Give all to peopleism

June 15, 2017

The NZ Human Rights Commission has launched an anti-racism campaign: Give Nothing To Racism:

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people.

“How we treat other people will define what kind of country we become and what kind of person a New Zealander is,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“Today some iconic Kiwis are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Human Rights Commission and asking us all to give nothing to racism, to give it no tolerance, to give it no acceptance and to give it no welcome. They make me incredibly proud to be a New Zealander.”

“Our campaign is hard case as well as hard hitting. It’s done in a uniquely Kiwi way.”

Overseas and closer to home, racial intolerance and overt attacks are on the rise. 1 in 3 complaints to the Human Rights Commission are about racial discrimination but the overwhelming majority of people never complain when they’re humiliated or abused.

“Hatred and extremism is becoming normal in some places and we want to avoid that future for Aotearoa. Racial prejudice and intolerance starts small, in quiet places, in our everyday lives. When it becomes normalised it turns into overt racism and extremism,” said Dame Susan.

“We live in one of the most ethnically diverse nations on the planet – as well as one of the most peaceful. Whether it stays that way will depend on us, every New Zealander has a role to play in our future. Racism starts small but so too does hope.”

“New Zealanders have a right to discuss important issues like immigration and housing: but we need to do it without racism. Play the ball not the person.”

Today’s campaign is the second stage of an ongoing, nationwide anti-racism campaign. Last September the Commission launched a website that enabled everyday New Zealanders to share their personal stories of racism. It let people who hadn’t experienced racism or prejudice to hear from people who have. The That’s Us campaign has so far reached more than 3 million people. . . 

Feeding and nurturing racism keeps it alive.

Treating people as people, acknowledging and valuing what we have in common, and appreciating differences as differences rather than matters of right or wrong, kills it.

Give nothing to racism, give everything to peopleism.


Peopleism is key to equality

August 5, 2010

Hoen Harawira and Pita Sharples have got what minor parties want – lots of publicity and a dog whistle to the people they hope might vote for them.

But what they want is wrong.

Appeals to victimhood and separatism might give  them power in the short term but they won’t lead to long term success and harmony.

If they’re uncomfortable about the idea of their children choosing partners from a different culture they need to get out more.  I know Maori who have no interest in their own culture and non-Maori who are passionate about it.

We’re not a monocultural society or even a bicultural one. New Zealand is multicultural and we’re  richer because of it.

Interaction with people from a variety of cultures gives us the ability to understand and appreciate differences and to take the best from all of them to make us and our country better.

If they could take their blinkers off they’d be able to look around the world  and at history and find any societies which were based on racial purity were doomed.

Intermingling and intermarriage is a wonderful example of synergy where the whole is better than the sum of its parts.

They think you want equality for Maori but the key to equality is peopleism not racism.

We must accept and appreciate people as people regardless of racial, cultural or any of the other differences which could separate us. We need to look at what unites us and that’s that we are all people – different people with different values and practices maybe, but under the skin where it really matters we’re the same.

As Shylock might have said, had Shakespeare set the Merchant of Venice in New Zealand:

Hath not a pakeha eyes? Hath not a pakeha hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means,
warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer
as a Maori is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
do we not die? . . .

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge, and even celebrate differences. But the minute any of us start thinking the things which separate us are more important than those we have in common we’re on the road to separatism.

If they think that’s a destination to aim for they’re not only deluded they’re dangerous.


Peopleism next step for post-feminist progress

August 10, 2008

When a friend is asked why her surname differs from her husband’s, she says it’s because he wouldn’t change his when they married.

 

That the question is even asked is a sign that feminism hasn’t achieved all it set out to. But I am not sure it’s the best vehicle for continuing the journey towards equality – if indeed that is where we ought to be aiming, because some say that women who want to equal men lack ambition.

 

Moving on from that, there are many ways in which life is better for women of my generation than it was for those before us because of the battles fought and won by feminists.

 

But while the barriers which used to stop women following traditionally male careers have largely disappeared, has much improved for those in what were traditionally female occupations whether it’s men or women who are doing them?

 

Feminism has helped women who want to break through the glass ceiling but it has done less for those who clean up behind them. And while it’s generally accepted that women can go where only men went before, the reverse is not necessarily the case.

 

So while women may be accepted as mechanics or engineers, a man who chooses to be a kindergarten teacher, a midwife or to stay at home with the children is likely to be asked, “Whad are ya?”

 

Whether it is a man or a woman who is left holding the babies, the role of primary caregiver is still an undervalued one and that can be said about a lot of other ocupations, paid or unpaid, regardless of who does them. Because when it comes down to basics, it’s the job not the gender which counts and feminism has done nothing to change that.

 

If you shear a sheep it is a job, if you knit its wool into a jumper in a factory or at home for money that’s work too but if you do the knitting for love, it’s only a hobby. Getting a lamb from conception through to chops in the butchery is real work, but getting the chops from the butcher’s to the dining table and cleaning up afterwards is not.

 

Whoever is doing it, these domestic duties are still largely regarded as the unpaid and often unappreciated preserve of women in spite of the best efforts of generations of feminists.

 

There are a lot more important issues than who does the dirty work at home to worry about, but I’m not convinced that feminism is the best way to address them either.

 

One reason for my reservation is that by definition feminism means for women, which leaves a niggling suspicion that it also means against men.

 

Even if it is possible to be pro-women without being anti-men, feminism emphasises the differences rather than the similarities; yet it’s easier to win friends, and campaigns, by establishing common ground than by highlighting divergence. So we should be seeking solutions to our problems, not because we are women but because we are people and these are people’s problems.

 

Self-advocates in IHC call themselves People First  because that’s how they want to be seen. And surely that’s the best way to see everyone, as people, without labels and regardless of any differences between us and others.

 

I am not repudiating feminism, but suggesting there is a step forward from feminism to peopleism; where issues and concerns are addressed by people because they are people’s issues and concerns.

 

Sometimes a group of people or its members might be better able to help those in the group because of what they have in common. But almost always people from other groups have something to offer too. And sometimes by labelling an issue a particular groups issue enables those in other groups to ignore it because it’s not their concern.

 

In other words sometimes women are better able to help other women, but that doesn’t mean men might not be able to help too; and it might prevent the side-lining of important matters as women’s issues if they were regarded as people’s issues.

 

 

And we’ll know we’ve succeeded when my friend no longer has to explain why she and her husband have different surnames.

 

 

This post was prompted by Noelle McCarthy’s  column in the Herald  and Deb’s response to it at In A Strange Land. and The Hand Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: