Monday, July 26, 2010

UN rapporteur - listen up

The indigenous rights special rapporteur from the UN is saying that the cause of the high rate of Maori incarceration is "the historical and ongoing denial of the human rights of Maori."

That is a view which I have more sympathy for than once was the case. But whatever the truth of it is, it is still a cop-out. And it undermines the chances of the situation improving by providing an extrinsic excuse for offending.

100 years ago NZ jails were not full of Maori. That came after urbanisation. It came after the alienation of males from the wider whanau. As James Belich has pointed out, in the 1800s there was a great deal of crime committed by colonial Pakeha men also alienated from their families through immigration. Having a family both relying on them and caring for them is the best protector from offending.

So I wonder if James Anaya would entertain the idea that Maori women have a great deal to do with the high rate of Maori incarceration? Because Maori women have supplanted a large number of Maori men as the head of their families. That's not to say it isn't a two-way street. Many of the men bring the alienation upon themselves by feckless and unsociable behaviour.

This then is where the state has played a damning role by supporting the alienation of Maori men from whanau. It does this through the benefit system and through the legal system (family court and CYF). The odds are stacked against too many a Maori boy from birth. Consider that;

1/ He will be raised on welfare in a workless household
2/ Most of the male role models he is exposed to are disaffected
3/ Most of the female role models he is exposed lack the capacity to 'mother' in the full sense of the word (which is possibly why so many Maori males have relationships with much older women - looking for the mother figure they never had.)
4/ He is stereotyped (rightly or wrongly) by Pakeha institutions
5/ He is failed by (or he fails - take your pick) the education system thus subjecting himself to a life of menial work which does not provide enough money to compete with the DPB.
6/ He will father children very young also subjecting himself to a life of penury being bled dry by the child support system.
7/ Crime becomes the only avenue through which he can make some real money and prove his machismo.
8/ He will grow up in an environment where going to prison is part of the wallpaper.

So forget the fading historic wrongs - land theft and racial exclusion. They are being, or have been righted. And I support that process in so much as the state should right its own wrong-doings.

What the rapporteur needs to get to grips with is that the state keeps Maori down with its benevolence-cloaked intervention. And he can add to the benefit and legal system drug prohibition, which takes a greater toll on Maori than any other ethnicity. There is no future for the group of Maori Mr Anaya claims to care about in furthering the role that the state plays in their lives; in appealing to more national and international state agencies to ensure their 'human rights' are upheld. That particular mode of action is what got many Maori into the position of 'extreme social and economic disadvantage' they now occupy. For instance it was radicalised Maori feminists who fought hard for the DPB in the name of human rights.

The Maori man has to understand that the state is not his friend. And neither is the UN.


Anonymous said...

Alas, you forget that the rapporteur and the people going to jump this bandwagon, are of the class that derives its income and status from "fighting for the basic rights" of continually "suppressed" groups.
No chance whatsoever that any of your reasonable counterpoints will even be considered. Those arguments will be simply discarded as "rightwing" or "racist". This debate has been lost long ago when we allowed the collectivist and Marxist to take over our bureaucracy and academic institutions.


Failure or success comes down to the individual of whatever race.
After 12 years in New Zealand I have seen some maori succeed and others fail.
Maori don't fail because they are maori, they fail because they are lazy, or they are alcolholics, druggies and so on.
And this applies to peoples of all races.
The UN guy is further fuelling Maori failure by focussing on colonialism when he should be looking at what I might call home truths, as upbringing forms a major part of it.
Lindsay, you are right in raising the role of government and welfare for rewarding and funding various personal failings.