It’s a small view of the world when one holds back from speaking out honestly against racism for fear of provoking a backlash from one’s fellow New Zealanders.
Chris Trotter suggests Stuff should not have apologised for the awful racist history of its stable of newspapers in part at least because of a fear it will unleash a backlash such as the recent “political convulsions besetting both the United Kingdom and the United States”. (Personally I think the Black Lives Matter convulsions in the US have been a damn good thing)
Spit upon the most cherished beliefs and achievements of your “deplorables” and – eventually – they will spit back.
On the basis New Zealanders should never have dared challenge the rugby establishment and the All Blacks, the cultural/sporting/iconic centre-pieces of the country, for playing rugby against apartheid South Africa’s Springbok teams.
It’s always important to believe that people can change racist viewpoints because they frequently do and many come to see a better way forward for us all as New Zealanders. I have personally experienced this thousands of times over the years when people have explained to me how their views on race/apartheid changed though the challenges of their fellow citizens. We should never treat racist views with respect but the people holding those views are “changeables” – not “deplorables” – and deserve our respect as fellow New Zealanders, warts and all.
It is a brave thing for Stuff to have issued a fulsome and sincere apology, after doing the analysis, and being frank and honest enough to speak truth to their own power.
The most important aspect of their analysis has been to reveal how the racism of the past (irrespective of its imperial or colonial context) resonates in the present, here and now, and is reflected in the dreadful social statistics which show such appalling race-based bias.
The other crucial point to understand from the Stuff analysis is that this media bias in reporting continues today. I think we all should read carefully the Stuff analysis which shows “How we made Maori the face of child abuse in New Zealand” through sensationalised national reporting from 2000 on, using incorrect statistics, while similar abuse amongst Pakeha was reported but not sensationalised.
I see the Stuff apology as a natural development in what has been occurring over the last 50 years or so as the country moves towards a genuine Treaty partnership.
I would like Stuff to do a similar analysis on how working-class families and communities have been reported in their stable of newspapers compared to the rich and powerful. Now there is a challenge which would brutally expose the ravages of capitalism on all of us.