Monday, May 14, 2018

Bud Jones: Racism in the Universities

Does spiritualism, religiosity and racism have a place?

First a little about my background and credentials.

After immigrating from America, I had service with the NZ Symphony Orchestra for 40 years and as Artist Teacher at Victoria University for 26 years 1990—2016.

I was awarded a QSM in 2013 for services to education at the high school and university level, including director for NZ National Youth groups, and also for environmental achievements.

Does Maori culture have a place in all courses?

mātauranga Māori = Māori knowledge - the body of knowledge originating from Māori ancestors, including the Māori world view and perspectives, Māori creativity and cultural practices.

I was recently asked to advise and assist on a rather difficult situation regarding the introduction of race based values to academic discipline. You can see my response to my valued colleague and former head of department at Victoria University.

He said What does mauauranga maori have to do with teaching music and percussion studies? Google it Bud and tell me if you think this is relevant?


He went on to say:

On 14 March I will need to present our school's 2018 learning, teaching, and equity priorities to Te Maruako Aronui (the FHSS LT&E Committee), and I would like your input on this. We are encouraged to define these priorities in line with the 2017-2021 VUW Learning and Teaching Strategy .
In particular they were required to indicate how there would be Increased incorporation of mātauranga Māori in courses.
My reply: resist the call for racism in courses

I’ve enquired with other former teachers and the consensus is: anything implying spiritualism religiosity or racism has no place in the university and probably the university Charter says it explicitly.

You cannot comply with this call for racism being incorporated into the school on personal, moral, ethical and academic grounds.

Besides, it is outside your job description to be advocating any spiritual, religious or racial bias in your academic teaching subject.

You are not, nor can you be, a parrot for someone else’s agenda, it is morally reprehensible that this secular academic institution should call on you to do so as well. You should respectfully decline on academic grounds of integrity!!

Maorification in the universities

Some academics are working full time on the maorification of everything. That crashing charlatan of Waikato University, Russell Bishop, Professor of Maori Studies, takes a huge taxpayer salary to dream up this sort of bad joke, and DREAMING UP such nonsense phrases as what is good for non maori is not always good for maori, but what is good for maori is always good for non-maori!!” 

At Victoria, it is one step too far as the very words in matauranga maori, as defined above, contain elements of spirituality. As a secular institution, I’m certain the university charter rejects all reference and elements of spirituality or religion. (The exception would be religious studies.)

In a way it is like asking lecturers to incorporate the Catholic trans-substantiation into the teaching of the Beethoven piano sonatas, a notion that would be tossed out of the institution as way beyond any nonsense John Cleese could dream up, or Rowan Atkinson, Spike Milligan or the 2 Ronnies.

Does the Victoria University Charter allow for requiring teachers to incorporate racism, spirituality, religiosity i.e. matauranga maori in courses?

John Robinson’s perspective

I asked my friend John Robinson who is a retired scientist and active historian to give me his views. The accepted dogma is now so powerful here that I would welcome your views and advice on this subject as my very good friend and colleague is in a very difficult position.

I am a scientist by training and a statistician and historian by profession.  I have written a number of books on the remarkable way that two very different people came to form one nation.

It is important, and sad, to find that any idea of unity, of equality (that I thought was the first very guiding principle of a modern society) is no longer believed in by our government (now local as well as central) and a whole ruling class, including academics.  It is explicitly denied by Geoffrey Palmer.

I did think, too, that religion should be set aside in public affairs but the new racism gives Maori the right to involve us in their prayers.

The requirement to consider matauranga is very widespread.  It is found in science, and agreed to by the Royal Society of New Zealand – which scientists I know look upon with scorn.  The meaning of the requirement is not made clear, but it does give power (and funds) to a whole group of Maori (identified by race). 

Indeed, it takes courage to say anything about the need for equality in today’s climate.  Like so many, I have been called racist for opposing special inherited rights.  Since I am well and truly retired (except writing books) I can come to no harm by continuing, and one recent article I wrote for the Kapiti Independent News was “This racist New Zealand.” 


Kit Slater said...
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Sensible commentary indeed, but as the Kapiti Independent News notes, none of the authorities they approached for comment on it have replied. Why? Because in a decade or two we – and sensible commentary – will all be dead. The new clerisy, educated through neo-Marxism’s long march through the institutions with ideas of moral and cultural equivalence and the evils of colonialism, will have no memory of what was lost in the destruction of Judeo-Christian Greco-Roman liberal secular democracy – what we call Western values. Consequences have no place in ideological imposition, but for those with Cassandra’s insight, the resulting increase in chaos is the antithesis of civilisational values.

Anonymous said...
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As a "run of the mill" New Zealander appalled at the influence maori seem to be imposing these days in all areas of life I am pleased to see some one of influence is pushing back.

Mike Wiggins said...
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The system of entitlement by right of birth, has declined throughout the Western World, for good reason. No good will come of resurrecting it again.

A.G.R. said...
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Would be fine if descendants of Maori were honest enough to admit that their pre-European culture was no more than a primitive stone age existence. How could any of their customs be beneficial to a modern day society? It's time they were charged for the use of Western technology that has given them the chance to be included in the 21st century..

Anonymous said...
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Getting specific about the Charter content would help in responding to the sort of request Victoria University made. Currently I am questioning a similar effort by the University of Auckland Library to impose this sort of structure on its staff. The Charter clauses I based much of my submission on are:
“Recognising a special relationship with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.”, and

“Creating a diverse, collegial scholarly community in which individuals are valued and respected, academic freedom is exercised with intellectual rigour and high ethical standards; and critical enquiry is encouraged.”
My submission highlighted the inherent conflict between the two clauses and pointed out that the University could not impose a particular interpretation of NZ history, and certainly not spiritual values on its staff.

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