If not racist, it’s certainly xenophobic

One quarter of all foreign sales of real estate in New Zealand are to ‘Chinese’ buyers. The reason I wrote the word Chinese as a parenthetical phrase is to most red blooded necked true New Zealanders (i.e. white) the classification of ‘Chinese’ would mean anyone of Asian ancestry.

So let’s look at those numbers.

Firstly, if 25% of real estate sales to foreign nationals are to the ‘Chinese’ then 75% are to other nationalities. They are mostly made up of Australian, English and American…but of course most of them are white so they don’t stand out as much at an auction, still where are our politicians rallying against those ethnicities and banning them thar white foreigners from buying?

Marry all this up against the idea that only 6% of all sales are to foreign nationals then we have a true picture. The ‘Chinese’ make up one quarter, or 6% of all sales. That means the red invasion of our real estate industry purchases a total of 1.5% of all the properties on the market.

Some are now saying that the ‘Chinese’ should only be able to buy newly built houses, well lets look at that. That is what they do in Australia and now Chinese (no parenthesise) buy 20% of the new housing market which is now causing the same headlines over there as people are ‘being shut out of the new housing market.’ It also means that the new house prices are spiking as there is a cashed up group of people fighting for them leaving many now unable to purchase either a new build or new-to-them house.

When I go to sell property I want as many people there who can purchase the property, I’d happily sell my property to an Asian, Australian, American, Angolan or anyone who had the right to buy it, and had the ability to do so.

I am sure you’ll see and hear people like Winston Peters on the telly and radio airwaves talking up the yellow peril this week, but please lets keep this conversation in the realm I like to call ‘reality’…which is ‘Chinese’ buyers make up 1.5% of all purchases and any kind of spin on that other than calling it ‘hardly any sales’, well if it ‘aint racist, it’s certainly xenophobic.

A powerfully, disturbing diversity excercise

This video is powerful, disturbing, uncomfortable and I think a must watch for everyone who wants to learn a bit more about how a minority might feel.

The teacher is Jane Elliot. Jane is also a diversity trainer who developed the Angry Eyes Exercise otherwise known as the “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise to teach students what it feels like to be a person of colour.

This video begins pretty abruptly, where one of the students who’s been singled out based on eye colour is extremely frustrated. The exercise shows how when an uncontrollable attribute, in this case the colour of someone’s eyes…or indeed the colour of your skin…effects you when you get treated in a prejudicial way.

I am way underselling this and trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about…I think you should just watch the footage.

The Youtube clip has a write up that says

Racism is a system of advantage based on race. Do you believe white racism exists? Do you believe black racism exists? How has white racism adversely affected the lives of black people in America? How has black racism adversely affected the lives of white people in America? Black people or any minority race can hate white people all they want but it has no power to impact a whole group of white people.

Centuries of slavery followed by systemic racism—such as share cropping, black codes, Jim Crow—have acted as “virtual re-enslavement” policies that continue today. The practice of lynching was done by families, women and children, who would smile and grin at blacks being hung, or tied to a truck with their bodies dragged through the streets until the limbs came apart. Although not everyone is traumatized by a particular incident, slavery is not about one incident but a lifetime of incidents.

Brown Eyes-Blue Eyes Experiment – “The Angry Eye”
By Ms. Jane Elliot

One terrifying statement in the video, and I hope you made it right the way through is when 80 year old Jane Elliot says “things are better than they were when I was 13…they’re not as good as when I was 50.”

You can’t legislate against being a ‘dick’

I wrote a few months ago about football players in the UK being arrested and facing criminal charges for racial taunts, I said then I wasn’t for it, and I have to say I am still not for it. You can’t legislate the ‘dick-ishness’ out of someone.

I could understand if a player was to face a British Football enquiry, that’d make sense, but to head to criminal court, over an offensive statement just rubs me up the wrong way. It’s obviously not that I approve of the statements, but there is something deep in our psyche about speaking freely…even if we are an offensive douche.

It makes me uncomforatble.

Well you can heighten that  uncomfortably now as a 21 year old has just been in court in the UK after ‘tweeting offensive comments‘.

A Welsh student could go to jail after tweeting offensive comments about footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsing during a game on Sunday.

Liam Stacey, from Pontypridd, south Wales, was arrested after the comments were shown to police from Twitter users, including former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore.

The tweet read: “LOL. F*** Muamba. He’s dead.” After various users complained, the 21-year-old replied with a series of offensive messages.

Liam Stacey is obviously an idiot, and an insensitive moron…but is he a criminal for sending offensive tweets…what the heck have we come to?

It feels all a little Orwellian to me…and that worries me.

We have the freedoms to be as offensive as we want, and whilst those amongst with an ounce of sense will realise that what Liam Stacey was reprehensible…it wasn’t criminal.

What’s next? Undercover cops in pubs listening to our conversations to hear an offensive comment?

No matter how hard we try, we cannot legislate away someone being a ‘dick’ and to try will just lead to those of us who are not, to lose some of our freedoms as well.

With freedoms we have to acknowledge that idiots and morons are going to be able to use those freedoms to offend…but it is so much better than the alternative…isn’t it?

Gingrich will be nervous about a Perry endorsement

Today we hear the sad news that the last remaining hope for comedians the world over has left the race to be President of the USA. In the early hours of this morning NZ time Rick Perry announced he was pulling out from the race.

Comedians the world over have shed a tear, first Donald Trump, then Hermain Cain now the last of the ‘genuine’ jokes has fallen, Rick Perry says goodbye.

I guess they can still make jokes about Santorim’s name, or Romney’s uncomfortable natures…but the last of their bread and butter has gone.

About the last point of interest is who Perry will now endorse. Politicians in America do this hoping that their followers will then support that candidate…however in this case I am sure the candidate who if being touted by the media as the one likely to receive that endorsement is more than a little uneasy about it.

As a part of his withdraw from the race, Rick Perry also endorsed Newt Gingrich.

“There is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign,” he said in a news conference in North Charleston, S.C. “Today, I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich for president of the United States.

He called Gingrich a “conservative visionary.”

Newt Gingrich found himself in a little hot water speaking to the N.A.A.C.P. saying “If the N.A.A.C.P. invites me, I’ll go to their convention, talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” The N.A.A.C.P. was not impressed.

Gingrich was then challenged at the latest South Carolina debate asking if he acknowledged that some Blacks could have found that offensive, Newt’s response was a simple, “No!” and then went on another diatribe about teaching the unemployed how to get a job, keep it and own it.

So why would the Perry endorsement be of concern to the Gingrich camp. Well apart from the obvious ‘idiot’ factor, when the dumbest guy say’s your his guy and you think, “If the idiot is endorsing Gingrich…does that mean I am an idiot to support him as well”…apart from that, there is this…caution, contains offensive words

I was going to make some point about the hypocrisy within politics in America, or how these rich white men seem to have lost touch with the “99%” but I think I’ll just say that Perry and Gingrich are GOP nominees…what else would you expect?

It’s not about Race or Age or Gender or Religion…it’s about Poverty

For a long time I have had a bit of an untested theory. I’ve come to a place where I don’t think the negative statistics in New Zealand are about race, age, gender or religion.  I think they’re about poverty and the by products of poverty.

Let me back up a little and give you an example of a common ‘talkback’ conversation.

The headline reads something like, “Another baby dies at the hands of its caregivers.” This is what happens on talkback; ‘Owen’ from Nelson phones in as this is his pet topic. Within 60 seconds ‘Owen’ has already told New Zealand to “wait and see…they’ll be native…their whanau will support them…you just wait.” Now sadly ‘Owen’ is right far too often, but is his underlying racist bias accurate? Is being Maori a significant factor in killing your kids? That’s where I think the conversation becomes interesting.

I would put to you that being Maori is not as much of an issue in this as many may think. Let me ask you this question. How many wealthy, well educated Maori (or any race) are killing their kids? The answer is, “Not many…if any!”

So if being Maori means you’re over represented in our sad statistics, why are not wealthy, well educated Maori over represented in this, or any, negative social issue?

Poor Maori over represented…wealthy, educated Maori not…hmmmm.

Just for context, contrary to some commentators child abuse is not an issue exclusive to Maori as I demonstrate in this post on my old blog ironically posted exactly one year ago to the day. In there you can read that former Child Commissioner Ian Hassall says…

“Roughly the same number of Maori and non-Maori children are killed in New Zealand.”

Martyn Bradbury came to  the same conclusion in a post in the middle of last year.

No one is arguing that Maori are not over represented, but my question is, “Why?”

Well lets look at another people group.

How many European/Pakeha/White (whatever word takes your fancy) are in these negative statistics? How many Pakeha lawyers or Doctors kill their kids? Again I think you’ll find the answer is, “Not many…if any!” What about Pakeha in poverty, the underclass, white trash…those guys…how do they feature in the negative statistics? Well coming back to my first point, without having had the research or data in front of me, I have assumed, and many of you would agree, that they would be over represented in those statistics, especially compared to their wealthy, educated Pakeha counterparts. I think that is a fair and safe assumption.

Well it has been an assumption…until now.

Today has seen a longitudinal paper released which has followed over 1,200 people for 30 years. The study looked at children born in Christchurch who grew up in either poor, or rich, families

Those from poor families were more likely to leave school without qualifications, have babies before they were 20, commit crimes, go on welfare and have addiction and other mental health problems in adulthood.

Most of these effects were explained by factors which tended to vary in line with family incomes, such as parents’ education, addictions, criminality and marital conflict and breakup, and the children’s own intelligence.

But study director Professor David Fergusson said the effects of childhood income on later educational and career achievement persisted even after allowing for all other factors

So if you grew up poor, you tended to stay poor. If you were poor you were also a much higher chance of being a part of those negative statistics we were talking about earlier. The key factor here is that this extensive study shows us that the main contributing factor to being a part of negative statistic in society is poverty and the by-products of that poverty. Not race.

It also showed that if you were raised in a poorer family you were also more likely to have mental health issues.

The study asked detailed questions about people’s lives which also enabled the researchers to diagnose whether they had depression, anxiety disorder, drug or alcohol addictions or anti-social behaviour.

On average, those from poor families had slightly more of these disorders than those from rich families.

Here are some of the key findings of the report

Schooling
Almost 40 per cent of those in the poorest fifth of families left school without qualifications, compared with fewer than 10 per cent of those in the richest fifth.

Pregnancy
A third of those from the poor families but fewer than a tenth of those from rich families fell pregnant, or got someone pregnant, before they were 20.

Crime
A third of those from poor families, but only a sixth from rich families, committed a violent or property crime between the ages of 18 and 30.

Welfare
20 per cent of those from poor families, but only 4 per cent from rich families, spent some time on welfare before they were 30.

Income
Those from poor families earned an average of just under $40,000 a year by age 30, while those from rich families averaged $60,000.

I wrote earlier in this post that “being Maori is not as much of an issue in this as many may think” but it does impact these negative statistics, but not because they are Maori… because so many Maori are ‘poor’.

What the mainstream media needs to understand, and needs to address, is that these issues, these negative statistics in our society, issues like crime, mental health issues, physical health issues, low education, addiction, incarceration are issues of poverty and the by products of poverty, are not issues of race, age, gender, religion or anything else.

Why are Maori over represented in these statistics…because they are over represented in ‘being poor.’ If more of them are poor…then more of them come up in the negative statistics.

So do we solve this problem?

Well I firmly believe that we cannot solve any problem until we acknowledge the issue and seeing as mainstream NZ would try to convince us these are issues of race…or religion…or age…then we are doomed to keep this sad cycle of negative social statistics going.

Let’s acknowledge the problem, then maybe together we can find a solution.

Being arrested for using racist taunts…I’m not for it.

In the UK at the moment you can be arrested for using racial insults. Now I find racism abhorrent, the idea that one person believes themselves better than anyone else because of the colour of their skin, or what culture they come from is not only loathsome but ludicrous. Often examples of such cretins who believe in racist theories are plainly at the bottom end of any kind of human ‘ranking system’, which just negates their argument even more, however the idea of being arrested for being a bigoted ignoramus doesn’t sit well with me.

Maybe it comes down to the difference between being a racist, and using a racial slur. Splitting hairs you might say…well I would challenge any person who has not, at some stage, for some reason, put themselves above a person of another race momentarily.  Maybe you’ve rolled you’re eyes when hearing a foreign language at your supermarket and thought, “You’re in NZ now, speak English!” Maybe you’ve been cut off when driving and thought, “Bloody Asian drivers!” Maybe you’ve been extra watchful of a Maori in a public place because, “All Maori are criminals!” Does that make you a racist….or someone who has had a racist thought? Is there any difference?

There are already a couple of examples in English soccer of players being charged with racism, not just by their governing body, but by the police, and the latest example has seen a 20 year old spectator arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Now I could go down the extremely weak “freedom of speech” argument, but as we all know there is not such thing as freedom of speech. My discomfort with the idea of being arrested for being a 20 year old moron, who doesn’t understand the issue at hand, is two fold.

Firstly is will not eliminate racism, to me if this is an issue that English soccer is trying to stamp out it would seem more appropriate and perhaps more effective to then ban that spectator from entering any stadiums in the future (however from what I know of the English soccer fan the stadiums may soon be pretty empty in some parts of the UK).

Secondly, and more importantly, I have a concern as to the precedence this is setting. Bigotry and discrimination comes in all forms, against all areas of life. There are 6 main areas of discrimination, none of which are seen any differently in a court of law. You cannot discriminate against race, sexual orientation, gender, age, religion and disability. Of course there are many more such as ‘height-ism’ but these 6 are the main group, and the most common you would see in a court of law. So if in a court of law, these 6 are seen as equally wrong my question is, “Where to from here?”

If this is the precedence that the UK is setting for racism, what is to follow for discrimination and bigotry against age, religion, gender, disabilities and sexual orientation. I don’t know about you but I’ve heard some pretty crass and shocking things shouted out about people in all those categories of life…do we arrest and charge anybody verbally participating in offensive language to all those individuals as well.

Now I realise this is a fairly defeatist post as I don’t have a solution, I think I am just saying that I don’t think you can ‘arrest’ the racism out of people. But then what can you do?

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