Up Front by Emma Hart

237

White in Brighton

A "white pride" group, Right Wing Resistance (RWR), claims to be patrolling New Brighton streets that "the police and the system has all but given up on".

Come in, come in, have a seat. Now, you can rest assured, this is a safe place. There’ll be nobody judging you, we just want to talk. I’m here to help you.

Now, to begin with, I’d just like to show you that really, I understand where you’re coming from. Everyone talks about the hate and the violence, but at heart, you’re just scared, aren’t you? You’re afraid of the Other. That’s a basic drive, and nothing to be ashamed of. You’re like a little dog, yapping at anything it doesn’t recognise.

You have a deeper fear than that, though, don’t you? You’re afraid you’re a complete and utter purposeless failure. I mean, you’re near the bottom, aren’t you, and in a class-conscious city like Christchurch you’re never allowed to forget it. You have to take all this fear and resentment out on someone, and it’s clearly going to be the only people below you, isn’t it? Because basically you’re a bunch of cowards.

No, now, don’t get angry, you need to accept this to move forward. I mean, seriously, you’re looking for Polynesian crims in New Brighton? Have you considered Aranui, or Upper Riccarton? Of course you haven’t, because you’re afraid you’ll get your arses kicked, aren’t you?

And these ‘sporadic patrols’ of yours. Let me guess. You have a few mates round, drink a few beers, shout at each other about coconuts, and then somebody says, “HEY! Let’s go on, y’know, patrol-thing!” And you stumble around a few blocks scaring old ladies until you get tired and go home. Alone, because you’ve been wearing the same matted black fisherman’s rib jersey since 1987 and no woman will go near you. No, you prefer to hang out with ‘the boys’. Have you considered… no, perhaps we’ll leave that for another session.

I find it intriguing, too, the way you’ve simply imported American prejudices about African-Americans and applied them to Polynesians. They’re big, they’re dumb, they’re violent, they hang out in large groups being intimidating, they have no respect for other people or the law…. does this remind you of anyone? No? Interesting.

Your capacity for self-deception, too, is simply fascinating. You said, didn’t you, that:

If a European youth was found vandalising property: "We'd probably say `Hey, what are you doing? That's not really the white way'."

Now, you know that’s total bullshit, really, don’t you? The first time I read that, I thought it was some kind of performance art. Do you actually think all the vandalism in ‘white’ suburbs is done by ‘brown kids’ driving down the Crime Motorway? We don’t even have one of those. We have a Crime One-Way System. The complexity of which suddenly explains to me why you haven’t made it over to my side of town.

But listen. It’s not your fault. You don’t exist in a vacuum, any more than Nick Griffin does. You’re getting traction because people are afraid, and they’re afraid because they’re told to be. When a German magazine describes Christchurch’s “Frenzy of the Youth” and our terror of “car-based terrorism”, what kind of a mayor would possibly say, and I’ll admit I’m paraphrasing here, “Yeah, that’s pretty accurate. Stay home, tourists, we suck.” I mean, how could a politician possibly have some kind of interest in keeping their constituents permanently disproportionately terrified? And what does that fear do? It lets people like you get a toe-hold. Still, according to Bob Parker, you don’t exist. How does that make you feel?

So, for our future sessions, I’d like to suggest we try some phobia therapy. If you were terrified of spiders, we might give you a picture of a spider, then a VR spider, then gradually work our way up to locking you in a room full of spiders and not letting you out no matter how much you scream. In your case, of course, the problem isn’t spiders. Unless it is? Because I’d really like to watch that. Or we could treat you like we would a yappy little dog – with a shock collar.

And when I said no-one was going to judge you? I lied.

     
Emma Hart is the author of the book 'Not Safe For Work'.

(Click here to find out more)

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