped talents: The employment and settlement experiences of skilled Chinese in New Zealand", pp.141-164 (Chapter 7), in Ip, M. (ed.) Unfolding History, Evolving Identity: The Chinese in New Zealand, Auckland: Auckland University Press. (also as Reprint No.14)

Henderson, Anne, Trlin Andrew D. and Watts, Noel (2001) "Squandered skills? The employment problems of skilled Chinese immigrants in New Zealand", chapter 7 (pp.106-123), in Starrs, Roy (ed.) Asian Nationalisms in an Age of Globalization, Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press (Japan Library). (also as Reprint No.10)
Johnston, R.J., Trlin, A.D., Henderson, A.M., North, N.H. and Skinner, M.J. (2005)

"Housing Experience and Settlement Satisfaction: Recent Chinese, Indian and South African Skilled Immigrants to New Zealand." Housing Studies, 20, (3). May: 401-421.

North, N. and Higgins, Colin (1999) "The employment of immigrants in New Zealand: Employers' perspectives and experiences", pp.423-435, in Tipples, Rupert and Shrewsbury, Helen (eds) Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Conference of the International Employment Relations Association, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand, 13-16 July 1999, Lincoln, Canterbury: Lincoln University.

Trlin, A.D., Henderson, A.M. and North, N. (2004) "Skilled Chinese and Indian immigrant workers", pp.205-219, in Spoonley, Paul, Dupuis, Ann and De Bruin, Anne (eds) Work and Working in Twenty-first Century New Zealand, Palmerston North: Dunmore Press Ltd.

Anonymous said...

Mkura: you might like to read The White Anti-Racist Is an Oxymoron: An Open Letter to the “White Anti-Racist” on

che tibby said...

organisers: thanks!

the titles and abstracts map some reading i did on attitudes to southern european migrants in australia.

those attitudes and experiences were set in the late 1960s and early 1970s. some things never change, it seems.

Jane Janie said...

Wow! A lot of discussion here.

So, how do I feel about being white/being called white?


I realise that my skin colour, and the socio-economic conditions associated with my parents’ race/position in a colonial society mean that I benefit.

I feel uncomfortable that people who have darker skin than mine, who have lived in New Zealand a lot longer than me are frequently asked where they come from. People look at me and assume I am a ‘New Zealander’, whatever that means.

I think people feel uncomfortable being called white because it points to this privilege. Of course there are multiple types of oppression or disadvantage that people who are white experience (on the basis of socio-economic status, sexuality, gender and many others). But is that the point in this thread?

I think many people realise that white privilege exists, of course in a setting complicated by many other forms of marginalisation, for sure.

But what to do about white privilege? Where is it?

I think a lot of people want to say ‘not me! I’m not a racist - don’t say I am’, and defensiveness comes into it. I will try not to do that too much.

I will also not follow others elsewhere and say that because I am white I am intrinsically racist, which is a way of trying to acknowledge the implicit baggage that comes with being white. To call myself racist makes it sound like I have no control over my own choices.

In these kinds of debates, people should try to have thick skin, and should try to avoid name calling, which detracts from the point. With race issues, we are feeling our way. No words will be perfect. White can be seen as a loaded term, it makes me uncomfortable, but I can try to think about the point Hannah is making, rather than only the terminology.

To only debate terms misses the issue: white privilege. As open prejudice against non whites is less and less acceptable, white privilege seems to go into hiding, yet in lots of tiny little decisions and events a general picture emerges that yes, various people who are not white consistently receive a lower standard of care or respect or opportunity than is acceptable.

So, what can be done? I think the conference this weekend is a start, but white people need to think about their own life choices. So for me… what can I do about a state of affairs where non white people/people of colour/[insert preferred term here], fairly consistently get treated badly, (in often subtle ways) while I fairly consistently benefit due to (among other things) the colour of my skin?

I have some thoughts on that, but since this is already a ridiculously long post, I may stop here, for now.

Jane Janie said...

And to clarify: when I said
"As open prejudice against non whites is less and less acceptable" I am referring to acceptability within dominant culture. This is obviously unacceptable.

Mkura said...

Mga mihi nui kia koe,(read: big ups, props, etc) ko Jane Janie, for your thoughtful comment. It has made a nice change on this thread. I look forward to your next.

Russel, I feel squeamish about you bringing your kids into this, but that said, no one here has ever said "all white people are oppresssors/evil/racists" let alone you and yours. Dunno what has been motivating the other POCs here but I have only wanted white people to discuss privilege and their relationship(s) to the dominant culture in Aotearoa. That whole white people are evil shit is played out and its not constructive.

Far from absolving privilege, Hannah pointed out that "everyone can suffer multiple oppressions, have multiple identities, and have multiple responsibilities". Most people I've met who belong to a marginalised group tend to be conscious of power, privilege dominance - theirs and others.

Anon, sorry if you feel browbeaten but if people here actually discussed the topic at hand instead of making excuses then i wouldn't get so hoha. Promise to comport myself with the restraint and dignity becoming a noble savage such as myself... so long as you address the issue. Take Jane as your role model.

steven crawford said...

"Racism is the legislated denial of due legal process to a people based on their ethnicity a la foreshore and seabed act."

The denial of due legal process in such resent times has been obscene.

I still don't see how insisting European people are wrong to feel uncomfortable about being called "Whites" is going to resolve that.

che tibby said...

morena! from a self-reconciled member of the privileged majority! (although, "privileged majority" is a tautology...)

mkura, "noble savage" & "jane as role model". you aren't swinging from vines and wrestling crocodiles are you?

Mkura said...

Steven I think white people should feel uncomfortable, with that label, never said they shouldn't.

I just think that most of you are citing the non-existent reasons (i.e. racism). You should feel uncomfortable because 'white people' implicitly refers to systemic white privilege and dominance.

What am insisting is that such a system exists, and I am asking that people talk about it. Well I was, now I can't be bothered trying to squeeze any more blood from that stone.
Anon, I think everyone else here should read the Open Letter as i already agree with much (tho not all) of the analysis.

Che if by "crocodiles" you mean 'social structures that marginalise tangata whenua" then my answer is much of the time, yes. Anyway back to my last question for you: by what and whose measure are you able to convincingly say "things are getting better"? And what are 'things' anyway?

Snowy said...

One reason I find the question “where do you stand on white hegemony” objectionable is that it clashes with the egalitarian ethos – “Jack is as good as his master” – that the settlers brought to New Zealand, an ethos that was in sharp contrast to the hated class system back Home. It assumes that the white person being questioned is of a privileged class, when only a small minority actually are.

Jane says she is one of the privileged (or rather her parents are, so she benefits; she doesn’t quite “fess up”). She wants to know how she can help. This is a bit like a modern version of “noblesse oblige”, the moral economy in which privilege must be balanced with duty towards the less privileged. It poses no real threat to the continued existence of inequality; it just softens it. One reading of Mkura’s pleasure at Janie’s post is that he’s chuffed that one of the “higher-ups” (whites) is willing to agree with his point of view that whites should feel uncomfortable. What if they all did? How would that change things? Would “noblesse oblige” en masse make a difference? I very much doubt it, and so did Jack.

My answer to the question “where do you stand on white hegemony” is: “Not on the pedestal on which you want to place me, and from which you want me to smile down on you”. My identity comes from my family and from the work I do. There are plenty of ways to help - quietly, without fanfare, without mea culpa, or genteel platitudes.

Jane Janie said...

First up, thank you Mkura.

I said I’d write something about what I think white people might be able to do, so here goes. This is a starting point (but a really long one!).

I have also read the open letter which anon posted the link to. I don’t agree with everything in there, but it does raise good points about being careful not to speak for people of colour, among other things.

It also suggested thinking critically about structured social arrangements which reproduce whiteness (which the author explains as problematic due to being intrinsic to white privilege).

But… I’ll backtrack a bit. Looking at the length of my post here, I think I’ll talk about the structures (which Mkura just mentioned as the crux of the issue) next post.

To start, I think white people need to listen to and read critical perspectives on race, from people who aren’t white. A while ago, Tze Ming posted a link to the Blac(k)ademic blog by Nubian: and I read a lot of really interesting perspectives on race there. At times I certainly felt uncomfortable. But it is good to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and think about where a lot of anger on these issues comes from. It isn’t from nowhere.

One thing that seemed pretty clear to me was that for a lot of people writing, race was ‘the big one’ in terms of forms of marginalisation. The problem with ‘one-size-fits-all feminism’ illustrates this. This view of feminism misses how white women have often assumed that since there were some similarities in gender discrimination between them and women of colour that white woman had nothing to do with structures that (re)produce racist systems and experiences for non-white people.

From seriously and critically thinking about what race has meant for non white people, I think white people can start thinking about our own life choices. This can mean being more self aware; how do you interact with non-white people? Do you expect them to acknowledge and listen to you – but you don’t listen yourself? Who do you interview for jobs? Who gets employed? If English isn’t someone’s first language, are you patient (or patronising?). It’s a fine line.

Sure, it isn’t easy to get things right all the time.

One post on Nubian’s blog was by a white woman who worked with an African-American man. One of his close relatives died, and what the woman always did for grieving families was to bring them food. She always brought fried chicken. At the drive-through she worried that the family would think she only bought fried chicken for them because they were black. She was right, the family felt pretty strange about her choice of food, even though it was what she would have bought any family. So these trivial - and tricky kinds of examples show that ‘getting it right’ isn’t easy. But you still have to interact even if you stuff it up.

This interaction extends to angry and critical perspectives.
People need to engage with other ideas, not just the ones that confirm their way of seeing the world. You might change your mind, or you even if you don’t, perhaps you could understand that it isn’t unreasonable for non-white people to hold some opinions that they do. The open letter to white anti-racists is one example. Some of it I agree with, other parts I don’t. But it was good to read.

To avoid perspectives that confront you is to say things right now are just fine. I think it's clear that they're not.

Jane Janie said...

Hey snowy, just read your comment. I'm not trying to be noble here, or talk of my 'obligations' in order to make myself look nice while I still benefit from an unequal system. I'm trying to say I think white privilege exists and that it affects me - a white person. I don't think acknowledgement always has to be patronising.

steven crawford said...

Education! when I went to "Maori school" as it was classified as during the 1970s. It didn't officially teach Te Reo Maori.

however the Pakeha teacher dropped dead one day after school and was given a Tangi and burial plot on the Marae. Tamariki learned a bit of Te Reo Maori.

No real point here just it was an interesting experience to have had.

snowy said...

jane janie says:

"To avoid perspectives that confront you is to say things right now are just fine."

Not so. You might just disagree with that perspective and have a different one, while still being critical of the status quo. There are always more than two alternatives in the real world.

I liken your argument to a thought-terminating cliche popular among zealots and evangelists the world over:

"If you are not with us, you are against us."

Jane Janie said...

Snowy: I realise that there are more than two perspectives in the real world. Disagreeing with a perspective can involve engaging with it. But to insulate yourself away from disagreement, that’s what I take issue with. I think there is a tendency to avoid perspectives by looking at the anger in them, rather than the content.

I’m sure I could have worded my ‘to avoid perspectives…’ sentence better.

Also, great that you point out the importance of ‘helping quietly’ – but isn’t this a discussion forum?

steven crawford said...

It is possible to agree with perspective's conflicting with another.

My perspective here comes from multiple points of view.

That is the guts of the argument here. It is weather or not there is any such thing a singular perspective described as here by the organizer as Whiteness.

“Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet.”

This sounds like the ramblings of someone with cultural perspectives akin to Adolph Hitler.

Anonymous said...

mkura, i'm netless for a few days. will reply when back - che

danny said...

A couple of brief notes on this conversation which I've just caught up with sorry.

(The conference was excellent by the way, and those who weren't there really missed out)

Firstly to the Anon who is accusing me of sophistry (there's a white-ass word if ever I've heard one :) [note: not making any assumption about your race] ) - I think you're having trouble distinguishing conversations about forests and trees. I never said NZ wasn't different. I'm saying there is a broader similarity across the white diaspora, which is not unlike how e.g. Maori and other Pacific communities are connected. You kind of dug yourself in a whole when you end up caricaturing my argument then calling it racist. I'm not one for logic, I've always looked for a bit more empirical support for how racist my behviour is - e.g. "Do Maori find my work useful? Do the Asian community find my work interesting?"

I've got a long way to go on that front but I feel like I've made a small start, and that's all I think Pakeha should be able to do to begin to fulfil their role of "belonging": talk about it in a way Maori generally feel is legit. Some people will say that Maori will never feel that it's legit but that hasn't been my experience (there are a range of views in the Maori community just as there are in the Pakeha world), and I have to say that understanding my relationship to a broader white culture more clearly (and not throwing a spazz whenever the word white is mentioned) has been central to that so I hope this can provide a path for others.

I laughed at the "Pakeha Survivor" idea. I've already had discussions about a related project I'd like to pitch: a cooking show where two Pakeha guys end up having to cook on the marae for an unknown number of guests. All sorts of hilarity would ensue as they ask for recipes for boilup, bemoan the lack of expensive balsamic vinegar, and are baffled at how what they thought were servings for fifty turned out to feed about 20. I figure you could get some whiteware companies to sponsor it so as a payoff for putting up with us for the night the marae could get a new kitchen. And there are plenty of tangata whenua who could do the scriptwriting. Pakeha need more distinctive jokes about us told by other NZers on TVNZ if we're going to have a strong national identity I reckon.

But seriously I should clarify one thing, which is that I don't have a "strong relationship with Hoani Waititi marae", that connection came through one of our organisational group and one of the presenters. The point I'm often trying to get across is that Pakeha are often in an "all or nothing" approach to engagement with the Maori world, when it's quite possible for someone with very little knowledge of matauranga Maori such as myself to collaborate with Maori on projects if you're prepared to not have to know everything in advance and ask for advice with respect and genuine curiosity about how to do things the right way. I think this is very difficult for us who are brought up in a Western education system which emphasises the need to know and control things individually.

The other amusing thing about the Pakeha survivor idea is that presumably the commentor didn't know that for the last six years I've spent my summers just out of Ruatoria, so I'd definitely be able to point Russell in the right direction at the Hikurangi Foodmarket. Anyway, I don't want beef with Russell, even if we would fundamentally disagree on issues related to colonisation and culture, he gave Tze Ming Mok a platform and I think that was a brave move.

I have to say, though, that the Pakeha mythology of Ruatoria is pretty out of step with my limited experience, and I find the constant associations of negativity and violence really depressing. Every community has its problems, but it just seems you can mention the name of the place and add any generic "Maori as a social problem" narrative and you have a story that sells newspapers to people who'd never go there but love to read examples of their own superiority. The same deal happens to Redfern in Australia, and it makes me sick to my stomach.

The substantial stuff I'll leave to mkura who is, as always, keeping it real. And for my Pakeha crew, take it easy on yourselves. You're all good people if you're reading this with respect, and you can't undo decades of colonisation overnight - but let's just work on dropping the anxiety, defensiveness, the need to be "let off the hook" and justifying the status quo. And let's start finding our sense of belonging not in a colonial nation-state, but in terms set by the people who've been here for a lot longer than us. It might mean giving up a few ideas about what identity means, but the payoffs in long-term sustainability will be awesome for us, if my recent experience is anything to go by.

steven crawford said...

OK danny, so now you know a little about hui. Some of us Pakeha have known our place within Maoridom since early childhood. That is what's so annoying about The Whites are over defensive and inherently stupid blog. I don't see how your cooking show idea is going to help race relations,(where you thinking Hudson and Hall... or did you invasive a couple of king country farmers( who might actually be benefiting from genocidal activity's.

Let's have another look:

"Shock, horror!! Well, hey, no-one’s just one label. You can be Irish and Pākehā and white and middle-class and heterosexual and monogamous and a man. Just like I am Chinese New Zealand and tauiwi and middle class and queer and a woman. Yes, everyone can suffer multiple oppressions, have multiple identities, and have multiple responsibilities!! Amazing!!

Pakeha are not all ignorant fools. Just like not all Chinese deploy nuclear weapons on Tibetan soil.

Mkura said...

Wow, still going.

Che, I'm waiting, the weekend is very much over and I'm sure yo back in net coverage....

and further to that you said
"but, now i have a question for you. do you honestly think that asian people suffer because of c21st white privilege? how often are asian people denied jobs or housing because they're asian?"

Isn't it like your job or something to know about shit like that. I mean you do work for the govt dept that tracks such things right?

Steven, I made a similar request of feminist and got the 'don't be a demagogue' hand. But I'm hoping you like to share more than her... so, I'm genuinely interested in knowing what your whakaaro is behind this statement:

"Some of us Pakeha have known our place within Maoridom since early childhood"

I'm not trying to flame you, i'm just interested to know more about how you see your place, and that of the wider Pakeha population. If you're not just posturing then it sounds like you have an interesting story.

Mkura said...

Ok, post hui war stories time I reckon:

The Sweetest Moment of Sweet As

Second Session first day, and there's that discussion on this silly 'Native Pakeha' or 'Pakeha Indigeneity' (to Aotearoa) idea that Michael King just invented in the late 90s.

The discussion was dominated (now thats a loaded term in this context, lol) by the Pakeha present. None definitively said it was an illusion, and that they didnt agree with it. I sat there thinking,

"This is obviously such bullshit. Pakeha not being indigenous is in the same league as sky is blue/grass is green obviousness. I should open my mouth and point out the glaring reasons why Pakeha can never be indigenous. Ah fuck it, I'm sick of having to point out the obvious to Pakeha. Save my breath ay?"

Then Mangzhu, a 17 year old Chinese Aotearoa activist gets up and just cuts thru the BS and says something like

"My understanding of indigeneity is that it is closely tied to the position of being colonised. Therefore Pakeha can not and never will be indigenous".

Well shit goddamn, it was all i could do to stop myself from leaping to my feet and cheering wildly. I was so happy that none of us Maori present had to state the obvious.

Luckily I controlled myself, as it would have blown my cover (I told many people I was a Pakeha builder trying to figure out how to talk to my redneck work mates. O the joys of being a pale Maori...)

Thanks Mangzhu.

Onwards to the glorious brown power/yellow peril revolution!

Mkura said...

I said
"Onwards to the glorious brown power/yellow peril revolution!"

But first stop spellchecks-ville: sorry spelt the name all wrong. Should be Mengzhu. Sorry sis.

Peeps misspell my name all the time (Cunning Timanaqura is my favorite interpretation so far? and it really pisses me off. Arohamai.

che tibby said...

kane, morena.

i agree on the "indigenous pakeha" thing, and have argued as much as well.

apologies for not getting back, but the weekend extended till tuesday, then work had me travel on wednesday, in an all-day thing friday.

thursday was dedicated to my own home life. i'm sure you get the picture.

ok, points one by one.

1. i'm not to use work statistics in private (read:"online") conversations. plus, I was wanting someone else to put up the stats for public consumption.

2. agree with pakeha indigeneity issue, as stated. i was declined a job once because i'd publically gone a minister of the crown on his assertion being from wainui o mata made him "indigenous".

3. still too busy to dreg up stats from public sources. and... i'm a bit bored with this thread. so, if it suits you, you're right. here are some examples

- maori are far worse off than they were 40 years ago when the '67 land confiscation act was passed.

- maori smoke more and drink more, have worse health outcomes.

- maori are less likely to be in white-collar occupations. there is no cohort of celebrated maori entrepreneurs.

- maori land is more likely to be taken for public works, government fiat, or by dodgy local councils.

- there is less land in maori ownership, and less home ownership by maori.

- maori are less likely to be in tertiary education, and te reo continues to decline.

- less youth speak te reo with a degree of fluency than any time since 67.

- there is less capital owned directly by individual maori, corporate iwi, or other forms of organisation.

- there is no recourse for maori to take grievances directly to the crown, and there has been no effort to address historical injustics wraught by colonialism.

- there is no research into maori health or well-being conducted by maori.

- there is no celebration of things maori by the majority.

i could go on, but i have to get out and on with the day!

Mkura said...

"i'm a bit bored with this thread. so, if it suits you, you're right."

It must be nice to be able to get bored of other peoples struggle for political/economic/social security and just get back to ones comfortable privileged positon in dominant society.

Unfortunately some of us wake up, live and even sleep this struggle every day. Its not something we can take a holiday from or only engage with when it come in a form we find 'interesting' or 'non-threatening'.

Hope you had a good day! ;)

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