Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Using the term 'Maori child abuse'

Joris de Bres has entered the argument began by Paul Moon who objects to the term 'Maori child abuse'  because it stigmatises all Maori parents.

Professor Moon said the phrase was often used with good intentions, but he asked media and government agencies to stop employing it.
I would be surprised if government agencies were employing it. I did a search of the Ministry of Social Development website and couldn't find one example. Then I tried CYF but turned up nothing. Police? No. I am assuming if the term was employed it would appear at the top of a search list of course.

If I do a general search the initial results are dominated by Mr Moon's coverage. It's the classic case of bringing attention to something you are complaining too much attention is already brought to. And picking a low news time almost guarantees that attention.

There are media examples such as this which use the term in the headline which describes the following content:

Maori make up more than half of the 21,000 children harmed in the last year, and the number abused over the last five years has also more than doubled to 11,000 in 2010.
I have some sympathy for Paul Moon's point. A male Maori friend of mine once told me that when he had his nieces or nephews in his care people would look sideways at him if they played up. He felt very constrained in any action he could take because of what he felt about people's expectations.

I suppose there is a legitimate case to use the descriptor if Maori child abuse was particularly different from other child abuse in nature. And it may be. In my limited experience I observe more 'neglect' by Maori parents but I refer to neglect as measured against over-protective middle-class standards. Maori child abuse may also have its aetiology in adolescent and teenage childbirth setting it apart from child abuse by other ethnicities.

In the final analysis Maori children suffer disproportionately from abuse and neglect and if that stigmatises all Maori parents it is unfortunate. Only a dimwit would assume every Maori parent ill-treated their children when statistics show a very large majority do not.


ZenTiger said...

Read the front page of the DomPost - we now have a global perspective on just how bad Kiwis are: "Please forgive us Kiwis".

We are told we collectively need to feel the shame of hosting sick individuals within our society, and chances are they are indeed fellow Kiwis.

And on Page 9: "Kiwi Crime's biggest idiots". Reinforcing my point a mere few pages later.

With regard to Moon's point about labeling child abuse, it's clear that the NZ psych needs to label and group all forms of abuse and evil, often in the most simplistic way. It does eventually rub off. This is why a smack in discipline is exactly the same as beating children to death with a plank of wood.

Underneath these plaintive cries are a group of people calling for more government intervention into more aspects of normal people's daily lives, trying to control the things they think they can control, which may have very little to do with the causes.

But perhaps the biggest cause of all is the promotion that government can take over from personal responsibility. Look at the recent calls for a sugar tax as another example.

Paulus said...

This once again brings up the question, if needed, "What is a Maori".
I always understood that there are no full Maori in New Zealand, only part Maori, so why use the emotive term.

KG said...

"I suppose there is a legitimate case to use the descriptor if Maori child abuse was particularly different from other child abuse in nature."

The descriptor is used not because the abuse is different from other child abuse--although in it's degree of savagery it would appear to be so--but rather due to the staggering prevalence of it among maori.
The descriptor is fair and accurate, especially since it helps avoid tarring all Kiwis with that brush. Let the odium rest where it rightfully belongs.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"Let the odium rest where it rightfully belongs."

KG, Just as you and I rankle at having authorative laws shoved down our throats because of the stupid behaviour of a few (rule by lowest common denominator) Maori who do not abuse their children have every right to feel aggrieved by being stereotyped. Can you see it from their viewpoint?

KG said...

Yes, I can see that Lindsay and some extent it is unjust.
But when one identifiable group is responsible for the overwhelming majority of serious child abuse, neither is it just to speak of "NZ's child abuse figures"--as though the blame for them is shared equally by all groups in NZ.

James said...

The point that its not the Maori race...but maybe Maori culture,especially in reaction to the welfare state etc that is the crux of the issue of child abuse.

Redbaiter said...

Its the Maori who embrace collectivism.

Race based "leaders" like Pita Sharples etc and their constant references to "our people"...

They therefore bring it upon themselves.

Anonymous said...

@James: I thinks it's both - the maori underclass seem to have lost the ability to empathise and feel shame, and they use their culture to excuse their abhorrent behaviour.

Chuck Bird said...

"Its the Maori who embrace collectivism. "

Some Maori embrace collectivism. Others do not.

Agree with you about Sharples and co.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

The glaring impasse here is officialdom collectivising statistics, the ensuing use of those stats by all and sundry (including individualists like myself), and then the objection to the offence and injustice collectivisation causes.

What to do? Make a New Year's resolution not to refer to any data that sorts itself by gender, race or age? Eye colour, religion or sexual orientation?

The rise of statistical information keeping has paralleled the rise of govt. It serves social engineering.

KG said...

The minute you make broad generalisations concerning race and culture verboten then that's the moment you begin to play the game that the left want you to play.
The horror of "collective judgements" is a nonsense. Anybody above the level of halfwit realises that the very useful tools of categorization and generalisation carry with them the implicit understanding that they are just that: Generalisations, and subject to exceptions and variations.
To say that Asians generally score higher in IQ tests than Caucasians is not to say that all Asians are smarter than all Caucasians or all Caucasians are dumber than Asians.
It's just a generalisation. Or, if you like, a general description.
And the general description of Maori as a culture prone to child abuse as absolutely fair.
What's more, I fail to see anything at all wrong with the term "Maori child abuse" when talking about Maori children being abused. What else are we supposed to call it?

Redbaiter said...

"Some Maori embrace collectivism. Others do not."

Yes, quite right Chuck.

I keep forgetting how few Maoris actually vote for the "Maori" Party.

Nevertheless, the number of Maoris who speak out against this disgusting and racist blot on our political scene are very few and far between.

CR said...

I am ashamed to be Maori. We have serious problems as a race and culture with violence and despicable behaviour that continues. I want to hang this 16 year old from the nearest rafters and his parents too. Nothing excuses animal behaviour like this and blaming the Treaty and colonisation is just plain offensive as well. I hang my head in shame as should those in our culture and race who continue to procreate and raise these animals.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

CR, You shouldn't be. You personally are no more responsible for that event than I am.