Incidentally it's Day of Silence.
“Discrimination towards rainbow communities is still hugely prevalent in Aotearoa and more needs to be done to address it. The Day of Silence campaign is about raising awareness and asking New Zealanders to consider what part they play in ending homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in our country.”
Perhaps we could throw it in the hat
I see Dr Bryce Edwards has penned a piece for Newsroom which largely pulls the same neo-colonial stops already covered in this thread i.e. misrepresentation of terms like “banned”, “free speech” etc.
There’s some interesting elements to this, none less so than the fact that an article ostensibly written about issues related to S&M and Dr Brash only makes reference to Māori – once, in an individual capacity, and without the macron – this likewise occurred in the earlier ’pro’ publication.
This colourblind erasure of Māori concerns is an overriding theme for the piece as he speaks of clampdowns on political freedoms:
Of course, historically, it’s been the political left and marginalised groups that have suffered the most from clampdowns on political freedoms. Socialists, unionists, and other groups fighting for liberation and equality have had their speech suppressed by the state or the media.
With no acknowledgement whatsoever of the greatest suppression of free speech Aotearoa (across the political spectrum) has had to overcome:
The Māori language was suppressed in schools, either formally or informally, to ensure that Māori youngsters assimilated with the wider community. Some older Māori still recall being punished for speaking their language. In the mid-1980s Sir James Henare recalled being sent into the bush to cut a piece of pirita (supplejack vine) with which he was struck for speaking te reo in the school grounds. One teacher told him that ‘if you want to earn your bread and butter you must speak English.’
In light of the cancellation of Hone Harawira, there is rather a sense of putting the cart before the horse in the way he formulates his points:
Those calling for restrictions seem to forget that they won’t always be in power, and the climate of suppression they create encourages an opponent to use the same tactics against you.
What struck me most about the piece is how tone-deaf it feels when analysed in contemporary context. As Dr Edwards throws around his strawman, vaguely along the lines of: "the left who supported Thomas’s decision to cancel a talk by Dr Brash in a heated political climate are vying for free speech to be widely suppressed" he seems unwilling or unable to contend with the advent of the internet and digital communication.
As he types:
Whether it’s the civil rights movement in the US, gay rights movements everywhere, or the anti-Springbok Tour movement in 1981, they’ve all been helped by the ability to organise freely and speak freely.
He comes across as awkwardly misrepresentive of the way political organisation has evolved since the 50s
This was most obvious during the 1951 watersiders lockout, when it was illegal to distribute pro-union pamphlets.
Disregarding key issues such as the fact that the state lacks teeth to suppress speech in the 21st century – yes violations can be prosecuted but that in itself is insufficient to keep the cat in the bag, this has been common knowledge for years (I was able to access this musician’s name within about 5 minutes from an offshore site) – obfuscates the way the state has evolved to thwart free organisation of political activism; i.e. not by suppressing speech but by eaves-dropping on communications etc.
The temptation for the left to support the state, or even businesses, in suppressing the activities of right wing or reactionary activists or speakers, on the basis of their awful politics should be avoided, if for no other reason than it is likely to produce a climate or rules in which the left and marginalised groups are further marginalised.
In writing this paragraph my sense was that there is a failure to fully account for the way in which marginalised groups are already "further marginalised", which brings into question what “free speech” means in this catatonic context.
Dr Edwards first came to my attention on Twitter when I noticed he’d faved a transphobic joke by Damian Grant about “__bruce__ Jenner” winning woman of the year (subsequently deleted). I’ve observed him platforming anti-trans activists with an uncomfortable regularity – (he originally RTd this innocuous tweet – later tweeting under his own name), the point being that he’s not precious about not boosting the profile of anti-trans voices to his 11.6k audience – to the extent that he’s comfortable endorsing the kinds of "I identify as an attack helicopter" type tweets which marginalise and harm trans people – particularly youth.
Sure folks like this always have a pro-trans tweet on the ledger – in case pressed – the “some of my best friends are…” for the digital age. Folks like this are everywhere and minority concerns around marginalisation are largely erm marginalised – so it’s of no great concern to most people let alone well-regarded, well-funded, well-platformed servants of the hegemony. As they attempt to minimise Dr Brash’s campaign against the public use of Te Reo to being part of a dispute on "property rights", as they lighten the tone with jokey asides about gender and sexual minorities "burning up the letters of the alphabet"
Which I’ll just assume is hilarious when you’re not in the firing line.
Dr Edwards knows he can broadcast as many transphobic jokes as he likes with absolute impunity. I presume that my understanding of what free speech should be is far removed from someone who uses their platforms to amplify the mocking and marginalisation of minorities. That this power imbalance is not accounted for in his analysis highlights the limitations he faces in attempting to present issues of this nature beyond the scope of his own bias and erasive framing. Yes minorities may point out the erasure in his reporting but without the visibility and platform, information is suppressed.
So on the one hand, while he makes compelling arguments for his audience – he largely falls into the type of trap outlined by Cornel West in his recent bFM interview of not being accountable for his free speech, assuming – as far as I can ascertain – that everyone else enjoys the same well-platformed privileges and/or is equally comfortable antagonising minorities.
accountability takes a lot of different forms, there’s legal accountability, there’s political accountability, there’s intellectual accountability and that’s what democracy is about, it’s the accountability, especially the powerful using arbitrary power to dominate, express and exploit and degrade everyday people, working people, poor people; women, black folk, brown folk, indigenous people, gay and lesbians, trans and so forth
Circling back to what’s already been discussed in this thread one point which remains evident to me at least is that regardless of how much civics, ethics etc one is exposed to, without an awareness and preparedness to address our history, then it remains largely academic.
Dr Brash doesn’t thrive on our lack of ethic and civic responsibility as much as he thrives on our lack of understanding of our own history. Māori history is largely ignored say our top historians, New Zealand Land Wars should be taught in high school, says Waikato history teacher, it’s *that* bad that I learned considerably more about Te Tiriti o Waitangi from this Fairfax(who now uses macrons) series than i learnt right the way through the NZ education system to tertiary level.
Furthermore on the note of education, beyond left-right framing, the distance ably highlighted in this thread between various academics is huge – while one lecturer might be enviably competent in providing a nuanced and wider historical context another might brush cultural and political context aside entirely, as Dr Edwards is doing.
A decade of my life I won’t get back.
You certainly woke me up. To reiterate what Katharine said:
I love this place because I learn so much.
whakawhetai koe mo tou mahi!
History has been witness to how societies killed their differently abled population as they were seen as useless and a burden on society. The Nazi regime eliminated many differently abled people in concentration camps. In ancient Rome, people and even babies born with disabilities were killed, by stoning them to death. Today, many families leave their newborn babies in orphanages if they are born differently abled. There are many who feel ashamed and embarrassed about the existence of differently abled people in their families.
Vocabulary matters in making or reducing a discourse. There’s a long way to go in how societies treat people with disabilities, and language is one of these important steps.
Patrick Crewdson’s klan facilitating dissemination of the ideology.
I’d be embarrassed to be most news editors and producers right now.
I’m embarrassed to be Pākehā right now – more than ever. As I read somewhere:
"𝕳𝖊’𝖘 𝖆 𝖙𝖞𝖕𝖎𝖈𝖆𝖑 𝖕𝖗𝖔𝖉𝖚𝖈𝖊 𝖔𝖋 𝖍𝖎𝖘 𝖈𝖚𝖑𝖙𝖚𝖗𝖆𝖑 𝖓𝖎𝖈𝖍𝖊, 𝖓𝖔𝖙 𝖆 𝖗𝖆𝖈𝖎𝖘𝖙."
White men don’t get to decide what racism is, white people don’t get to decide what racism is, they were so bad at judging it every time it happened, they were bad at judging it during slavery, they were bad at judging it during Jim Crow, white people don’t get to play this game, you don’t get to decide what the rules are here.
Thank you for sharing that Katharine – and for your mahi, some keen insights conveyed, with so much care.
ehara koe i a ia!
He’s not under threat of being woken up and hauled away at dawn, he’s not in danger of losing his livelihood, heck he’s not even in danger of being effectively silenced
In fact he’s just been nominated New Zealander of the Year.
but seriously, that was a painful watch – the makeup team at TVNZ appear to have used a foundation tone on Bridges which almost looks a shade or two too light – understandable on a show and channel where they don’t have much use for non-white flesh tones, perhaps they’ve run out or perhaps it was the lighting but either way I found it an unwelcome distraction and would have gone for something warmer.
What has floored me this week is the number of journalists and professional pundits putting paid to their reputations – in revealing they simply lack the range for this type of discourse in the 21st century . Corin Dann makes no bones about revealing his own bias calling Jan Thomas’s decision “idiotic” in the preamble, and reveals his inadequacies fully as he throws around terms like “free speech” and “banned” with wild abandon.
Firstly, Don Brash has not been "banned" from Massey as far as I know – his talk was cancelled. That Steve Eller’s piece I linked to on page 4 highlights that neither is this the first time a speaker has been cancelled but that it’s also not the first time Massey has cancelled events and evacuated buildings when threats have been made.
In throwing around a term like freeze peach, as Dann does, with the enthusiasm of a turophile hankering for his brunch at Dairy Queen, he reveals an inability or unwillingness to either grasp or present these basic concepts to a wider multicultural audience.
This had been touched upon in advance by POC academics:
You don’t give a fuck about free speech, that’s all Western epistemological nonsense designed to be deployed as a defence mechanism when marginalized groups raise the point about how someone’s speech is hateful and dehumanising against them.
It’s no coincidence that voices like these, voices of POC who possess the range, background and experience are not centred in these discussions because they’d show up Dann, Wells et al’s takes as being so pale as if to almost be transparent.
The stupid thing is I saw this happening all over America when I was there, and NZers are doing the same thing now, letting the media stir this shit pot up coz they need to make money from these stories. This is one way capitalism is linked to our dehumanization too.
As a Pākehā academic mentioned:
One of the things I spend a lot of time writing about atm is the research showing that the more racists get to talk, the more it embeds ideas that individuals being oppressed are to blames for their experiences & the less likely public are to support equity policies. Just saying
Dennis’s contributions to this thread, especially the above, highlight this to a t. Without meaningful resistance it is being normalised and as such Dennis feels emboldened to begin dredging up the same kinds of white supremacist talking points that have resulted in other users being actually erm..banned (from here at least).
watching that 58’ interview the TVNZ Sunday crew recorded (of which they showed viewers about 1%), made me aware that they aren’t trolls. They are advocates of a level playing field for free speech
As some of you know, I lived in the PRC for about a 1/3 of my life and there where I observed various issues related to free speech – be that a website manager who was incarcerated for a month for failing to adequately moderate a web forum, a student who was bundled into a van for writing anti-Govt rhetoric online and even in the last month a private chat group of septuagenarians shut down because one was complaining about being unable to meet the cost of living – instances where attempts at free speech have resulted in genuine consequences. Most tellingly in all these cases is that the citizens were effectively muzzled – by the authorities.
As such, the hypocricy of what’s going on remains self evident:
Michel Foucault said that discourse is productive, and we should interrogate & lay bare power dynamics behind it, and all the White intellectuals said: that’s brilliant! So I’m confused then, why all these White peeps don’t understand why we’re against giving Brash a platform.
This to me is the gist of the underlying issue – because Don Brash’s right to free speech has not been impacted in the least, by any stretch of the whitest imagination. He’s not under threat of being woken up and hauled away at dawn, he’s not in danger of losing his livelihood, heck he’s not even in danger of being effectively silenced – he simply had a talk cancelled – he experienced an instance of being deplatformed.
What is most telling in that is that people (especially minorities) get deplatformed all the time, only we’re less likely to hear about it from a media founded on white supremacy.
I’ve had one experience of being deplatformed, people obviously don’t go out of their way to platform someone like me but someone asked me to write a piece about being trans, which I did, reluctantly, it was an incredible amount of shit to dredge up, I put my heart and soul into it over the period of a few months, it was potentially the biggest opportunity in my life to express some of the difficulties I and folk like me face, as such I researched it meticulously. When almost completed I was faced with and incensed by a tolerable bigot scenario – and in responding in an aggressive manner (why are minorities so angry?) I was firstly had up about not having completed the work sooner (despite no deadline), I was then informed that it was too long (no word count had been provided) and then told I would only be platformed if I complied with a condition of not speaking out in that manner again. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the platformer entirely disregarded everything I researched and wrote, based on a tweet a few months later where they exhibited no comprehension or willingness to even begin to address the issues I’d outlined – standard issue hegemonic erasure. Three months wasted but what are you gonna do?
The hegemony has shown time and time again absolutely no concern for deplatforming, suppressing and marginalising the voices of minorities since year dot – it comes with the territory. With no Brash chorus to defend you – no one would even know and as such very few members of whatever hegemony (this site being an exception) seem equipped to analyse let alone account for our own positionality – see Dennis above.
The answers to the types of questions wypipo et al are currently losing their shit over are being answered – away from the glare and bright lights of MSM attention, because they don’t fit the fast food sound bite culture. Regardless they are here, they are strong and coherent and most importantly they’re not going away.
such a view is grounded within the western colonial legal definition and context from which the original statement derived. It is as Moana Jackson noted highly problematic to advocate from a position that enables those in power to continue to dominate over others. Such advocacy of free speech does not serve the interests of those that live in a context of colonial oppression.