Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Morning in Auckland

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  • Carlos,

    Claiming a term that belongs to all of us is not ok. It's aggressive.

    So I can't use a term to describe myself that belongs to ALL of us?
    Your logic escapes me. Unless you're implying that I'm excluding others from using it, which considering you don't know me is 'not ok. It's aggressive'.

    CPH.DK • Since Mar 2009 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    So I can't use a term to describe myself that belongs to ALL of us?

    You're perfectly entitled to use the term "New Zealander". As a Kiwi overseas, I certainly do, if only because explaining "Pakeha" takes far more time than it's worth.

    But in a census designed to collect information on the ethnic makeup of the country, it's somewhat....pointless.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    @Sasha

    It's kind of useful if you don't wish to retain a childish belief that we're all exactly the same. Oh, and to measure inequality - which is why skepticism is correlated positively with the colour of one's neck.

    All class.

    No one has claimed, or suggested, "we're all exactly the same". Although that's perhaps a slightly healthier world view than that of Paul Henry. What I do claim is that people should be able to identify themselves as New Zealanders (and any other ethnicity) if they wish to do so, without being subjected to abuse from the likes of you.

    Your categories tend to collapse under the weight of their own absurdity, anyway.

    My son is both a New Zealander and a Canadian.

    If his mother was, for want of a better term, a "white Canadian" (I have never in 7 years heard the term "European Canadian" in conversation or debate) he could in New Zealand presumably attain the sense of belonging unique to "Pakeha", which you deploy as a rough synonym for "European New Zealander".

    If his mother was, say, a Japanese Canadian he would be a redneck if he didn't write in "Japanese", or at least "Asian", or perhaps "Eurasian" ... maybe in combination with "Canadian" too.

    If his mother was an Aboriginal Canadian, you might tell him that's a "race" (sic), and he should write in his "real ethnicity", which could be Cree, Blackfoot, Ojibway, Squamish, etc. etc.

    Or if he wrote in "Canadian" perhaps you'd remind him/me that that term originally meant "French Settler" and should not be used by him.

    Whereas I'm happy for him to write in any group he belongs to. Which is, after all, what the question asks.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    What I do claim is that people should be able to identify themselves as New Zealanders (and any other ethnicity) if they wish to do so, without being subjected to abuse from the likes of you.

    Except New Zealander is not an ethnicity. It is, at most, a particular combination, at a particular moment in time, of pre-existing ethnicities, all of which (with the exception of one) originated outside of this country within the very recent past, in terms of human history.

    As such, it's useless for the purposes of the census, except as a measure, I guess, of how far a certain form of reactionary cultural politics percolated the national consciousness in the post-Orewa speech era. Because that was the context in which "New Zealander" as a putative ethnic identity existed in in 2006.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 432 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    @ Caleb

    Except New Zealander is not an ethnicity. It is, at most, a particular combination, at a particular moment in time, of pre-existing ethnicities, all of which (with the exception of one) originated outside of this country within the very recent past, in terms of human history.

    Of course it's a combination. Which makes it very similar to "Australian", "American", "Canadian", ... and perhaps even "British" (Act of Union pretty recent in human history too).

    "Italian" and "German" presumably suspect on the same grounds that federation/confederation was pretty recent there.

    Also every other settler/colonial society: "Jamaican", "Mexican", "Cuban", etc.

    That's a lot of not-ethnicities.

    Good luck with telling Germans to enter "Hessian" or "Vandal", and Jamaicans to write in "some sort of African".

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Of course it's a combination. Which makes it very similar to "Australian", "American", "Canadian", ... and perhaps even "British" (Act of Union pretty recent in human history too).

    Totally. In that they're all majority-Anglophone nations whose recently-imported majority cultures are often suspiciously keen to claim some form of indigeneity, in defiance of the actual histories of population movement, violence, and dispossession that underpin their current dominance.

    So yes. I would argue that "Australian," "Canadian," "American," and "New Zealander" are indeed "not-ethnicities." Or rather, they're pseudo-ethnicities, the assertion of which is a way of denying the fact of colonial settlement and the basic un-originality of their supposedly distinctive (white) national cultures.

    Mexico and Jamaica, you'll agree, have rather different ethnic histories, ones that reflect another set of colonial policies altogether from those that governed the "British World" system that produced Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 432 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    In terms of British ethnicity, these are the options one gets to choose from when applying to UCL:

    White
    Irish Traveller
    Black or Black British – Caribbean
    Black or Black British – African
    Other Black background
    Mixed – White and Asian
    Asian or Asian British – Indian
    Asian or Asian British – Pakistani
    Asian or Asian British – Bangladeshi
    Chinese
    Other Asian background
    Mixed – White and Black Caribbean
    Mixed – White and Black African
    Other Mixed background
    Other Ethnic background
    Information refused

    It's the empire, on a form.

    ETA: If this powerpoint presentation is anything to go by, Canadians are in fact having exactly the same debate.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    It's the empire, on a form.

    That's just beautiful, dude. You some sort of historian or something?

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 432 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    @ Caleb

    I would argue that "Australian," "Canadian," "American," and "New Zealander" are indeed "not-ethnicities." Or rather, they're pseudo-ethnicities, the assertion of which is a way of denying the fact of colonial settlement and the basic un-originality of their supposedly distinctive (white) national cultures.

    What should "Canadians" be called, then? I'm surrounded by them at the moment ... all different hues, and a tremendous diversity of family names too of course.

    Some will know where their "ancestors" came from, and be happy to share, but many won't, or the answer will be ludicrously (and delightfully) complicated.

    If I followed up each answer with "so you're not really an ethnic Canadian but better described as ethnicity X" I would not be particularly popular. In fact, I would quickly get a punch in the chops (and not just from the white/white-ish respondents).

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Equal Opportunity forms in the UK also have a "White Other" option as well as White British

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    What should "Canadians" be called, then? I'm surrounded by them at the moment ... all different hues, and a tremendous diversity of family names too of course.

    Because that's their nationality, either by birth or by choice. And everyday conversation isn't about census taking. It's seems very simple to me. On the census, for statistical purposes, they want to know how you identify your ethnicity . Hence European NZer (and what they really mean, of course, is New Zealander of European descent). Now, I'm quite happy to tick that box, or Pakeha if it's there. I don't call myself a European New Zealander in conversations because for purposes of social interaction, if anyone wants to know my descent they will ask, or they will make assumptions based on how I look. My nationality is given whenever I open my mouth. I think people overcomplicate it somewhat. I agree with the tenet that they need to perhaps be a little more assiduous with boxes that need ticking and offer _Pakeha or New Zealander of European descent . But apart from that, isn't it just semantics?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    the Supercity is an Ethnic Soup, er, City...
    Obviously John Banks has finely tuned bioreceptors - I hear him on the radio this morning, canvassing - "You look like one of my supporters..." - who knew that cockroaches could walk on their hind legs and use the Constellation bus depot...
    ...cheap insect jibes aside, Banks (with his constant dismissing of South Auckland) demonstrates the same lack of empathy, respect, tolerance and inclusivity as Paul Henry, and I think those are the qualities we would all like a New Zealander to embrace and embody.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4954 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    who knew that cockroaches could walk on their hind legs and use the Constellation bus depot...

    Well, Ian, come the nuclear apocalypse we're still going to be here. How about you? (BTW, you're aware I quite literally live across the road from Constellation station? Hope not.) :)

    Anyway, snark aside -- it looks like Banks is doing exactly the same thing Brown is: Getting out the base, or what they perceive to be their base anyway. Which is depressing in all kinds of ways (guess "I'm the Mayor for all Auckland" only goes so far), but hardly surprising.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    So I can't use a term to describe myself that belongs to ALL of us?

    Carlos, as others have pointed out to you already *you're not in New Zealand* so of course the term "New Zealander" makes sense for you to use - in much the same way as people tend to not name their suburb when they are not in its city.

    Though I reckon that may be changing. Especially for Aucklanders wanting to make clear they don't come from Albany, culturally speaking.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16661 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    So yes. I would argue that "Australian," "Canadian," "American," and "New Zealander" are indeed "not-ethnicities." Or rather, they're pseudo-ethnicities, the assertion of which is a way of denying the fact of colonial settlement

    Very good point. I must make time to read Belich's "Settlers" book.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16661 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Carroll singing and good will hunting...

    Well, Ian, come the nuclear apocalypse we're still going to be here. How about you? (BTW, you're aware I quite literally live across the road from Constellation station? Hope not.) :)
    Anyway, snark aside --...

    Craig, that wasn't directed at you or users or other neighbours of the bus depot - it was intended as a humorous allusion to my conception of a John Banks supporter, so your use of snark is quite apt, it being an imaginary animal that is difficult to track down... ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4954 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Hey look over there----> The Narcissist has spoken

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6195 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Aw, just teasing Ian. Now you've put the idea in my head, a little dose of Kafka would perk up the neighbourhood no end:

    One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.

    That's one way to lively up a tedious commute...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But in a census designed to collect information on the ethnic makeup of the country, it's somewhat....pointless.

    Much as I fear we're not going to get any closer to consensus on this issue than we have any other time, yep.

    Of course I'm a New Zealander -- and I feel very strongly about that fact. It's just not very useful for the purposes for which the census is conducted to write in "New Zealander" as an ethnicity. Like you, I don't see the point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18881 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    everyday conversation isn't about census taking

    Yes, thank goodness.

    Your categories tend to collapse under the weight of their own absurdity, anyway.

    Uh huh, DC Red. I'm not the one effectively calling myself a "New Zealander New Zealander". Greek Australians and Armenian Canadians might find that amusing.

    However I can imagine Tongan New Zealanders (as opposed to Tongans) or Chinese New Zealanders (as opposed to Chinese) being less amused when you are claiming half of their identity as your whole one.

    That's what the charming Mr Henry means when he says NZers who look like "us". You may notice from afar that locals are reacting to his blurt and subsequent non-apology in a less than relaxed fashion. Perhaps ask yourself why they might be upset.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16661 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I don't know about you, but I'd like this month's "I hate Paul Henry" to be over now.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 796 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    consensus

    heh

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16661 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'd like this month's "I hate Paul Henry" to be over now

    TVNZ can lance the boil by firing the prick as soon as they decide to take seriously the reaction of the public whose eyeballs they sell to advertisers - and whose votes influence the government that owns their company (which is mandated as a public broadcaster, not some private operation like Fox). Sweepstake?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16661 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    they shoot rabid dogs don't they...
    Perhaps Fox TV could take Paul Henry off our hands, he gets more Glenn Beck by the day...

    and now I can see his ancestral roots showing:

    "Get off my f*****g land," he shouted. "Have you got your pictures now? Have you taken photos of my property or any of my neighbours' properties? If any photos are published I'll sue the f*****g paper."

    he is from the dire tribe...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4954 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    If any photos are published I'll sue the f*****g paper.

    Somehow I'm not surprised that Henry is the frivolous lolsuit type.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1558 posts Report Reply

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