Complicit silence after a public accusation of racism

Lauren and Stefan silenced

On Monday Stuff’s resident race-baiter applied his considerable ignorance to the Southern-Molyneaux venue-withholding debate. The dish-water dullness of his writing failed to reward readers with any fresh idea or new perspective of the important principles at stake in the debate. It was instead a tawdry example of intellectual dishonesty, not that Mr Joel Maxwell is intellectual, far from it, but he certainly is very dishonest and that puts him in the company of a good number of intellectuals.

Mr Maxwell writes of Ms Southern Quote.

The ideas when spoken aloud by the Canadian seemed idiotic in the local context. But still deeply poisonous.end quote.

This from the keyboard of a man who in his short tenure as an opinion-writer has described non-Maori New Zealanders “like the worst deadbeat dad”, “a dizzying mess”, “the pinky-white constant in the background of the Great Show that is our nation’s recent history”, “thieving p?keh?”, “fizzing with paranoia”, “in the middle of everything, bridging the Left and Right, operating from fear and its associates, spite and stupidity,” “racists, bigots, and rednecks,” “living in the gutter of racism,” they “abase themselves by their strange, angry preoccupation with their own resentment,” and “their kin picked our pockets.”

There are more claptrap cliche’s in his superficial scribble than you can poke a taiaha at. The fellow is putrid personified (he stinks)?but congratulates himself on suspecting a whiff of mal-odour in others.

Less than a month ago Mr Maxwell railed against the now-infamous “racist dictionary entry”. Said Maxwell, “In a racist nutshell, the dictionary defined the meaning of the word “bro” in a way that linked it to M?ori, M?ori familial connections, M?ori gangs and, in a puzzling example of its possible use, M?ori rape.”

Joel’s intensive investigation of the dictionary entry failed to notice the contextual explanation “(Often used humorously or ironically)” perhaps because he has no sense of either. He also lacks the ability to read a dictionary because if he did he would know that the now-infamous “Maori-rape” was not at all “a puzzling example of its possible use,” it was a citation; an early, perhaps the very first, example of the word appearing in New Zealand literature, lending the entry legitimacy in a truly unfortunate debut: “Hey Milt! C’mere! Hurry up bro. [Spoken to a Maori adolescent as he is raping his own sister]”

Mr Maxwell finds it unnecessary to inform readers of the source of the citation. Clearly noted in the dictionary, is prominent Maori author and academic Ngahuia Te Awekotuku. It’s from her 1989 collection of short stories entitled “Tahuri”, but that’s where Joel’s dishonesty pales in comparison to our esteemed intellectuals.

Because, despite their penchant to clarify and edify in matters of public interest (there’s no shortage of academics wading into a public debate regarding other controversial topics), our institutions of higher learning, our universities and scholars, stayed silent as vile insults were heaped on the work; silent by choice.

Despite Te Awekotuku’s cosy relationship with the press, she too stayed silent as foam flew from the lips of the ignorant in anger at the “puzzling example” from her own work, but most deceitfully the institution actually responsible for the entry, an institution that bathes in the reflected glory of it’s own association with the ‘Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English.’ Indeed it promotes its collaboration in the production of the work like a badge of honour but Victoria University of Wellington, stayed silent and allowed the ‘racist’ debate to rage when they could when they should, when they had an implicit public duty to help put that particular fire out. They instead chose, like gutless-wonders, to remain silent on the sidelines and let the fire burn.

That display, that complicit silence by all those folk and their sorry ilk, on such a major flash-point as a public accusation of racism is the very reason why we need alternative viewpoints. A different perspective, perhaps such as Ms Southern offers, and even if she misleads, as accused by her detractors, could she possibly be more misleading than our own dreadfully deceitful press, public institutions, opinion-writers and ‘academics’?