Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Susan Devoy lambasts Jamie Whyte

From Scoop:

In the run up to the general election Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is urging politicians to “do the right thing and stick to those major issues that will help make New Zealand a better place for all our children to grow up in.”
“Equating Maori New Zealanders to French aristocrats who were murdered because of their privilege is a grotesque and inflammatory statement. Accusations of Maori privilege are not borne out by Maori socio economic statistics.”
“Whether we like it or not the reality is that ethnicity and disadvantage are connected and found in damning statistics that on average sees Maori New Zealanders life expectancy, education and health outcomes lagging behind non Maori New Zealanders,” said Dame Susan.
“The connection between ethnicity and disadvantage did not appear overnight and breaking it won’t happen overnight either. Treating everyone exactly the same will not necessarily make everyone exactly the same and anyone who thinks so is incredibly naïve.”

What Whyte said:
Maori are legally privileged in New Zealand today, just as the Aristocracy were legally privileged in pre-revolutionary France.
But, of course, in our ordinary use of the word, it is absurd to say that Maori are privileged. The average life expectancy of Maori is significantly lower than Pakeha and Asian. Average incomes are lower.  Average educational achievement is lower.
Legal privilege offends people less when the beneficiaries are not materially privileged, when they are generally poorer than those at a legal disadvantage... the principle of legal equality is far more important than any redistributive or compensatory impulses that people may have.  It is not some philosophical nicety to be discarded because you feel guilty about what people with the same skin pigment as you did 150 or 200 years ago.
 I can't figure out whether Devoy  is OK with affirmative action but doesn't think it's a major issue, or doesn't  think equality before the law is a major issue? Either way, as race relations commissioner they should both be major issues for her.

Update: Whyte responds by calling for Devoy to resign.


Psycho Milt said...

Can't say I'm keen on Whyte's views myself, but between this and the incest beat-up it's kind of depressing to see the casual misrepresentation of them by news media and commentators. It leaves you wondering whether to attribute it to malice or a shortage of cognitive horsepower.

Jim Peters said...

Most likely both, Mr Milt.

macdoctor said...

I can't figure out if Devoy understands English. Whyte is very clearly drawing a distinction between material privilege (which clearly most Maoris do NOT have) and legal privilege ( which they most certainly DO have). If she can't understand this fairly elementary argument, she has no business being the Race Relations Commissioner.

White is usually too erudite to make a good politician, but he should be able to at least expect a modicum of comprehension from someone of Devoy's ilk.

Anonymous said...

The job Devoy has requires a particular set of skills. Rational thinking and debate are not among them. She started OK but has slid down a slope into doubleplusgood newspeak as was to be expected.


Jigsaw said...

I think as race relations commissioner ( a position I think should cease to exist in any event) she has no business in even calling for a topic like this not to be debated during the election run-up. One of the things that has been wrong with this country is the inability of the major parties to debate this issue and that of immigration