By Olivia Pierson
[First published on Incite Politics 2/5/18]
I’ve lived in this country for 40-odd years, mostly in areas that would be called white middle-class suburbs. I went to a very middle-class girls’ high school and have held down jobs in a wide variety of fields of employment. I have a circle of friends from many different backgrounds, but never once have I met someone who could truly be called a flat-out racist, i.e, someone who really hates people of a different ethnicity.
And yet, if Susan Devoy – and now Kate Hawkesby – are to be believed, NZ hides a horribly racist population lurking around every beautiful beach and behind every lush, green, rolling hill. We are given examples like the recent one about an Iranian family coming back to their parked car to find a rather dopey and badly written note on the windshield which read: Qu
This is NZ, not your country, our land, our carpark!
Apparently, moments such as these should provoke feelings of “collective shame” according to Hawkesby, who writes:
People who write notes like this, people who feel this way, we can’t just dismiss them as uneducated losers… We have to face up to the fact they are part of the fabric of our society and it’s our collective shame. En
Our collective shame. What the hell does that even mean? Where do these busybodies, like Devoy and Hawkesby, get off dictating to New Zealanders that they should individually accept some kind of bizarre unearned guilt? They sound like crusading Catholics flailing around for sins of omission to draw attention to, hoping to load people up with feelings of guilt over something they haven’t even contemplated doing.
Which brings me to my point. If people ever wonder what happened to the neurotic religious habit of searching oneself for faults to confess, it morphed into the social justice conscience of the secular left and right. What was once the congregation, or the body of believers known in Christianity as the ‘body of Christ’, has now become ‘the collective’ – a truly socialist concept if ever I’ve heard one, and one without regard for the fact that, in reality, we can only ever act as individual entities with individual agency. The term collective is just bad Marxist philosophy.
Just as my heart cannot beat for another person, nor my mind do the thinking for another, my conscience cannot be needled on behalf of another’s actions, or inactions. If people write silly notes to immigrant families, especially if the family come from the totalitarian Islamic Republic of Iran, then I say that if that’s the worst thing that happens to them on any given week, they are living a damn good life here in NZ. As for the petty-minded scribe, they are entitled to their view – that’s what free speech is all about. It’s not there to protect nice words being expressed, it’s there to protect offensive ones.
This weak-spirited race obsession that’s currently being pushed through the media channels is creating too many people who, instead of developing a slightly thicker skin in order to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, are more prone to running and telling tales like tiny defenceless children. This will only create a nation of pitiful adult victims; perhaps it has already.
We’ve all had complete strangers call out nasty words to us at one point or another. My personal favourite was a car load of corpulent Maori girls at a gas station on New Year’s Eve a decade ago. They watched me fill up my petrol tank while wearing stilettos and a slim-fitting red evening gown. As I walked past their car to pay, I heard, “Ooooooooo look at you little Miss Hoity-Toity anorexic honky bitch… giggle, giggle, giggle.”
What did I glean from that moment? Absolutely nothing other than girls don’t always appreciate me looking fabulous, or up myself, or whatever it was that elicited that spontaneous remark. Would I want for those girls to have their freedom of expression taken away from them? Hell no! It actually still makes me smile whenever I think of it. This was such a classic human moment in its antagonism, and reminds me now that people aren’t always on my side in this life. That is not a bad conclusion for people to hold somewhere in their overall awareness. The world doesn’t always have to ostensibly be our friend for us to get on and live well within it.
I would bet Aunty Dot’s best Persian rug that the Iranian family who came here 15 years ago have experienced the kindness, or even the understandable indifference, of hundreds and hundreds of Kiwi folks before they met with the vocal rudeness of one. But Devoy and Hawkesby are not paid to tell that story. Frankly, they are the ones who should feel shame for such agenda-pushing nonsense – to create a problem that is not a hallmark of the character of our nation.
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer"
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