Yes, Racism is Hate Speech

I want to congratulate Renae Maihi for the success of her petition “Strip racist “Sir” Bob Jones of his Knighthood” and to stand firmly with her in the raising of awareness of the vile diatribe that Bob Jones wrote in the NBR.
(https://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-jacinda-ardern-strip-racist-sir-bob-jones-of-his-knighthood-read-his-vile-rant-here)

Jones has come out threatening to sue Renae Maihi for initiating a petition for the government to remove his knighthood after his racist column printed in the NBR and then deleted from their site.

Jones has for many years made demeaning and racist statements about Māori. This column was not different, what is different is that in this instance Jones is taking the duplicitous position of claiming that his racist rant in the NBR is “satire”, stating “For God’s sake, if anyone can take that literally, they’ve got serious problems,” and “It’s basically a mickey-take on issues of the day”. (http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/02/sir-bob-jones-threatens-legal-action-against-anti-racist-petition.html).

Interestingly the go-to commentator for the NZ Herald was again Paul Moon, who as a Pakeha man assured us all that it was not offensive, and he should know right… because he is an expert at writing about things that he clearly knows nothing about, like the wellbeing of te reo Māori for example.

So there we have it, the Pakeha male expert coming to the defence of the Pakeha male racist. Nothing particularly new about that one. It is Moon that labels the piece as satire which he states;
It goes back to Roman times you make a point about something or highlight aspects of it by coming up with something so ridiculous that people revisit everything and I don’t think that he was at all serious. But I’m guessing that, I’m not sure, but that’s my sense of it anyway.” (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11990499).

Paul Moon is supposedly adamant that he knows it is “satire” but in fact in his own words he is “guessing at that”. Meaning that he is making comment on something that he really does not know anything about. So effectively we have a Paul Moon commentary based on the ‘I’m guessing that, I’m not sure‘ position. Well done Professor Moon, you have again shown that you have no place speaking on Māori issues and you certainly don’t have any right to then tell us that we have no right to be offended. Such white man-splaining disguised as academic comment is even more problematised by the following Moon statement;
“I’m absolutely sure it’s not intended to be that at all because it’s written in a style that deliberately crosses so many borders it’s not serious and I think people who take it seriously might need to take some medication, perhaps.

In my view the person who needs to take some medication is the person who says in one line that he is “guessing” and in the next line that he is “absolutely sure”. It also needs to be noted that “satire” by definition is used to criticize and ridicule and is not solely about coming up with “with something so ridiculous that people revisit everything” as Moon expresses. Just Saying.

So now alongside Moon’s “absolutely sure” “I’m guessing” view that it is “satire”, Bob Jones then follows up with the statement “I will be issuing proceedings against this woman for defamation, because I take particular exception when she uses the word ‘hate’. I don’t hate anyone.” (http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/02/sir-bob-jones-threatens-legal-action-against-anti-racist-petition.html).

So it’s clear that Jones takes exception not with being appropriately labelled ‘racist’ but with the word ‘hate’. As if racism is not an act of hatred. Which according to the over 45,000 people that have signed the petition is in fact the case (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101322566/tens-of-thousands-sign-petition-to-strip-sir-bob-jones-of-his-knighthood).

So what does a wealthy racist old white man do when they are called out about their racism? Well, they threaten to sue. Because it seems that in his view Renae Maihi needs to be taught a lesson. What makes it even more clear that Jones is using his wealth as a mechanism to appease his bruised ego is his admission that he does not consider the petition to be of any significance. As reported by One News (TVNZ), “He [Jones] told 1 NEWS he “didn’t care” about the petition, which he earlier described as “infantile”. But according to Jones “I won’t sue her for a lot because that would seem like I’m bullying her.”

Yes, you read correctly…. Jones is going to bully Renae Maihi by suing her for highlighting the racist hatred that he spewed but he is going to only sue for a little amount of money, as in his distorted view of bullying it is the amount of money he is asking for that determines if he is a bully and not the fact that he is using a white colonial judicial system to make himself feel more superior.
(https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/wont-sue-her-lot-because-would-seem-like-im-bullying-sir-bob-jones-explains-why-hes-suing-woman-wants-him-stripped-knighthood). One would think that his existing position of white male entitlement and superiority would already provide sufficient boost to his inflated sense of privilege, without having to drag a Māori woman through the courts as an act of self affirmation.

This blog may be considered a red flag to a bull, and yes you would be correct. Because the only way to deal with bullies is to publicly state that they are bullying. And yes, Bob Jones is acting like a bully.

It also seems that those that hold white privilege and use it as a weapon against others through asserting that their racism is not ‘hate speech’ are also the same people that when challenged move violently to silence those that call them out. This is just more of the same.

The other thing that needs to be done in response to bullies is that we must all stand alongside the person who is being bullied. In this case it is Renae Maihi.

So to you Renae, You have taken a position against someone who has actively trampled the mana of our people. There are over 45,000 people in just a few days that stand with you. Your people are proud of your stand and your strength in standing publicly to assert mana Māori. You have my absolute support. Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.

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