Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Clive Bibby: Moving on after the massacre - how do we do that?

I guess the antidote for avoiding any future horrific events like the Christchurch massacre is to ensure every citizen or group feels  included as valuable members of society.
Indeed the outpouring of sympathy and aroha which was this nation's response to the tragedy is evidence that kiwis are committed to the changes necessary that will make this happen - or are they?
Actually, l'm not so sure that is the intent of all of us which, if it were true, has to be of equal concern to the emergence of any white supremacists in this country.

Commentators suggesting a large chunk of our society are operating from a position of privilege are perpetuating this perception of division but seem reluctant to do their bit to stamp it out. In fact, they are subtly promoting an environment where inclusion is replaced by omission of anything that might dilute their version of our history.
In reality, it is inverted racism and has no place in any plans for moving forward as equals.

Yet evidence of this development is compelling even if an undesirable trend.

It is manifested in the recent announcement of the plans and funding allocations for the local Te Ha and Tuia 250 celebrations later this year.
Ever since the Te Ha celebrations planning began to take shape, l have made repeated requests for information that would allay any concerns that this event would not be a celebration of our dual heritage at all. It gives me no pleasure to say that my suspicions have been confirmed.
Where are the plans for a celebration of the European contribution to our common history?

Perhaps that part of our dual heritage is considered to be of inferior quality to the record of tangata whenua activities in this region.
Whatever the reasons for allowing this unfortunate one sided presentation to become the focus of commemorations, it is something we will regret and it should have been avoided.
The result will be a growing feeling of disconnect amongst a significant portion of the populace. It will breed a reversal of the societal positions of privilege that has apparently been the cause of so much division in the past.

This time however, the community will be subjected to the negative effects of identity politics that we are supposed to be avoiding.

It will do nothing to heal the wounds of institutionalised racism that has plagued past attempts at nation building and we should have seen it coming.
In the process of reconciliation and efforts to lift disadvantaged sectors of our community to positions of equality, we are in danger of creating a new underclass.
It will be known simply as "Non Maori!"
You can't make this up!

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.

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