Calling us all racists is not the path to racial harmony

Dame Susan Devoy

Most of us breathed a sigh of relief when Susan Devoy declined to renew her contract as the head of the Human Rights Commission. She had done a terrible job, and to cap it all off, the Commission was under scrutiny for having an awful culture itself, even though it is supposed to be the main body upholding ALL human rights. Clearly, Ms Devoy must take some responsibility for that, and it is hard not to believe that this was a major factor in her decision not to seek reappointment.

She may be gone, but sadly she is not silenced. Far from it. In the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre, she wrote for The Spinoff, agreeing with similar fools such as Anne Salmond, that we are all racists and have blood on our hands. quote.

But addressing those who over-reacted to her Christmas comments, Devoy wrote: “Do not write an op-ed today crying about how shocking [the Christchurch] murders were. Because you helped make it happen. You helped normalise hatred in our country. You helped those murderers feel that they were representing the thoughts of ordinary New Zealanders.” end quote.

Like many others, she forgets a few inconvenient facts. Brenton Tarrant was not a New Zealander. He chose New Zealand partly because it is a peaceful, tolerant sort of place and also because security tends to be very lax here. How exactly ordinary New Zealanders going about their daily business ‘helped make it happen’, is a mystery.

Devoy was apparently upset that people accused her of waging a ‘war on Christmas’, which she clearly did. As Human Rights Commissioner, she seemed to completely forget that the largest ethnic group in New Zealand has rights too. Especially the right to be able to celebrate their festivities as they see fit, just as minority communities do. After all, we celebrate Chinese New Year and Diwali here quite happily, but the then Human Rights Commissioner wanted to discourage people from celebrating Christmas because it was offensive to racial minorities. No wonder she faced a backlash, but as her emotional rant at The Spinoff shows, she still harbours a grudge about it.

According to her, this is another reason why Brenton Tarrant went on his murderous rampage. This woman is clearly deranged. quote.

But while she was not speaking for the state, Devoy’s comments were quite something from somebody who had occupied such an important position.

And this is why civil libertarians ought to be concerned at calls for more censorship in the wake of the Christchurch murders. Because while those in favour of more state control of opinions protest that they are only talking about extremist views, the polarised political times have produced a tendency to soften the definition of extremism.

Banning fascism is a more troubling proposition if you have a proclivity to declare almost everyone with whom you disagree of being a fascist.

And this gets to the problem with censorship. Those in favour of more Government regulation of opinions invariably point out that they wish to restrict the most odious forms of speech which, in theory, should be reassuring.
Yet we live in an era when all the loudest people spend quite a bit of time accusing each other of being Nazis all day.

Stuff. end quote.

People like Susan Devoy really need to be ignored. She never accepted that people had the right to express their opinions on her stance about Christmas. Ordinary New Zealanders are less likely to adopt an inclusive stance if they see their way of life being threatened, and the former Human Rights Commissioner should understand that encouraging inclusiveness, rather than lecturing people about how bad they are, is the path to racial harmony. Yes, she may have seen cases of racism in her role, but she was blind to the racism that she herself was guilty of.

Most of us encounter people of other races on a daily basis, and we don’t care at all. I like to think I judge people by who they are, not by how they look. There are good and bad people in all races and, if anything, the Christchurch massacre opened up the world of Muslim New Zealanders to us in a way not seen before. I was impressed by what I saw. And yet, I have lost count of the number of times I have effectively been called a white supremacist. People like Susan Devoy beat a path of righteousness, unaware of the enormous damage they are doing. It is time for this nonsense to stop.