Disempowering thinking that increases resentment & lowers resilience

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri. Photo NZ Herald

Last week Labour M?ori MP Meka Whaitiri was quoted by a Hawkes Bay reporter, saying, “In this country, we have a hierarchy; white men, white women, brown men, brown women, and sometimes brown women have to talk extra loud to be heard?quote

Talk about putting the boot into any form of equality in this country – and coming from the recipient of a race-based benefit, a M?ori ward, no less.
The nonsensical ?hierarchy of victimhood? tends to be in this order: 

  • Muslim
  • Female – not white 
  • Male – not white
  • Female – white

NB: White ?cis? males are not capable of being victimised; therefore the hierarchy does not apply to them.

In my own practice over the years, a recurring pattern I found with young people who had Pasifika/M?ori bloodlines, is that I first needed to help them to get rid of their chip-on-the-shoulder mentality. 

Once my kids rose above identifying as a victim (which they had been taught by others), we were able to build towards sustainable individual empowerment and success. They became happier, freed from the dangling millstone that constantly whispered that they were oppressed and failures due to their skin colour.

For those who unlearned the insidious millstone of victimhood, resilience, resourcefulness, perseverance and tolerance usually followed, to the empowerment of themselves and their families. 

My eyes still get a little misty whenever I come across some of them at the airport, working hard, engaging in community work, some even with their kids who are being naughty, smiling, happy, in a relationship of commitment (…geez am I that old now?!). Anyway…love those wins!

Anecdotally, we all know of Maori families who are living lives of success in Australia, even with the lack of race-based benefits, and in conversations with them there is a notable lack of grievance-mentality…shock horror…

What MP Meka Whaitiri has done in one sentence, is to manage to play the victim while illustrating exactly how gender/race-based policies are actually disempowering to ?brown? and ?women?. The policies built by those who follow such thinking increase resentment and decrease resilience. We need to help those who are struggling but not assume that their struggles are due to gender or ethnicity.