We all know this Paul Holmes rubbish annoys me, but to be honest, I don’t care so much about what he said, it’s the fact that the Herald published it and that 99% of Pakeha don’t care when Maori are on the receiving end of abuse.
In publishing Holmes racist rant, the Herald failed to uphold acceptable standards of media ethics. Media organisations are under an obligation to run a range of views, but those views must meet requirements of good taste, decency and acceptability. Holmes piece did not meet these, in my opinion, low requirements. The Herald also owes it to society not to print racist rants. If they do, they legitimise that racism and provide a platform for the other racists to perpetuate their views. This, more often than not, hurts the race, usually a minority race, on the receiving end.
Holmes piece, and the Herald’s complicity, serves to entrench poorly informed opinions and, more significantly, drags public discourse down to the sewers. The sick comments under Holmes piece and on some right blogs is a testament to this. I’m not going to quote any of it, if I do I’ll probably throw up on my keyboard. Holmes has really brought the scum out of the woodwork.
Another aspect of this that disappoints me is the lax, don’t care response of most Pakeha. Sadly, Bryce Edwards (who is very sensible 99% of the time) holds that Holmes has raised legitimate views. This is a common sentiment. However, he hasn’t. Holmes is resetting the Treaty debate and taking race relations back to the 80’s. In terms worthy of the 19th century, Holmes is relitigating things that are settled. The Treaty is an accepted and important part of our constitution and society. Maori are an important part of our political system. Maori grievances are legitimate and work is progressing to heal the wounds. Historical grievances and contemporary struggles still fuel Maori anger. There is no debate over these things.
Imagine if the situation was reversed and a prominent Maori broadcaster slammed greedy Pakeha land thieves, slammed paedophilia as a Pakeha problem, slammed the propensity of loser Pakeha men to take Asian brides, slammed fraud as a scourge on all Pakeha. There would be outrage and rightly so. It’s untrue, it’s unfair and would constitute racism. Holmes rant is on a similar level. Slamming Maori as hateful, loony, irrational, fat and so on. Imagine for one second that Holmes was vilifying you. And imagine it from the position Maori are in. Powerless. No one listens (hell, no one cares), you don’t know how to respond (i.e. don’t know about complaint mechanisms, public pressure etc), the list goes on.