Wednesday, January 27, 2021

On John Banks and censorship

I listen to John Banks but wasn't tuned in yesterday when he made comments in response to a caller which were being recorded by an outraged and offended listener using TicTok. The caller described Maori as a stone-age people who are genetically predisposed to crime, alcohol and educational under-achievement. Banks made a typical Banksie response for theatrical effect. It came across as agreement. 

I don't know if Banks is racist. He says he is not.

In an attempt to ascertain how Banks might have responded (much easier in hindsight than heat of the moment) I've put myself in his shoes. I'd have interrupted the caller. I'd have a couple of questions. Why does the condition of a race 2-300 years ago have relevance today? The Pakeha whalers and sealers were a reprehensible bunch sexually abusing Maori children. Getting perpetually drunk and nasty when they came off their sea stints. An uncivilized race of people living in New Zealand at that time. 

But why does that matter now?

Maori and Pakeha in 2021 are generations removed. We are all human first. We are each individuals. The caller's blanket statement is illogical - never mind insulting and hurtful (especially to those who want to be insulted and hurt.)

BUT I am really worried where this new level of censorship is taking us.

By 1/ Magic Talk removing the host and 2/ advertisers pulling sponsorship and 3/ Cricket NZ suspending association and 4/ a non-listener describing Magic as "endless stream of racism, ignorance and general bigotry" (which I will personally attest is untrue), people with ideas like the caller will only get disaffected and driven underground in search of similarly disaffected types.

It is far preferable that they say their piece and hear the challenges. That they get ridiculed or lambasted by listeners who disagree. Which apparently did happen after the call.


Max Ritchie said...

Not at all clever of John Banks to agree or appear to agree with the caller. Doing so just gives Banks’ critics ammunition. The underperformance and deficiencies of some Maori are obvious - you don’t have to make stuff up to demonstrate that! I’m quite sure that Banks is not a racist but someone in a public position like him needs to show that as well as be it. In this case he has changed the focus away from Maori failure - some, not all - and not himself. Not a good look. And there’s plenty to draw public attention to - separatism and $9 million of taxpayers’ money to a privately owned meeting and dining room are just starters.

pdm said...

NZ Cricket are on a roll. They have stuffed up TV coverage of Test and ODI Cricket, I don't care about T20, and now they are taking away radio coverage. It is not as though any of their commentators were involved.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The Slippery Slope said...

I think Karl du Fresne got it in a nutshell with his blog post.