Friday, 6 February 2015

The Mainstream Media Paepae

It's Waitangi Day, Aotearoa.  Time for Pākehā to reflect on what it means to live on colonised land, where promises were made but not kept and the consequences are discrimination, disadvantage and disrespect for Māori.

Unless of course you're the Race Relations commissioner, who's bored with the political shenanigans and couldn't care less. 

There will be Opinion Pieces.  There will be White People Saying Stuff about those rude people at Waitangi and remember when they wouldn't let Helen Clark talk and do none of them have jobs, anyway?

The lack of knowledge of our colonial history will be on full display.  Many New Zealanders actually believe individual weaknesses of Māori explain any problems we have now, protestors are just divisive and that it would be lovely if we would just play rugby, drink and sing together.

It's this lack of knowledge which makes for some very strange public spokespeople emerging.  Leaving Ms Devoy aside, the person who's grabbed the most airtime this year hasn't been a kuia with lots of mana like Naida Glavish, or a lawyer who's been working on resolving Te Tiriti claims for decades like Annette Sykes, or even the chair of the United Nations working group on the rights of indigenous peoples, like Moana Jackson.  

Nope, it's a white dude who doesn't like cats

It's not the substance of Mr Morgan's comments on Te Tiriti I'm interested in here - other people have already done that well - it's the media constructed attention he's getting.   Like other rich white men his age (cough Bob Jones), Mr Morgan is enjoying a media platform amplifying his voice in ways he does not deserve. 

Check this out - Orewa, 2015, showdown between Old Rich White Men Talking About Race.  In the blue corner, we have Brash Man.  In the corner he bought for himself, we have Mr Morgan.  Nineteen people come to listen to them, all, it sounds like, from the same demographic.  Nineteen.  I can get that many people to come listen to me talk about who's going to win the cricket world cup if I offer to cook dinner.  And none of my friends like cricket.

But look at the fine print in this article.  It says there are "almost the same number of media representatives".

That's the shame.  When the media could be covering incredible orators with vast knowledge like Moana Jackson and Annette Sykes, when they could be asking young Māori what Te Tiriti means to them, when they could be approaching Pākehā historians like Anne Salmond or James Belich to educate us, to expand our views, to move us on, they are trailing around after a bloke who doesn't like cats.

No disrespect Mr Morgan, but check your privilege here.  I don't actually like the things you are saying - I think they are cloaked in dangerous, racist discourses like one law for all and Treaty industry - but as importantly, I don't like the fact you are taking advantage of your privilege to influence public debate on a topic you are ill-qualified to comment.  Perhaps you could use your influence to help ensure we hear the voices of people who have dedicated their lives to understanding Te Tiriti and colonisation?

That's who I would like to listen to and learn from today. Tino rangatiratanga peeps, hope Waitangi Day opens new learnings for you.

1 comment:

Ky Selket said...

Thank you I have been making statement to Morgan but you have summed up my clumsy approach