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The Racist, John Tamihere

Peter Zohrab 2020

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The Maori politician, John Tamihere, has been quoted as saying, "Pakeha people are asymptomatic racists", meaning that Pakeha may not realise what they're saying and doing is racist. Obviously, Mr. Tamihere has not met every single White person (which is what he means by the term, "Pakeha") and so he has no objective basis for his pejorative characterisation of all of them (which arguably includes myself). His sweeping, negative generalisation about all Whites is purely subjective and quite clearly motivated by race-hatred, on his part.

He explained what he meant by referring to the performance of the Blues rugby team, as follows:

"[My friends] wouldn't know they're saying this - this is the asymptomatic nature of this - they would say, 'if it wasn't for Beaudie Barrett and the white men running around, we would be losing.'"

I don't really follow rugby, but apparently the Blues had been faring badly until Mr. Barrett (who is White) joined the team, so the above statement might actually be factually correct. Would it be a racist statement if it was actually true? Do all statements referring to Maoris have to be positive, in order not to be called "racist"? New Zealand is certainly a loony enough place for that to be the case! For example, I once went to an Indian restaurant in Newtown, Wellington, and ordered lamb vindaloo, specifying "Indian hot". Since I have been eating spicy food every day for decades, that was perfectly normal for me. However, when I was eating it (without pausing to have sips of water), two men sitting nearby -- particularly one Maori man -- stared at me. When I later told a White woman about this event, mentioning that this man was Maori, she was apparently offended that I mentioned that he was Maori. The point was that I had had Maori flatmates and had eaten on Maori maraes some time ago and my impression of Maori food at that time was that it tended to be bland. Thus it was relevant to mention that he was Maori, since he probably was not used to spicy food.

There was a whole movie about basketball called, "White Men Can't Jump"and I can't remember anyone ever complaining in print or on-screen that this was a racist statement, which it is. There is obviously a whole stratum in Society (concentrated in the media and universities) which is incapable of abstract thought. Instead of understanding what terms like "racism" and "discrimination" actually mean, they interpret them as meaning "negative towards Blacks or Maoris or women." These sorts of people are perfectly happy being racist or sexist towards Whites and men, because they hate them!

I am sure, however, that some Whites are racist and that some of them may be racist without knowing that they are racist. As an example of White racism, I cite the example of being in a car with my late cousin, Margie Shorter, and her friends, driving through Auckland's inner suburbs, many years ago. At that time, the inner suburbs were poor areas, having a high proportion of Maoris and other Polynesian residents. Someone in the car remarked that we were entering "torchlight country," which was obviously a racist reference to the relatively dark skins of the residents.

Similarly, Tamihere is racist -- apparently without knowing that he is racist (although he is trying to get elected in a Maori seat, so he may have been deliberately racist, for the sake of publicity). The Maori Party, to which he belongs, is clearly a racist party. For example, the former leader of the National Party, Todd Muller, was criticised by the moronic media for not having a racially "diverse" front bench. However, the Maori Party is deliberately 100% Maori -- except that Tamihere himself is part-White. Until recently, seven of the nine party leaders and deputy party leaders in the New Zealand Parliament were (part-) Maori, but I have never seen or heard any journalist criticise this lack of diversity -- given that Maoris constitute a small percentage of the total population!

It is not hard to find other examples of Maori racism. However, I would like to concentrate on the two occasions when I met Tamihere myself. When he was a Labour Party Member of Parliament, I went to see him in his office about Men's Issues. Before I went into his actual office, because of the open door I could see and hear him apparently talking (or pretending to talk) loudly on the telephone and the one word which I heard clearly was "Hori", which is a racist term for a Maori. At that point in my life, I had never used that term. I assumed -- either immediately or on later reflection -- that he was trying to elicit guilt-feelings in me about White racism, which is also probably what his statement about "asymptomatic racism" was about. There was a famous interview, which ended his career with the Labour Party, in which he said, among other things:

"What you do is you always use the wimmins’ language: ‘I’m feeling unsafe!’ And the women, as soon as they hear that, they’re instantly with me. ‘I’m feeling unsafe in here’. [chuckles]"

So Tamihere seems to like analysing other groups of people, such as women and Whites and he has decided that the way for the Maori party to extract concessions from Whites is to make the Whites feel guilty.

After our meeting, I emailed Tamihere and offered to write a book about him, in the context of Men's Issues, but he did not reply. Soon afterwards, he came up from behind me on the street and spoke to me -- perhaps hoping to elicit some anger from me at the fact that he had not replied to my email. However, I did not mention that issue -- nor did he. As far as I can see, he was racistly glad to have ignored my email and was hoping to get racist pleasure from finding that he had annoyed me by not replying.


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

26 September 2020