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Discrimination is always Negative

© Peter Zohrab 2003

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The concept of Positive Discrimination -- also called Affirmative Action -- highlights features of the dark underbelly of contemporary liberal democracies:

  1. Doublespeak -- a combination of George Orwell's terms Doublethink and Newspeak. See the page: http://www.orwelltoday.com/dblspkthennow.shtml ;

  2. Good Faith in such matters is really Bad Faith;

  3. Statistical Racism and Sexism;

  4. The invisibility of groups of Non-People;

  5. The fact that the people who control our societies are, to a large extent, the groups who are advertised as disadvantaged.

The term Positive Discrimination has obviously been invented in order to give a positive spin to those forms of discrimination which Leftists wanted to put in place or preserve -- while hypocritically continuing to claim that discrimination is evil in itself. That is Doublespeak.

Let us explore the logic of Positive Discrimination, using the example of Positive Discrimination against Non-Maoris in New Zealand in the area of Health. The Labour-led Government has set up Primary Healthcare Organisations (PHOs) in areas which either have a high Maori population or are relatively poor, in order to provide low-cost health-care. Why has it targeted Maori areas ? Leaving aside the issue of the Treaty of Waitangi (mainly because we are just taking the Maoris as an example), we have to assume that the Government wants to help Maoris because their health is poor, relative to the rest of the community. However, as far as I know, Maoris' health is no worse than that of other relatively poor people. This means that they are actually being given special assistance because they are poor. This ties in with the fact that the other targeted group, apart from Maoris, is poor people.

So why doesn't the Government just target poor people ? Since Maoris, along with other Polynesians, are known to be the poorest ethnic group (of any size) in the country, targeting just the poor areas would automatically include most Maoris. Most of the Maoris who weren't included would not be poor -- so why would they deserve specially cheap health-care, subsidised by the taxpayer ? This would discriminate against Non-Maoris of the same income-level.

The reason is that the Government is motivated by political pressure from Labour Party Members of Parliament representing Maori seats (New Zealand has built-in racism, to the extent that some Parliamentary seats are voted for by Maoris only). So any claim that the Government is motivated by a desire to advance disadvantaged groups would be a claim made in Bad Faith -- contrary to the Good Faith requirement of section 19(2) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Their motivation (disregarding the Treaty of Waitangi , for a moment) is party-political.

In this case, there is no need to use a statistical group based on race. The health-care need is not linked to race, but to poverty. Therefore the statistical group that should be used is one relating to poverty. To use a statistical group based on race when another statistical goup is more appropriate is Statistical Racism. Similarly, the inappropriate use of sex-based statistics is Statistical Sexism.

Statistical Sexism, Statistical Racism and Positive Discrimination create statistically invisible groups of Non-Persons, such as Non-Maoris, Non-Women (Men), Non-Mothers (Fathers), and Non-People (Unborn Children). They are ignored, and their rights and aspirations are ignored, as well.

In many ways, the statistical groups which are isolated and focused on in this way are less disadvantaged than the Non-Persons are. This varies from case to case, of course. There always has to be some statistical measure according to which they are genuinely disadvantaged, but that is not a hard goal for the creative researcher to achieve ! At one end of the scale we have women, who are vastly over-privileged compared to men, whose rights and needs are almost totally ignored. At the other end we have some ethnic minorities, such as Maoris, who are "underprivileged" in many ways, but who have more rights than poor Non-Maoris. It is important to note that some minorities (mainly Asian ones) are socio-economically better-off than the ethnic majority, so it is not convincing to try to explain Maori disadvantage as the result of majority racism.

As a result of all this Doublespeak, Bad Faith, Statistical Racism and Sexism, and of the invisibility of groups of Non-People, the statistical groups who are advertised as disadvantaged have immense political power, and use it to transfer resources to themselves from Non-People. This process must end, and statistical groups must be formed on the basis on need, not on the basis of Racism or Sexism.

NOTE: The Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, has been systematically misinterpreted, and is therefore falling into disrepute in some quarters. This issue will be explored in a later article.


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

13 February 2022