Sexist, homophobic, racist…but that’s what we want in our sports commentators isn’t it?

Let me put my cards on the table. I like Martin Devlin, in fact if I am out and about between 9am and midday he is my choice to listen to on 693am in Dunedin. I think he is a amazing broadcaster and a nice guy but his rant yesterday to an abusive texter demonstrated once again that Radio Sport has an underbelly of misogynist, homophobic, sexist men who are now the only voice in NZ if you want to listen to entertaining sports commentary on the radio.

Whether it’s on Mark Watson’s show where they think that AFL is ‘bloody gay’ or the convicted criminal in residence who breaks bones in a woman’s back then he himself plays the victim card over and over again. A ‘man’ who is probably the only radio host in the country with his own offenders page on the Sensible Sentencing Trust website.  It would seem that the sentiment of degrading women and minorities is, if not encouraged, certainly acceptable to the bosses at Radio Sport.

To the issue yesterday, I do have empathy for Devlin having been on the receiving end of many text, emails and calls whilst working for Newstalk ZB up to, and including, death threats (I have an account of some of them here if it interests you) and many of us that have been in that position would have liked to do what Devlin did. In fact I’ll go so far is to say I agree with him that just because people work in a public space, no one has the right to be abusive to that person so it’s not what he did…it’s that the terminology he used to the abusive texter that demonstrates the underbelly of the ethos that is acceptable (at least to management) at Radio Sport.

As I said, many of us in the position that Devlin was in may have wanted to do the same thing, and I don’t actually criticize him for calling the texter out, however what I will point to is the language that he used to attempt to shame, insult and degrade the texter.

“Pussy bitch”
“You girl”
“Bitch”
“Pussy bitch”
“You girl”
“Girl”
“You girl”

See a pattern? And I haven’t been selective here, these were the only insults thrown at the texter. Devlin didn’t slip in a ‘coward’ or an ‘idiot’ at any stage, just the list above.

Every term that Devlin threw at the abusive texter wanting to shame, insult and/or degrade him or her was feminine. All the terms that Martin Devlin used to throw abuse back at, and insult the texter, either referenced a female, a female animal, or a female body part in an incredibly crass way.

When we think it is okay to use the way someone looks, or acts, or is…as basically a swear word, then we need to check ourselves. Isn’t it interesting that there are no real words we throw as insults to one another that represent white males, yet women, minorities and the LGBTI community all have representative words that we use to insult one another.

I am sure Martin Devlin didn’t mean to degrade all women by basically using their likeness or words that represent them, to hurl abuse at a texter but that then speaks to the culture at Radio Sport and somewhat to the culture in NZ.

There are words that we used to use like ‘hory’ and ‘retard’ that have gone the way of the dinosaur for good reasons. Now it’s time that we understand, and address that there are many more terms, that we feel comfortable to use as insults, that it is time to put into the annals of history.

It’s been confirmed, the lunatics are running the asylum

Gender_Neutral_AP_c0-66-700-474_s885x516I’ve had many people I’m connected with ask me if I am going to make any comment on laws like HB2 in North Carolina that, among other discriminatory actions, bans transgender individuals from using the bathroom they identify with.

When I was working as a talkback host, one of the most important questions I would ask my callers who had strong opinions was “then what?” The classic example I remember is about a house in Porirua that was frequented by gang members, that was occupied by a solo mum and several kids. There were calls a plenty to get them out of the state house etc…so I would ask “ok, then what?” Often people would be a bit stumped by that question so I would go on, “let’s say we get that solo mum, her kids and other associates out of that house…then what? Then where does the solo mum and her kids go now that they are on the street, or are they in another state house that might be next to you, or are they in a caravan that gets parked at the end of your driveway…then what?”

What the question did was cut through all the bullshit and rhetoric and make people look at the issue from a real world perspective. As you will probably understand some talkback callers didn’t like to be challenged to go a but deeper in their overly-simplistic ideologies.

So as soon as I saw the goings on in America, under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ laws like North Carolina’s HB2, my first reaction is “okay, then what?” What happens if a transgender woman, who was born male, uses bathroom facilities that now by law they are not allowed to use, then what? Is someone going to be standing at the door looking for evidence? Are the police going to be called if someone needs to wee? If the police are called and it’s confirmed that this woman was born male and she is sitting in the cubicle next to my wife peeing..then what?

Well one of the ‘then whats’ is that people start calling the police when they think a transgender woman is in their bathroom, the police turn up and remove that person from the bathroom even though they are female and were born female as shown in the video below.

 

She is a lesbian and dresses in what could be described as a ‘butch’ way, but she is legally entitled to be in that bathroom but as someone didn’t think she looked ‘female enough’ she was kicked out of the bathroom by the police. Madness! As an aside if she was born male the “show me some ID” cop needs to learn that you can re-apply for your driver’s license and even birth certificate and change you name and gender marker from ‘m’ to ‘f’ (as revealed in a recent ‘I am Cait’ episode) so it wouldn’t have been evidence one way or the other anyway.

A lot of this xenophobia is coming from the religious right who are using phrases like “Men should not be using the bathroom with little girls” as a way to increase the level of fear among the ignorant which then leads to situations like the video above, when a woman doesn’t look ‘womanly’ enough to someone, gets accused of being a man at birth. So it appears the law is to protect women from having to use the bathroom with men…or even people who are suspected of once being men…ok, so then what?

What about when this guy walks into the women’s bathroom

B_yqV2aVEAAVTjS

Surely if the woman in the video above cause so much panic that the police turned up, what happens when he uses the women’s bathroom?

Well this is Michael Hughes and he is transgender, yes that means he was born a she and now laws like HB2 are forcing Michael to use women’s bathrooms…because that’s what religious freedom is all about, kicking our lesbians from the bathroom they have to use, and forcing men like Michael to use one they obviously should never be in.

Madness!

 

In a similar vein let me introduce you to Ella Giselle, she is 19 and was born male, she now, by law use the mens’ bathroom. I think that if one side of this conversation is allowed to use the “men with little girls’ scare tactic then I think it’s perfectly valid for me to ask “why you are forcing young, vulnerable women to use that bathroom with dirty, redneck truckers…are we not concerned for their safety?”

730x466

The other more sinister side to this conversation is that what laws like HB2 allow is for a vulnerable sector of society, a sector of society that research shows over 40% attempt suicide compared to under 5% from society as a whole, to be put in a situation where they could be at their most vulnerable.

When using public restrooms the transgender individual is statistically the only one at risk of being attacked as research shows zero…that’s zero…reports of cis-gender people being harassed by transgender people using bathrooms for which they identify and, on top of that, “roughly 70% of trans people have reported being denied entrance, assaulted or harassed while trying to use a restroom,” according to a 2013 Williams Institute report.

So who is at risk with these so called bathroom laws? It’s not the ‘little girls’…it’s the transgender community.

I have a lot more to say about those who would like to bring in what I call “Yahria Law” (Christian Sharia Law) to the West, as you can imagine, when they look for ways to discriminate against minority groups within their society, but for today I wanted to highlight for you the ridiculous nature of laws like HB2 and how, to me at least, it’s now evidence that the lunatics are now running the asylum.

Family First Distorts Facts Surrounding Venue Allowing Same-Sex Marriages

I read with interest an article on stuff.co.nz last week about Living Springs, a Christian venue in Christchurch, that has changed its position on allowing LGBTI couples to get married there. From the tenor of the article it seemed that the venue had come to this policy change in a sensible, rationale and logical way. The director, Denis Aldridge, was quoted saying, “we’ve been on a journey with this one, and we’ve got there… It took a while.”

Part of the journey involves a recent Human Rights Commission complaint against Living Springs after a lesbian couple were refused their request to hire the venue for their wedding. According to the article, Living Springs did not feel coerced by the Human Rights Commission to change their policy. In fact Elizabeth Wiltshire, one half of the couple who made the Human Rights Commission complaint, rang to speak to Aldridge after the change in policy. Wiltshire indicated that Aldridge seemed to be perfectly happy with the outcome.

“It was good, actually. I felt it was genuine. It wasn’t ‘Oh, we’ve had this unlawful policy and now you’re making us change it,’ [he was] very thankful,” she said, “It gave them a mandate to push for change.”

Fast forward one week and lobby group Family First distributes a press release headed “Function Centre Pressured to Allow Same-Sex Weddings.” The Press Release uses Living Springs as a reason to push the narrative that “Faith-based function centres” are being held hostage and forced into holding LGBTI marriages when they don’t feel they should have to. Family First also continues to make allegations that some in government said this would never happen which is factually incorrect as the opposite was clearly signalled at the time.

“If a church currently hires out their hall for money, they can’t discriminate against any group who chooses to hire out that hall.” Louisa Wall, Q&A.March 2013

I saw Family First’s Press Release on Facebook and it didn’t ring accurate to me after having read the stuff article. The change in Living Springs’ policy seemed more pragmatic than pressured. The conversation on the Facebook post ebbed and flowed between Living Springs and general negative comments about marriage equality. However anytime a contributor suggested the headline of the Press Release may be incorrect Family First director Bob McCoskrie pushed back with the idea that Living Springs “were certainly placed under pressure.”

This really didn’t add up to me, so I phoned Living Springs Director Denis Aldridge myself and requested a formal interview to use for elephantTV. It turns out Aldridge’s story is fascinating.

As a Pastor he was at the forefront of protests in Balclutha in 1986 opposing the Homosexual Law Reform Act. Since then he has been on what he describes as a “journey of thirty years”, where various people came into his life at different stages and challenged his perspective on what it means to be gay. Today Aldridge is an supporter for marriage equality. To have shifted from being someone who led the march against homosexual law reform to someone who is now ‘pro’ marriage equality is simply remarkable.

I wanted to clear up the most important claim by Family First that Living Springs was ‘pressured’ into changing their policy. Aldridge’s response was simple.

“It’s totally wrong and that didn’t come from us, that was the narrative that the guy that rung me wanted and I refuted it” he said. “The reality was [Living Springs] didn’t feel strongly that way, we’d actually come as an organisation [to the place where] we were seeing it, we believe, on a higher level and the higher level was ‘what would Jesus do?’”

Aldridge also made it clear that if they were to take what many Christians believe to be a “biblical interpretation” on marriage and reject marriage equality, then “we have to take a biblical line on re-marriage and divorced people” as well, given that the bible specifically denounces those forms of marriage.

Family First contacted Aldridge looking for comment on their change in policy prior to writing the press release and Aldridge wanted to make clear that he told Bob McCoskrie that they did not “feel coerced [into making the decision to change policy].”

“It’s actually that we have decided it’s the right thing to do” Aldridge said.

Aldridge feels as if Family First has purposely ignored their position.

”They obviously have an agenda, there’s a certain narrative that they wanted to hear and they’ve printed that narrative,” he stated.

Aldridge said they “weren’t pressured into [holding Same Sex marriages]” and they “don’t see it as capitulation.” The issue of Same Sex couples using the venue was already being spoken about at Living Springs, “we’d already had this conversation and that was the words I felt Bob [McCoskrie] was trying to put into my mouth that we were bullied into it, we answered that [we were not] but he’s gone ahead with that story anyways.”

Aldridge finished the interview with a challenge to us all, “I felt really proud of [Living Springs] in the end that we had, I suppose, the humility to say ‘well we haven’t always been right in this thing.’”

To clear up one issue with this whole thing. The law is clear, and it hasn’t changed since Same-Sex marriages were legalised. There is no ambiguity. If you hire a venue to the general public then you must abide by the Human Rights Act of 1993. This doesn’t allow discrimination in twelve main areas, one of which is ‘sexual orientation’. If you hire your venue to the general public for marriages, now that LGBTI couples can marry, then you cannot withhold the venue from them because of their sexual orientation. Prior to marriage equality, if your venue made itself available to the general public and that same LGBTI couple wanted to use it for a birthday party, or a baby dedication, or any kind of celebration that you’d hire it to any heterosexual person for, you also couldn’t refuse them because of their sexual orientation. There is no difference in the law.

I gave Family First the opportunity to retract or correct their statement about Living Springs informing them of the interview I had conducted and the information that came from that interview. They have refused to do so. It is now unequivocally clear that Living Springs were not ‘pressured’ or ‘bullied’ or ‘forced’ into making this policy change. They chose to, and were happy to change.

The full unedited interview with Denis Aldridge is below.

 

Update: 15/04/2016, 3.30pm

I’ve just been contacted by one of the people who I asked to speak to Bob McCoskrie from Family First claiming there is an inaccuracy in the post which I obviously want to correct. Bob maintains that the phrase “he declined to meet with them.” is inaccurate. Bob’s supposition is that the emails between them may be seen as a meeting and, as it was obvious that my representatives were going to support my position of challenging Family First, he felt there was no need to speak about the issue any further.

So, just to be perfectly clear, Bob did exchange emails with the people I asked to meet with him, in which he defended his position and said that there was no reason to meet.

There was no challenge to the accuracy of any of the other information I have provided in the post by either Bob McCoskrie or Family First.

Yahria Law. The only way forward according to Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee

Yahria Law becoming more common

What is Yahria Law you might ask, well just think of Sharia Law for Christians. ‘Yahweh’ plus ‘Sharia Law’ equals Yahria Law and it becoming more and more common.

For clarity, Sharia Law is the body of Islamic law. The term means “way” or “path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam. Many in the West see Sharia Law as a great concern as who would want a religion, ignoring the laws of the land, and forcing citizens to adhere to a code or belief system that they didn’t buy into.

Welcome to the world of Yahria Law a ” legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on [a particular form of] Christianity”

We are seeing it more and more, Western societies are warning of the ‘dangers’ of Islam, especially amongst the Conservative Christian section of that society, but are happy to support Christian views being forced on their own society when it flows against the tide of public opinion or even at times when contravenes the law.

If you do not support Sharia Law coming into your society, then you cannot support Yahria Law as it’s exactly the same thing…only you agree with it and that’s the problem.

If you don’t support a law/ordinance/by-law/society norm where someone uses the words “because I’m a Qur’an believing Muslim” as a reason to ignore it, then really you can’t support the tagline “because I’m a bible believing Christian”. The other option is to support both. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

You either let anybody use the tagline “it’s my religious freedom” or you let nobody use it.

If you support religious freedom, especially when it contravenes a law, you will, for example, have to support the Rastafarian society using marijuana as part of their religious ceremonies. You will have to support some Mormons having multiple wives. You’ll have to support Muslims praying five times a day…and the list goes on. If you wouldn’t want to support the above examples…and millions of others from people with religious beliefs…then you can’t say “I won’t supply marriage certificates to Gay couples under God’s authority” when your highest court has made it legal for LGBTI couples to marry in your country.  If you are not happy with a business person, a civil servant, an elected official citing Mohammed, or Buddha, or Ganesha as their reason for refusing your business, or your civil rights, then you cannot cite God as to why you do it. Period.

We have seen Yahria Law in all it’s terrible splendour in America since SCOUTUS legalised Same-Sex Marriage with bakers breaking the law, venue owners discriminating illegally and even publicly elected officials refusing to carry out their legal duties by denying gay couples marriage certificates. It’s disgusting and I want to state publicly that I support the fines and penalties put upon those people breaking the law by denying people their civil rights.

There’s a super easy test to see if you are on the right side of the law (let alone history), if you offer that good or service to the general public, and you wouldn’t/couldn’t refuse it to a, let’s say, interracial heterosexual couple, you cannot deny it to an LGBTI couple. If you are a private club, or organisation and don’t offer those goods or services to the general public then you can do what you like (pretty much).

So here’s the solution for those of you, like Mike Huckabee for example, who appear to want to have a society made up with Yahria Law. Form a private group, a sect if you will, a closed society, remove yourself from the outside world and do it. Make the society with large walls so no one from the ‘outside world’ can get in, and live your life…but if you want to be in society, especially as someone who provides a good or a service to the general public, then you need to abide by that society’s laws.

The more I see individuals trying to perpetrate Yahria Law the more I am reminded of the words of Thomas Jefferson when he wrote to the Danbury Baptists saying “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” No law is to be made using religion as its source and, as I said earlier, you can only interpret the above statement giving you religious freedom above and beyond anything else…if you grant it to every other religion.

This post is the Genesis of the phrase #YahriaLaw, as of this post the phrase does not exist anywhere else on the internet. Use it well.

Yahria Law

UPDATE 12.30 10th September (NZST)

I’m wondering where the rally and support is from the likes of Mike Huckabee for this US citizen who has just been released from her job for not wanting to serve alcohol as it contravenes her religious beliefs…oh, she’s Muslim so her religious freedoms can be ignored #caseinpoint #YahriaLaw

When home is the mouth of a shark

For those of us who cannot understand how ones homeland can be so dangerous that you’d leave all your worldly possessions and run elsewhere, I give you the poem ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire

“HOME,” by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

Refugee Quota Conversation

Let me state from the outset that I think New Zealand should be taking more refugees. New Zealand’s refugee quota has been set at 750 since 1997 and in that time our population has grown about 20% so at the least we should have kept track with that. I think today we can do more than that but both the Labour Party of last decade and the current National Government have stalled this and have not yet increased numbers. This problem is not about Mr. Key and ‘the right‘ it’s about politics in NZ from the political spectrum ignoring the issue for nearly two decades even though there is a review every three years.

Now in saying that I firmly believe that the quota of refugees to NZ should be increased, I also want to bring some accuracy to this conversation. If any of you have ever heard me on talk-back before you’ll know that I have an almost militant desire to be factual and fair and I think a fair point to make right now is that we seem to do more for refugees in NZ that other countries.

We were challenged on Q&A on Sunday morning that if we to step up to the refugee plate even as well as Australia did, then we’d be taking 3,000 refugees. I thought I’d look into that.

Currently Australia takes 13,750 refugees pa with the Federal Government budgeting nearly $143 million for settlement. New Zealand takes 750 refugees with the Government budgeting $20,190,000 in the 2015 budget. NZ takes one refugee for every 5,900 citizens whereas Australia takes one refugee for ever 1,700 citizens so they appear to be much more open and welcoming, however NZ spends $27,000 per refugee whereas Australia spends just $10,400, on average, on each refugee.

John Key claimed that one of the reasons we accept fewer refugees is that we provide full wrap around services and it would appear drawing the unspoken conclusion that other countries don’t do that. I think that there is validity in that claim if, like Australia, other countries are spending far less per refugee than we do in New Zealand.

So whilst I want to state again that we should definitely be taking more refugees I don’t think we’re having the correct conversation. Assuming that the budget remains the same for settlement of refugees in NZ, what we should be asking is “should we take more refugees and give them fewer services and help, or should we continue to provide the full wrap around services we have for the refugees we are currently receiving?”

Or, of course, we could all open our wallets, Government included, and give more to help those in need.

Next week we’ll talk about Same-Sex Marriage

I began writing a post in March on Same-Sex Marriage and it’s relation to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. I have come back to the post on several occasions only to still be here two months later. I was inspired to write it after watching the movie Selma and I think there are many parallels to be drawn between the two fights for equality. What I have decided to do is break the piece into three posts that will be uploaded next week:

  1. Marriage Equality is the new civil rights campaign
  2. It’s time to get on the bridge
  3. Don’t be a George Wallace

I intend on challenging you to get involved in advocating for the LBGTI community, a much discriminated group. Even in places like New Zealand where Same-Sex Marriage is legal, there is still a battle to be won, especially in the church. We need to make a stand for what is right.

From next Monday I’ll begin posting and aim to have all three up by the end of the week.

As an aside, I realise that some won’t like these posts, but I am actively choosing not to engage in pointless debates or arguments around my thoughts. If you disagree that’s fine, however I’m too old and tired to try to convince anyone who is ardently fixed in their position. If you do want to genuinely and openly converse about anything I have written about I welcome it, but if you want to troll me or my thoughts then I’ll leave you to do that on your own blogs and social media.

As someone who has held these beliefs for a long time I have suffered discrimination (in a very minor way) and exclusion from some Christian groups. To be honest I think I have been somewhat cowardly in not speaking up more publicly until now. I guess there has been a fear that my opinions may effect an income stream or opportunity for me somewhere in the future amongst the Christian community.

However I have decided that I am not going to worry about that any more. I am going to be myself and speak my mind as I see it. If it means I lose people or opportunities then so be it.

I look forward to engaging with you next week.

Why Jeremy Clarkson is going no where

Ever heard of the phrase “too big to fail”? Well it’s apt to use when it comes to Jeremy Clarkson and consequences to his actions. He, and by definition Top Gear, is too big to fail for the BBC. It is the holy grail of television shows and the golden calf of all cash cows.

Here’s some things you may not be aware of.

Top Gear has no budget, by that I don’t mean they scrape together favours to make it one the skin of their teeth…I mean their budget is limitless…they have no budget and it shows when they want to test a car and the company won’t comply and lend them one, they buy one.

Evidence of this excess in spending has been seen in NZ when the Top Gear team were on an island in the Hauraki Gulf and Jeremy Clarkson wasn’t able to purchase the correct brand of cigarettes, so a helicopter was sent back to the CBD to pick some up for him. As I said…they have no budget.

On top of that, the series is shown on over 200 territories, and each episode gets watched 50 times, that’s right each episode is watched once, then repeated on average 49 more times in those territories. Shall we do the maths? One episode, times 212 terrotories, times 50 viewings is 10,600 viewings. And there has been 166 episodes in total. That’s a mind blowing 1.76 million episodes that have been, or will be viewed thus far.

It’s been revealed today that “Jeremy Clarkson is on his last warning“. It was always going to be a slap on the wrist, he was never going anywhere. Jeremy Clarkson and the whole Top Gear team is likely one of main funders of dozens of other BBC programmes purely due to the amount of money that they bring in.

Money talks in this days and age and you need to understand that the hugely successful model that has built up around Top Gear means their hosts are almost untouchable and for the BBC they are too big to fail.

To smack or not to smack? (psst. the answer is ‘not to smack’)

The topic of smacking is again in the headlines and I am trying to figure out why a particular political party is still pushing this issue.

In response to someone who potentially will be in parliament at the end of this year stating that he breaks the law because he thinks the law is ‘silly‘ Kyle MacDonald of the NZ Association of Psychotherapists released a statement saying amongst other things that the ” physical punishment — including spanking, hitting and other means of causing pain — can lead to increased aggression, antisocial behaviour, physical injury and mental health problems for children.”

Further to that professional opinion, based on studies and research, I also wanted to mention an interview I did when I was involved with a radio show with Petra Bagust a couple of years ago. We interviewed Dr Russell Wills, now Children’s Commissioner, who was then the head of the Paediatrics Society of NZ and asked him if smacking was a gateway to abuse, his response was that ‘there’s no question about that of course it is.’

You can hear a two and a half minute section of the interview here

I have not cherry picked a couple of academics here either, the vast majority of child care experts agree that smacking, even ‘inconsequential’ smacking can be harmful long term. We live in a country where is something can be harmful it is often outlawed. Our laws work by the majority of us, who know where the line is, giving up some freedoms because the small minority can’t figure that ‘line’ out. You and I don’t need to be told not to murder…but we need specific legislation there so the handful of people who do need to be told, can be legislated against. I guess the one difference here is everyone knows murder is not acceptable but as for smacking we have the vast majority of experts in issues around children almost speaking with one voice saying ‘don’t smack’ and in response some sectors of the public are giving that position the middle finger think we know better than people who work in these fields every day, who see the downstream effects of what we’re talking about, who make the longitudinal studies that we then choose to ignore. It just makes no sense.

Look you can choose to think what you like, but here is something that I read yesterday that I think demonstrates to me what it means to be a parent and what we should be doing, in our own Western way, to raise our children.

Here is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.

And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behaviour is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.

Lets just state that bit again

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behaviour is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

Even a tribe, in a third world country, who doesn’t have the access to anywhere near the same resources we do when it comes to education and expert opinion, has this figured this out.

But then again, maybe you think the law is ‘Silly’ so you’ll keep smacking your kids because “two thirds of NZ agree with you.”

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.”