Calling all white, old, rich men who are decent – please rein in your peers!

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…….because there are some who are giving you lot a bad name. They are doing truly awful things.  And I want to believe that those few are not representative of you. Yes I am going to maintain my optimism for the true leaders among you. Leaders who understand the privilege you have and the responsibility to do well with it. For this blog your group shall be known as the WORMs – white old rich men. Yes I just imposed you all into a manufactured construct.

I think it is really important that any group call their own to account when any one of them go wild. This is why for example Māori women have taken flak when we call out our own Māori men who are woefully misbehaving. There comes a time when we have to ask any group to step up and reign in the terror.  WORMs – you are up!

We of lesser power, lesser resource and lesser platform apparently are getting nowhere in calling certain menacing individuals to account. How is it that our country’s most prominent newspaper did not fire columnist Bob Jones when someone as powerful as I am (cough) called them shite. My suffering sense of self-importance has yet to recover from the Herald’s inaction after they printed Jones’ rape apologist nonsense.

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And the New Zealand Herald has done it again. It took a clear breach of media guidelines with the coverage of suicide for them to issue a sort of apology this Wednesday. Bob Jones had expressed his redundant diatribe again and I will not link to his column. Read instead Sarah Wilson’s article. Wilson highlights our lack of understanding around mental health issues and how Bob Jones does further damage with his ignorance. These are real peoples’ lives we are fooling around with when we give such garbage a huge pass for the sake of entertainment. Were it not for the technical breach that may have landed them in BSA hot water, the Herald would not have removed the harm-inducing parts of Jones’ article. Because Bob Jones is their money spinner, their sensationalist crass piece of non-media that gets the viewership clicks. They love it. The New Zealand Herald love to induce harm. So their front-page headline on Wednesday “Time for Len Brown to go” blah blah something or rather posturing morality and all? I did not stop to read it which is why I think I just now got the exact wording wrong. If the Herald had lead with “Time for Bob Jones to go” I tell you I would have read that article up the wazoo!

MediaWorks also like to cause harm. Why else would they give another WORM such as Paul Henry such platforms even after his appalling performances with TVNZ? MediaWorks. Who employ a range of radio announcers that like to slingshot our nation back into the dark ages for example where we blame rape survivors for being raped. There are too many WORMs in positions of power who perpetuate danger. While I am here – up yours Vodafone for giving Paul Henry the stage at the recent NZ music awards. In the space of the few vomit inducing seconds he managed to prove what a talentless, mindless, ignorant un-funny waste of airtime he is. Just why?

Oh yes. Paul Henry is another supposed money spinner.

Come on Aotearoa and WORMs. We care about more than spinning money do we not? I know we also care about informed robust discussion from relevant voices rather than ignorant ranting. We care about being challenged yes and that requires an equitable playing field in doing so. We care about real gut tickling humour rather than crass lazy insults. We care about intriguing stories that keep us gripped to the edge of our seats rather than monotone dribble from ill-informed commentators. We care about quality journalism, innovative reporting, leading insights and motivational stories. And we care about our children, our families and our community members who we continue to put in danger when we validate arrogant individuals.

This brings me to freedom of speech. At the rape culture rally held in Auckland on 16 November I said

“The dogma of people defending freedom of speech can go take a leap because they are confusing that freedom with a specific male privilege afforded to a few. It is this PRIVILEGE that has amplified their harmful irrelevant voices on dominating platforms. That is not freedom of speech and it is certainly NOT MERIT!”

Shortly after this came a blogosphere eruption discussing that very privilege of speech and our protection of it. Mostly the commentators in this discourse were those for whom this privilege is a given. Some people just feel entitled to say something and have had their entitlement enforced through structural enablement and so-called status. I would rather a discussion about freedom of speech that focuses on the structural and historical inhibitors to it. I would like to see some clear agreements from those who have power over platforms, to proactively engage the marginalised voices that are not represented in our dialogue.

A hat tip to all those in positions of influence who are doing good from their corner. I applaud the work of Bryan Bruce in his efforts to prioritise the wellbeing of our nation’s children. He, like many of us, is asking that we make the collective investment to ensure our kids lead warm, healthy and happy lives. Thank you Bryan. Thank you also to John Campbell for consistently putting a light on our ills and asking us to confront the painful shame about our children living in poverty. Bryan and John, for this work you are good people. In my 15 years of community work I have come across so many men like Bryan and John who are lending their privilege to a better Aotearoa. We rarely amplify the glory of their work because they are not money spinners. They will not make headline news because some would have us believe that honest dignified work is not sexy.

The longer that we continue to privilege the wrong voices the more we continue to perpetuate harmful attitudes. These attitudes manifest harmful actions that can rob a person of a thriving life. At the extreme, our harmful actions have caused death. Yes I just linked certain voices to death.

Apparently I am not a money spinner anywhere. Oh I have a powerbase I can assure you. But my status of being a Māori women mother with some cheek does not pull heavy influence in the world of most media. This is a total newsflash to my inflated confidence. I mean I even quoted myself twice in this very blog. I am left to swallow my disappointment and appeal to the WORMs to make a difference where I cannot. I expect that my sway over the WORMs equals the sway I have over my five year old in dictating what clothes she can wear. But I am also a hopeless optimist so I look forward to the global WORM uprising within hours of this blog going live.

We all have a responsibility to amputate the expressions from the likes of Bob Jones and Paul Henry and the many others who negate our good work. If we truly value freedom of speech then we will look to extend that freedom to all and not just for a few pointless time wasters.

Calling all white, old, rich men who are decent – please rein in your peers. Now THAT would be sexy.

77 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for raising this issue Marama.

    I’ve been suggesting for some time now that most of the problems of the world are the fault of a good number of straight white men.

    It’s not the disabled, the young, the women, the queers, Maori, Pasifika, Asian, nor any combination of those, that is fucking the world up. When I look around I see straight white men making decisions about mining, polluting the environment, denying people rights, and all sorts of actions that work to make the world a sadder and more horrid place.

    I’m careful to note that there are also a good number of straight white men who actively work against the actions of their fellow tribe members. I’ve shared my views with others, and with some straight white men, but I think I should directly share them with a whole bunch of straight white men, and change the message – ‘boys, get your mates in line! What they are doing is NOT OK.’.

    I’ve realised I can’t, as a gay white male, change the views of straight white men – they are a different tribe with different world-views – any more than I am likely to listen to a straight white man. Straight white men can change other straight white men. And let’s not forget straight white women, all of whom I have shared my view with have nodded their heads and said nothing, mutely agreeing with me.

    • It’s not the disabled, the young, the women, the queers, Maori, Pasifika, Asian, nor any combination of those, that is fucking the world up.

      Really? Do I detect prejudice?

      Roosevelt was effectively disabled from 1940 till he died in 1945. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt#Declining_health

      Plenty of young arshols fucking up the world. Bill Gates was in his early 20s when he founded Microsoft, for just one example.

      Margaret Thatcher, Jiang Qing (Mrs Mao Zedong), Golda Meir….

      I cannot find any examples of evil gays… Perhaps they are who we should choose as leaders? (Christopher Finlayson anyone?)

      I’m stopping now.

      I am not denying that the majority of the world’s ills lie at the feet of white men (I am one) but that is not an excuse for prejudice. The capacity for evil knows no gender, race, creed, sexual orientation or ability level.

      I should add (after reflection) that the old white men should take responsibility for what they are doing. Which is why I really like the photo of Patrick Stewart here.
      cheers
      W

  2. I’m glad you’re blogging Marama. The words you write make more sense to me and are more interesting than the vast majority of white dudes out there.

    It’s actually not easy to find non-white women writing. Their voices are a minority in the media. So please keep doing it. You have the support of a great many Kiwis who wish to hear what you think.

    • Thanks Lara it is hard for Maori women to get platforms in media for sure. There are heaps writing and doing good political work but in diverse forums. The feedback from what small bits I have been able to contribute has been positive in that people from all walks of life find it relevant so that is encouraging. 🙂

  3. Aren’t we getting a bit confused and simplistic here, folks? Surely the issue is power-holders perpetuating and continuing to abuse their power status? In some communities, it is religious and cultural background that confers status and allows for abuse of power. In some it is family background. In some it is economic power. In most societies age and gender play a part, but blaming all of the world’s ills on white men is ridiculously simplistic. Consider the position of women in strongly religious cultures (be they Christian, Islamic, Jewish…) – not too flash, eh? And to be honest I would add that Māori women have also been constrained by cultural beliefs and practices, not just by colonialism.

    “MediaWorks. Who employ a range of radio announcers that like to slingshot our nation back into the dark ages for example where we blame rape survivors for being raped.” – Presumably you are including John Tamihere and Willie Jackson, here. Worms, yes. Rich(ish), yes; old(ish), yes; male, yes…white? Hmmm… perhaps we needs to look at attitudes rather than labels.

    “Thank you also to John Campbell for consistently putting a light on our ills and asking us to confront the painful shame about our children living in poverty. Bryan and John, for this work you are good people. In my 15 years of community work I have come across so many men like Bryan and John who are lending their privilege to a better Aotearoa. We rarely amplify the glory of their work because they are not money spinners.” – You’re kidding – John Campbell not a money-spinner? Why do you think he has a 7pm TV show every night on a station owned by the dreaded Mediaworks? It’s not because they want to promote rights for the underprivileged; it’s because he’s popular, and so is a money-spinner. Pure and simple, end of story. (I think you’ll also find that he ticks all the rich, old(ish), white and male boxes.)

    It’s not that I disagree with the general intent of your post; yes, let’s look for more diverse voices and yes, let’s pay more attention to the voices of people who are marginalised or dismissed as less important because they don’t wield a lot of power in our society. Let’s value people as people. If we’re going to tell other people to do this, though, let’s do it ourselves and get past the simplistic labels.

    • Nup. I’m fine with calling out white, old, rich men actually. Which is the whole point of Patrick Stewart’s meme above. They are plenty liable and have been for ever. So have others and I call them out too in case you missed our calling out of JT/Willie – um stop highlighting that as if I missed them our Maori women’s group were one of the first to call them out! And you need to educate yourself about orientalism and what you think is culture eroding our status as Maori women is actually colonised culture. What do you know about our traditional powerbases pray tell?

      Nope. The WORM’s hold the majority of power around the world. Sorry that truth is hard. Which is why I am writing this. Because it needs to be said more and more. And I will cop flak. Look how much I care about that.

    • Um did you totally miss the point of me highlighting John Campbell and Bryan Bruce as good WORMs? And also I was referring to the undercover off the radar community work by good men that isn’t mentioned in media. Sheesh – read and understand properly please.

      • I wrote a reply in the form of an edit for the comment written below (which was actually written before this one), but for some reason it wasn’t saved. If it does turn up and this ends up being repetitive, I apologise to all. Basically what I said was:

        Did you actually read my comment? How about practising what you preach, Marama? Before asking others to read carefully and think, it might pay you to take the same advice.

        If it turns out that it’s not race (whiteness), age (oldness), wealth (richness) or gender (maleness) that you are offended by (and let’s remember that all of these labels apply to somebody like John Campbell) then perhaps you need to look a bit closer and think about what the problem really IS. It seems that it is more the MESSAGE that typically reinforces unfair power structures and dismissive attitudes.

        I don’t think it’s helpful to get distracted by simplistic (and dismissive) labelling. Dig in and attack the message, but do it in a way that gets to the heart of the values/political beliefs/practices that lock people out or diminish their worth.

        Oh, and argue with what I’ve actually said rather than implying that I can’t read properly. A bit of consistency wouldn’t go amiss, either – either Mediaworks are scum because they chase the dollar and employ offensive radio hosts – some of whom are not “W” – or they selflessly help john Campbell to champion the people every night at 7. Or, and here’s an idea worth considering, they do both because both help to bring in the bucks – different media, different times, different target markets = different hosts and different messages.

        Sheesh!

        • Why isn’t Marama allowed to focus on a particular subset of the population that she wants to write on? Marama is entitled to write on something that she wishes to draw attention to. She isn’t responsible for covering all the ills in the world to make the relativists comfortable?
          Don’t you think it’s a little patronising and peremptory to tell someone what they should focus on (and by extension, what they’re not allowed to write on)?
          If you wish to write on those topics: go ahead. It’s lazy to expect someone else to do it for you.

          • “There are too many WORMs in positions of power who perpetuate danger.” Seems like a pretty clear statement to me. And as for patronising, frankly I think anyone who endorses a subset of people being referred to as WORMS, not because of their actions or beliefs but because of their age, gender, race and perceived wealth is pretty damn patronising.

            Go back and have a look at what I actually said instead of trying to stick more labels on people. Saying we should focus on actual attitudes, power imbalances and oppressive actions isn’t ‘relativist’ it’s forward thinking.

            And by the way, nobody said Marama didn’t have the right to write what she did. I just said I didn’t agree with aspects of it. Oh, is that all right by you? Perhaps I don’t have the right to express my thoughts…

            • Hi Suz R, one point:

              “Saying we should focus on actual attitudes, power imbalances and oppressive actions isn’t relativist it’s forward thinking”

              Power and oppression can’t be divorced from identity. You can differentiate in degrees and cite exceptions to the rule, but it’s still true that white identities come with an unearned privilege and power over non-white identities.

              The institutions of society – from, say, the police to the courts – reflect and favour white identities. The uneven prosecution and imprisonment rate between whites and Maori for the same crime is a testament to the bias towards white identities. The point being: even if there are exceptions, “good” (which is a troublesome term) WORMS and so on, it can’t be denied that their identity comes “actual power imbalances”. So, actually, the Worms category makes sense.

              I think you’ve missed the deeper meaning of Worms: it flips the common narrative on its head. For the most part, in mainstream discourse whites identities aren’t generalised. Non-white identities are. When the New Zealand Maori Council challenged the government over water rights, the media – and to a some extent the PM and other politicians – characterised the law suit as a “Maori” action. As if it were taken and supported by all “Maori”. It’s uncommon to apply that collective attribution to Worms. I think what Marama aimed to do here was flip that narrative on its head.

              • So, generalising about and patronising some people=BAD. Generalising about and patronising others=GOOD.

                Frankly, if there was anything particularly original or thought-provoking in the original post, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to comment. I don’t actually disagree with the general thesis (hiding somewhere in there, buried beneath the supposedly cute labels and inconsistent examples). As it is, though, it was loose, inconsistent and demonstrated some of the same tendencies that it was (supposedly) commenting upon. An anagram is not enough to deliver socio-political analysis. How many people fitting the category that Marama disparages as WORMs do you think will have read this post and been convinced that they have to challenge the dominant power structures in our society? And even if it was published in the kind of large-cirulation paper or magazine that would be read by many of this group, how much impact do you think it would make on the power-holders? Bugger all. If we want to change things for the better, then we need to present tighter thinking and get past the silly slogans.

                • “So, generalising about and patronising some people=BAD. Generalising about and patronising others=GOOD.”

                  Generalising about some people is bad because it increases harm. Generalising about those who benefit from the power imbalance you say we should focus on does not increase harm because they aren’t marginalised to begin with.

                  From a comment I made further down:
                  “Categorisation has a different effect when used for power-dominant groups than disprivileged groups. Talking negatively about groups that are already marginalised increases discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. However ‘white’ and ‘male’ are both seen as ‘default’ in our society; members of ‘default’ groups are evaluated & reacted to as individuals, and categorisation effects either don’t apply, or apply only negligibly.”

                  If you’ve seen research that counters this I’d be interested in citations.

                  • So, feel free to supply your own citations.

                    The NZ Bill of Rights states that people should be free of the effects of all types of prejudice, whether it be based on gender, sexuality, race, religion or age. I happen to agree with this, which is why I’ve spent many years actively challenging power structures and attitudes that confine or suppress people unfairly or deny them dignity.

                    There are all sorts of words I refuse to use and challenge when I hear them used about others. Now I have one more – WORM.

                    I think we’re getting repetitive here. If you want to dehumanise people and lock them into predetermined roles keep calling them pejorative names based on age, gender, race etc. If you ACTUALLY want them to examine our society’s power structures and speak out against offensive comments in the media (the starting point of this post, as I recall) then this is not a winning tactic.

                    This is my last comment in this thread – we are getting repetitive and are not going to agree.

            • But she didn’t say ‘there are too many WORMs in a position of power’. She said there are too many of them in positions of power who perpetuate danger. Which is the entire point of the post. Many of that subset of people are perpetuating danger, are unlikely to listen to people outside of that subset, and need others in that subset to ‘rein them in’. She is not saying that being a WORM is, in and of itself, a bad thing.

              (As for ‘saying we should focus on power imbalances’, part of doing that is noticing who that power imbalance favours and who it hurts. You cannot address a power imbalance if you are not prepared to identify who is caught up in it.)

              I never said you didn’t have the right to express your thoughts, so I don’t know why you’ve addressed that last paragraph to me. You have the right to express your thoughts. I just think your thoughts are – in your words – confused and simplistic.

    • But we don’t live in other societies. We live in THIS society. And in THIS society, white old rich men have the power. There is absolutely no reason to quibble about how we should say “people who have institutional power” because in other cultures they might not be white old rich men. Indeed, sometimes they are brown old rich men. But here, they are white old rich men, so she is addressing white old rich men. And she’s hardly saying all of them are bad, because the blog title says “white old rich men WHO ARE DECENT”, implying that some of them are.

      Now, as for Māori men who have influence such as Tamihere and Jackson, obviously there is more nuance involved. Under normal circumstances they would not have as much social influence as, say, Bob Jones or John Campbell. However the existence of influential people who are minorities doesn’t disprove the general trend. Sometimes members of minorities who espouse the same beliefs as the most privileged classes are allowed to join the party in the cool kids’ tree house. You can be sure they wouldn’t be in the same position of power if they were talking about issues that white old rich men didn’t care about or agree with. Do you think Paula Bennett would have her current job if she was more deeply committed to Te Ao Māori, Māoritanga and research-based methods of improving the lives of Māori women? I don’t. But because she has the same attitudes towards poor people as John Key, she’s allowed a tiny piece of power.

      With respect to race, it also helps if your tokens have paler skin, incidentally.

      • I completely agree and it’s something that Patrick Stewart knows only too well: the privilege and power of being rich, white and male in an industrialised, democratic society. Hence the meme!

    • The fact that it is not just old white men, does not mean it is not old white men.

      Marama hinted that she deals with other sorts of human organism misusing power too….

      Worik

    • Quote: “You’re kidding – John Campbell not a money-spinner? Why do you think he has a 7pm TV show every night on a station owned by the dreaded Mediaworks? It’s not because they want to promote rights for the underprivileged; it’s because he’s popular, and so is a money-spinner. Pure and simple, end of story. (I think you’ll also find that he ticks all the rich, old(ish), white and male boxes.)”

      SUZ R, I think you are right with that assessment on John Campbell. He does not do those heart wrenching, emotive stories about the poor and hard done by people just for the sake of compassion and a sense of social justice.

      He has been presented stuff by people I know, about some revealing processes that WINZ follow, which really could bring about a change, if he and his team had made a program on that. But they never showed any interest at all. Also did he run the odd program on appalling ACC cases, even suggested others should send in their stories, but he did not follow up.

      Campbell Live like the emotive stories about individuals, they like to present “personal” stories, but they do nothing to solve systemic and other problems. That means the cause of much wrong is NOT addressed at all. It is nothing better than appealing for alms giving, which also does nothing to address the causes of ills.

      These people are not there to bring about change, they actually maintain the system as it is, and only highlight some issues, that are then dealt with on a case by case approach, nothing more.

      And I am sure, John Campbell is not doing this on the minimum wage!

  4. Hey, people, rather than just voting against my previous comment, how about rebutting anything said above? You don’t have to like everything that is said, but ideally you will actually think about it and be ready to argue back in reasoned terms. Isn’t that the point of a discussion line like this?

    • This. I’ve noticed a sad trend on this website of people throwing a tirade at comments they disagree with, instead of rebutting the comments. It gives the unfortunate impression that people are not interested in discussing other viewpoints, rather that they are convinced that only their view of things is correct.

  5. Referring to people by the colour of their skin is racist.
    (The term “Worm” is new to me. How do you like the term “Westernised Oriental Gentleman?)

    I feel no connection to Bob Jones and feel no need to use the colour of my skin as an excuse to chastise him.

    • Free spreech, AndyS, free speech.

      Just as apologists for Al Nisbet tossed the “free speech” mantra around willy-nilly after his apalling racist cartoons.

      Or is “free speech” only applicable if it caricatures or stereotypes powerless minorities? Usually by Old White Men (and Women). But if said powerless minoritites say something back (“a bit lippy”, as the slavemasters used to call it), then the reactionaries throw the “free speech” argument down on their heads.

      I may not be Rich in monetary terms (I am hugely fortunate in other ways) – but I’m White and Male, and that makes me very, very privileged. That’s something I picked up very quickly in my younger days.

      As for your remark “Referring to people by the colour of their skin is racist” – oh, puh-leese. Give me a break. When people like Al Nisbet, and their enabling collaborators in the Media, no longer feel it appropriate to publish damaging racist BS, then we can talk “racist”.

      Us Old White Guys, AndyS, I think our privilege in society more than gives us a position of power to not be affected by anything that might be chucked at us. (That is, after all, what privilege is all about.)

      But you try being a Pasifika or Maori down at the local WINZ office and see how much respect you’re accorded. Or by Parliamentarians who talk about “If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in South Auckland, the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending, more burglaries, then we are going to have them coming through our windows if we live in Epsom or anywhere else in greater Auckland.”

      That’s racism. And the nasty little toad-of-a-man who uttered those vile words was a White Old Rich Man.

      • Frank, didn’t you get the tongue in cheek part of my comment?
        Do you really think I care that “Old White Men” get called “Worms” or whatever?

        No, I don’t give a stuff, but I am parodying the shocked outrage that would occur if the shoe was on the other foot.

        Shocked I tell you, shocked I am. I am going to write to my MP and the newspaper.

        Etc

        • “If” the shoe was on the other foot?

          The shoe *came* from the other foot in the first place. If you write to the newspaper, it will be published right alongside someone else’s letter talking about how women shouldn’t be allowed in the armed forces (actual letter from this month, not from 1953).

          Sexism and racism are still rife, and while you may notice “shocked outrage”, for some of us the outrage of the few is kind of drowned out by the sexism and racism of the many.

          When the shoe is on “the other foot” (every other hour of the day), it’s bad because it contributes to suffering and discrimination. Using a flippant term to refer to people are aren’t members of marginalised groups can’t contribute to their marginalisation because their marginalisation does not exist.

          • It occurs to me that using the term “shoe on the other foot” might marginalise people who can’t afford shoes and also those that have only one foot.

            I apologise for my insensitivity.

  6. Calling all white, old, rich men who are decent – please rein in your peers!

    Calling all brown, young, poor men who are decent – please rein in your peers!

    Calling all purple, menopausal, lesbian beneficiaries who are decent – please rein in your peers!

    Marama, the key line is “who are decent”. The implication is that some of us, (whoever we are) are decent: the corollary is that the rest are not decent.

    The latter is the stronger implication: it ruffles feathers which may be what you want to do. That per se wont ever persuade me to talk to Bob Jones or attempt to rein him in. That is because I don’t see him as one of my cohort, mine is far too varied in ethnicity, class, age, gender, preference etc. Bob has excluded himself not because he is a rich old white guy but because he has views that I cannot appreciate.

      • LOL! Exactly. They never get used – like every other day through mainstream media and opinion pieces. Like … NEVER.

    • Categorisation has a different effect when used for power-dominant groups than disprivileged groups. Talking negatively about groups that are already marginalised increases discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. However ‘white’ and ‘male’ are both seen as ‘default’ in our society; members of ‘default’ groups are evaluated & reacted to as individuals, and categorisation effects either don’t apply, or apply only negligibly.

      This has been shown repeatedly in numerous studies under a wide variety of conditions. It’s also really obvious common sense.

  7. “The longer that we continue to privilege the wrong voices the more we continue to perpetuate harmful attitudes.”

    Yeah, lets block out any alternate opinions. Heaven forbid someone out there might have a different way of thinking.

    • Yes. Heaven forbid, rich, privileged, white guys might have to move over and power share. Go through all the opinion pieces and columnists. Have a look at all the journalists out there and you will see that the cohort Marama is referring to is OVER represented.

    • What “alternate opinions” are you referring to, Matthew?

      Let’s try out a few shall we…?

      1. “All unemployed beneficiaries are lazy” – that’s a common one. Mind you it doesn’t add much to sum total of human knowledge, does it? It’s just mindless prejudice that actually means you don’t have to think. Just parrot.

      2. “I should be allowed to have sex with underage boys/girls” – do you think that alternative view should be given currency? Would you say that to your neighbours who have young children and preface it with, “My right to free speech means I can say this…”? Would you be surprised when they knock your block of?

      3. “Certain ‘inferior’ people should be taken away; euthenased; and their bodies cremated” – that was very popular last century. It was more than a viewpoint – it became policy. Do you want to try expressing that at the local Synagogue, or IHC Day Centre?

      I think you’re confusing the right to voice BULLSHIT with the desperate need of some to have their BULLSHIT given legitimacy.

      Or put another way; just ‘cos you can say a thing, doesn’t mean you should.

  8. On the whole I don’t think Rich old men really care too much what you think so why should they listen when you ask them to take people like Bob Jones to task?

    If you have a problem with Bob Jones views then take it up yourself. Don’t expect another section of society to suddenly take up your campaign though just because you ask them to.

    • Gasp! I’m shocked! You mean WORMs aren’t gonna listen to little old me?

      Oh my god my whole world just caved in.

    • Oooh. Look, avoiding responsibility and commitment. Marama: maybe that should be another blog subject? How people can’t take responsibility, but want everyone else to?

    • Don’t expect another section of society to suddenly take up your campaign though just because you ask them to.

      ‘Scuse me?!?!

      Who the f**k died and made you Reichsfuhrer of this country?!

      I’ll thank you, Gosman, not to speak on behalf of other people. If “another section of society” – or parts thereof – want to support Marama, that up to them – not an acolyte of the Cult of Rugged Individualism like you.

      Others can make up their own mind, thank you very muchly.

  9. Bob Jones ‘menacing’?! The ‘Herald’ a ‘most prominent newspaper’?!!

    You’re having a laugh, right?

    Not?

    Then why are you giving them undeserved and unearned power?

    • Yes, because ignoring it makes it all go away. The gains of human rights and social changes were all made by people – just ignoring it …

  10. Racism is ugly because it’s wrong – it’s a species of ad hominem.

    The problem with Bob Jones is not his richness or his whiteness, but his wrongness.

    The same ad hominem is no better in brown skin than it was in white.

    But if you want to alienate the people who might otherwise work to right wrongs, and confirm your prejudices, you’re going about it the right way.

    • I think it’s worse than just ad hominem, Stuart Munro. Far, far worse. I would say that if people can’t get the irony of this situation, then maybe they’re not the sort of people that are truly committed to righting wrongs anyway.

      • Well you are unlikely to enjoy a proof so let me just say that

        …not the sort of people…

        is the politics of identity, and the root of things like orientalism. Better to avoid that particular trope.

        • Well, that’s pretty reductive. I’m not a massive identity politics fan, but in some areas they have a point. PIN and Morgan Godfrey, for example, make some salient points above.

    • Racism exists. People are treated differently due to (perceived) race.

      Anyone can be ‘wrong’, but rich white men are able to be more influential due to being a) rich, b) white, c) men. Their ‘wrongness’ reaches a wider audience, carries more weight, and does more damage. They are less likely to suffer negative repercussions. It is not an ad hominem to observe these facts.

      Speaking of ad hominem, can you please explain to me where in this blog piece Marama expressed that being rich or white (or both) was ‘the problem’ with Bob Jones in the first place?

  11. I would not put much faith in white or other rich men bothering to “reign in” their peers – of such types as Bob Jones.

    As for the NZ Herald, it has gone down-hill, certainly in regards to their columnists. Having the likes of Rodney Hide, Bob Jones, Garth George and so forth write regular opinion articles, this shows where the Herald’s editors stand.

    I did more regularly read the Herald when they had Tapu Misa and a few others offering more balanced articles, these days I hardly bother reading it, whether in print or online.

    It is full of lifestyle topics, sports, stories about the bizarre and extreme, about crime, celebrities, about superficial brief, hardly informative “news” items, it is a joke for a “leading” paper in this country.

    They used to allow Simon Collins to write more on social issues, but it seems, these days he gets only limited space to write and have articles published.

    What this country desperately needs is a re-establishment of a solid, good quality, informing, balanced reporting and educating public broadcasting system.

    The dumber the media, the more dumbed down the people get, and they will consequently deliver dumb decisions on dumb policies. Look at what we have, it is getting worse by the year.

    Time for a change, time for a change, vote wisely in 2014!

  12. @ Marama Davidson .

    Now that I’m sober ….

    If you want to unify brown and white humans you’d best stop using skin colour to differentiate between the Dark side and the Light side .

    It’s old fashioned and frankly speaks volumes for a void of ignorance I thought you’d filled with learning .

    Not wanting to speak out about an hypocrisy lest it cause you to belch smoke and sparks . However .

    I can’t elaborate unless with an assurance of privacy but I can say I’ve met more than one or two brown , old , rich men who needed to teach at the Harvard University for their creative accounting and deep understandings of the Human Condition so as to deprive them of their money . Think a Brown jonky .

    You might like to see things in brown and white but those days have gone . We’re all trying to look through the skin to see what ticks in the heart .

    Bob jones is a wanker . And yes , he’s a white wanker . I’m white , and some might argue that I too am a wanker so let me utilize my qualifications and apologize for bob , for whiteness and for wankery on his behalf . You know . As a fellow whiteskinner .
    I’m sorry I’m white . I’m sorry if I’m a wanker because of that but segregationist gibberish is as vogue as calling someone a homo . So last century darling .

    Oh , nice timing by the way . Dear old Nelson Mandela’s barely cold in his grave .

    And it’s not up to bob to rein in anyone . That’s our job . The moment that responsibility is up to the likes of Rich Man bob , we’re fucked .

    • “You might like to see things in brown and white but those days have gone.”

      No, they haven’t. White people are still more likely to be employed than non-white people with the same qualifications. White people are less likely to be stopped by police when wearing the same hoodie or behaving the same way. White people are less likely to be prosecuted for the same crime. White people are likely to receive better medical care. White people do better on a whole raft of indicators and if we don’t acknowledge who is white and who isn’t we will stop being able to detect how non-white people are discriminated against… which I suppose is one way of “ending” racism???

      White people are even more likely to be listened to about racism than non-white people are, because white voices are valued more. Therefore, Marama asks rich white men to rein in Bob Jones, because Bob Jones is more likely to listen to them than to her.

      Please explain to me how that is ‘segregationist gibberish’.

      Then explain to me why Nelson Mandela would object to a member of a racially oppressed minority calling for white people to behave better. Or better yet, maybe don’t invoke Nelson Mandela at all, because you don’t seem to understand what he fought for. (Note: I am not ~censoring~ you, I do not have the power to do that, I am making a suggestion on how you can avoid saying stupid things. Just to pre-empt that argument, okay?)

    • You know who writes things like that? Mainstream white people i.e. people not of colour and primarily heterosexual. I’m sure you kind yourself that you want a colour free world, but the fact of the matter is: there isn’t one. Ironically, it reinforces Marama’s original post about ‘white’ privilege. Good luck with that and by the way, I have no interest in ‘unifying’ with idiots.

  13. Hi Marama! I have to say, I did think your precept slightly racist in it’s tone, however, in the overall concept, plus the WORM witticism, BRILLIANT!
    There’s no denying the demographic which holds the pursestrings of this earthly blob, and for all the denials and protestations re: fix it yourself, I quote mega tory David Cameron who famously said,
    “We’re all in this together.” unquote
    So I say (and I’m only here because the Daily Mail website is down)…
    Well done, well written, someone should call the old bastard to heel and it’s got nothing to do with racism, ageism, sexism or richism, just pure good taste and decency which should dictate that NOBODY joke, whether it be true or not, about the incitement to suicide. NOBODY.
    We need more writers of your ilk, willing to push a few boundaries and call people out.

    god bless, kia ora & kia kaha

  14. Thanks Jane I appreciate that reflection. Yes I’m aware of the gasp just using the word ‘white’ does as my own Pakeha husband did that very thing when I read my draft to him. But you’re right the boundary push is obviously something I have decided to live with. Anyone who knows me understands what I am made of, so I go forth with that confidence.

    Thanks again.

  15. Yes everyone, I said white. I said old. I said male. And I said a whole lot of other stuff around that. I am fully aware this is uncomfortable for some – and I even took it easy lol. I didn’t expect this to be comfortable so I am living with the debate around it. Some good discussion here thanks all. Yes Suz R I hear you too. I’m just going to smile. 🙂

  16. Yo Marama great debate and article. A challenging subject is always going to see you ‘in hot water’ with mainstream idiots like Boxer Bob Jones, who reflects an antiquated and obsolete ideal abour woman.

    I think your critics should also read “Contested Realities…Race, Gender and Public Policy in Aotearoa” by Tracey McIntosh (Ngai Tuhoe / UoA 2002). This paper looks at the different ways Maori attempt to address issues of their own oppression, and it considers how oppressive relationships are inflected by gender and class. The paper also examines whether Maori forms of feminism are integral to the Maori struggle or whether they are another instance of outsider interference.

    Our Trace, also ran a symposium for Nga Pae Te Maramatanga in 2009 where it was identified that ‘indigenous cultures’ were always lying bottom of deficit based research and shows Capitalism / Rakeha / Te Ao Rawa (Material World), was the driving force in colonizing attitudes.

    Given your subject was Rape I think WORMs is okay and I wish you well for you and whanau for Xmas kia kaha / ka kite / Arohanui for the good fight. Disabled would probably say ‘Witless Obstinate Retarded Maaroherohe / Able bodied (with or without disabilities)

    Keep smiling…dougie (My love to Our Trace too)

  17. Bob Jones might be colourful but he’s a seriously and tragically damaged man. Maybe Bob took a few blows too many to the side of his brain that processes ethical and moral decision-making during his uni boxing days or possibly he was just an arse to start with; either way ageing clearly isn’t providing him an abundance of wisdom or compassion.

    According to Thích Nhất Hạnh, people who introduce suffering into the lives of others do so because they suffer deeply within themselves and their suffering is spilling over. Hanh says they need help, not punishment.

    Please, someone, help Bob – he truly appears to be in mortal need of as much as anyone’s willing to give.

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