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CHAPTER FOUR: THEORISING RACISM AND PRIVILEGE

4.1 Structural Analysis

White Anglo heterosexual, abled and middle class males are overly represented in government, legislatures, bureaucracies, the legal profession and the judiciary where they shape legislation, administration and judicial texts in their own image and to their own advantage (Moreton-Robinson, 2005, p. 67).

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Since the 1970s, structural analysis has been utilised as an analytical approach and set of tools by activists to make sense of and make explicit uneven power relations within society (Kiro, 2000). Popularised through third world liberation movements, structural analysis has been championed by activists with goals of social and political transformation of the current hegemonic order. Influential within this field has been the enduring writings of Brazilian educationalist Freire (1998, 1970/2000; 1987) that have been applied worldwide. His teachings reveal an analysis of the historical-sociological, cultural and structural context behind a multitude of oppressions. For this reason, they are a useful lens for examining institutional racism.

A structural analysis viewpoint is achieved through asking critical strategic questions about who has power and who benefits from the current system.

Through systems-level, analysis perspectives are reorientated from pathologising the failure of individuals and groups of people into examining the structural and institutional origins of disadvantage and advantage in society (Delahunty, 2001).

This analysis process is used to conscientise and mobilise members of both oppressed groups and dominant/privileged groups to engage with processes that neutralise power differentials.

This section examines several perspectives grounded in the structural analysis tradition: the black power movement, decolonisation analysis, racism as violence and critical discourses of white privilege.

Black Power Movement

Black power was both the inspirational slogan of the civil rights movement popularised in the 1960s and an explicit critique of the white establishment in the United States (Wallach, 2008). It is from the black power movement that the concept of institutional racism emerged. Authorship is credited to activists Carmichael56 and Hamilton (1967) from their book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America, which was written within the context of the militant black struggles to combat racism. They articulated the critical distinction between individual and institutional racism (1967, p. 2) when:

...white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children that is an act of individual racism… But when in the same city – Birmingham, Alabama- five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism.

56 Stokely Carmichael was later known as Kwame Ture.

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Carmichael and Hamilton contend institutional racism results from a caste system that was established through slavery and then sustained by legally enforced racial segregation. They assert institutional racism can be seen as an internal form of colonisation where blacks are the de-facto colonial subjects. Key to their analysis is the belief institutional racism thrives when racist attitudes, have permeated society that hold (1967, p. 21) “...whites are better than blacks: therefore blacks should be subordinated to whites”. Carmichael and Hamilton contend

‘respectable’ Americans who would not support overtly racist actions, will still support political institutions that perpetuate institutionally racist policies to actively protect their vested political, economic and social privileges.

In response to a series of race riots in the United States,57 particularly one in Detroit Michigan, the Kerner Commission (1968) was charged with investigating, what happened, why it happened and how it could be prevented from happening again. Their widely distributed report reinforced and expanded Carmichael and Hamilton’s analysis concluding that the primary cause of the riots were structural and institutional racism against African Americans. The authors argued this racism manifested itself in failed housing, education and social-service policies, which led to black frustration at lack of economic opportunity. They concluded

“our nation is moving towards two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal (Kerner as cited in Wickham & Zuberi, 2008, p. 3).58

The analysis of the Kerner report is further developed within the writings of radical feminist Lorde (1984; 2004). In her landmark critical essay The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Masters House, (1984, p. 110), she holds that only temporary gains can be made by beating or competing with the master at his own game. Rather the master is controlling the agenda and diverting attention away from achieving transformative change. She names her anger and rage (1984, p. 124) in response to racism, and calls for collective not individual solutions to racism, and acknowledges the connectivity between racism, sexism and homophobia. She speculates the limited support from whites to address racism originate from our [white people’s] fears of what we have to give up.

Critical race theorists, Coello, Casaňas and Rocco (2003, p. 18) assert that black power is a direct critique of the notion “...that racism is psychological or that it is simply about bad individuals”. This insight opens up the political possibilities that racism can be transformed systematically.

57 Watts Riots of 1965 in Los Angeles, Division Street Riots of 1966 in Chicago and Newark riots of 1967.

58 The recommendations of the report were rejected and ignored by President Johnson and within a month of the report being released upon the assassination of ML King Junior further rioting broke out in more than 100 cities.

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Decolonisation Discourses

Within colonised countries, groups of people who remain colonised are engaged variously in decolonisation processes or enjoy the rare privilege of being ‘never colonised’ (Israe Paraone59, personal correspondence, March 2, 2010).

Decolonisation is both an individual and collective process of revealing and actively analysing the historic and contemporary impact of colonisation, mono-culturalism and institutional racism combined with political movement towards the recognition of sovereignty. This progression of dismantling colonisation can be peaceful, through violent revolt or a mixed approach. Throughout the twentieth century there has been a global decolonisation movement (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2009) led by indigenous peoples that has resulted in multiple peoples regaining self-governance and assorted measures of independence from colonial powers. This struggle has resulted in people being harassed, prosecuted and killed in their attempts to achieve social, cultural, political and economic transformation (Tutu, 1994).

The United Nations Charter (1945) within both article three and seventy-four, outline a principle of respect for the self-determination of all people, which continues to guide the United Nations’ commitment to decolonisation. In 1960, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (United Nations, 1960) and subsequently in 1962 established a Special Committee on Decolonisation to facilitate self-government.

Furthermore in 1990 and again in 2001 the General Assembly declared international decades to eradicate colonisation.

Writing of his experiences in Africa, Fanon (1961/2004, p. 27) asserts decolonisation is a process of changing the order of the world, creating new language and new humanity. Decolonisation is putting into practice the phrase

‘The last shall be first and the first last’. State responses to ‘uprising from the natives’ he argues (1961/2004, p. 29) is to speak “...the language of pure force”

for their purpose is to maintain control and protect the material privileges of the colonisers.

Māori activist, S. Jackson (1989, p. 49) upholds decolonisation involves the recognition that your mind has been enslaved. It then involves people being made aware of the behaviour of successive governments (1989, p. 52) “...to further entrench Pākehā political power and closing the door to any power for us [Māori]”. He (1989, p. 50) asserts decolonisation is complete:

...when our people have done all those things and looked at the situation we [Māori] are faced with, they will [then] understand that we are completely capable of taking this country back and running it in a way that is based on our traditional beliefs.

59 Israe Paraone is of the Iwi Ngati Awa, Tūhoe and his hapū is Tawera.

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Racism as Violence

I have laid down the law that there shall be no fighting and in the event of the two great tribes Māori and Europeans joining together to create a war it would be in vain, no fighting would ensure for my word has gone forth

(Te Whiti as cited in Murphy, 1997, p. 31).

As outlined in chapter three, historically violence has been used by the state to assert and preserve Pākehā sovereignty. Indeed, it is well recognised that colonisation was/is a violent and racist process (see Awatere, 1984; Sherwood, 2009). Within their respective examinations of colonial indigenous state relations both Thomas and Nikora (1992) and legal scholar Rumbles (1999) describe racism as cultural violence.

The much-cited Duluth power and control model (see Shepard & Pence, 1999) which was developed in the 1980s as a tool to understand violence, against women assumes that women and children (and some men) are vulnerable to violence because of their unequal social, economic and political status. A similar analysis can be usefully applied to indigenous peoples and their experience with the state. Figure 7 specifically addresses cultural deficit theory, white privilege, land alienation, use of intimidation, coercion, isolation, children and force. This model has been used extensively in the context of structural analysis training as a tool to understand state violence against Māori.

Using intimidation Police violence

Using coercion and threats Playing Māori off against each other

Using isolation Māori intiatives marginalised Failure to consult Using children

Lack of resources Blaming families Using Pākehā

privilege Pākehā values in

institutions Making decisions

for Māori Using economic

abuse Land theft Controlling resources

Minimising, denying and blaming Blaming the

victims Treaty claims

denied

Power and Control

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Figure 7: Racism and Cultural Violence Wheel

This author of this adaptation of the Duluth power and control wheel is currently unknown. This figure is based on a document retrieved from the archives of Network Waitangi Whangarei. When and if the creator is identified future publications resulting from this thesis will include this information and relevant permissions will be sought.

In recent decades, Aotearoa has experienced some dramatic demonstrations of state violence practiced by the police against citizens exercising their tino rangatiratanga and challenging racism. The two most prominent cases being the response of the police against the occupation of Takaparawhau (Bastion Point) by Ngāti Whātua and allies in 1977 and violence directed at anti-apartheid protestors campaigning against the South African Springbok rugby tour in 1981.

The (re)occupation of Takaparawhau led by the Orakei Māori Action Committee in 1977 was the culmination of over a hundred years of lawful protest (Waitangi Tribunal, 1987). The peaceful 506 day action was a response to the immediate plans by the government to develop the area into high-cost housing and parks, and the long-term purchase and confiscation of whenua by the government for public works and development since the 1840s. During the occupation, a marae and housing were built and thousands of supporters visited the site to tautoko and learn more about Takaparawhau.

Figure 8: Eviction Day Takaparawhau

Photographer unknown: “Peace prevails as protest ends after 17 months” in New Zealand Herald 1978, May 26 (sec1 pg.5). Reprinted with permission.

As depicted in Figure 8, Ngāti Whātua and supporters were forcibly evicted by an unprecedented 800 strong force of police and army authorised by the government in May 1978. Over two hundred people were arrested overwhelming the local court system. The initial defendants took up so much court time cross examining arresting officers and reviewing Ngāti Whātua history that eventually most charges were dropped. Māori activist, Hawke (1998, p. 77) describes her arrest:

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One policeman grabbed me by the hair the other had me by my feet. They lifted me up and slammed me back onto the ground, probably to wind me.

I was left breathless and my chest hurt. They probably cracked my rib, I heard my son and husband calling out “Leave my mother alone”... The arresting officer brutally flexed my wrist until I thought it would crack and forced me towards the paddy wagon.

Along with the arrests on eviction day, the police organised for non-unionised labour to bulldoze the wharenui (meeting house) and other buildings on the site and fenced off the area preventing access. Sometime later, after a Waitangi Tribunal hearing, legislation was passed which enabled the return of Takaparawhau to Ngāti Whātua.

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, including many Māori were also involved in anti-apartheid protests throughout the 1981 Springbok rugby tour. The police with long batons repeatedly attacked unarmed and unprotected protestors and the notorious Red Squad was used to disrupt aggressively the right of protestors to engage in peaceful protest. During the height of the violence, police attacked three protestors dressed as clowns, giving out lollies and flowers.

Paavonpera, an eyewitness interviewed by Bingham (2001, August 11) for the New Zealand Herald explains:

They were vicious, raining blows all over them. The girl, she was on the ground and they just kept going. I ran over... and yelled out, ‘Stop it, for fuck’s sake, stop it’.

Halt All Racist Tours founder, Richards (1999, p. 4) holds the conflict fuelled by police violence was as close as New Zealand has come to civil war in modern times. The National government under the leadership of Prime Minister, Right Hon. Robert Muldoon committed to continue the tour despite significant popular protests. Stenning (2007, p. 230) through his investigation into Crown intervention in policing, has confirmed that police commissions met with the Crown Ministers during the tour to discuss arrangements for policing.

Discourses of White Privilege

I exercised my white privilege by my silence. I exercised my privilege to opt out of engagement, even though this choice may not always be consciously made by someone with privilege (Wildman, 1997, p. 316).

Those that have experienced racism have been writing about white privilege for decades, as from this worldview it is self-evident that white people have benefitted directly and indirectly from historic and contemporary processes of colonisation and institutional racism. It has taken longer for white people to catch on, but there is an emerging critical literature (see Delgado & Stefancic, 1997) that names this systematic advantage of one race over another as ‘unearned white privilege’. Cultural theorist, Ahmed (2004) argues that the emerging field of whiteness studies seeks to make whiteness visible, to displace it from the core

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unmarked position of normality alongside other strategic efforts to systemically disrupt this privilege.

White feminist, McIntosh (1988) in her landmark essay on the subject, describes white privilege as a collection of unearned assets, an invisible weightless knapsack of white privilege that has special provisions such as: “...maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks” that can be cashed in at any time. She explains (1988, p. 1):

...whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative and average and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work which will allow ‘them’ to be more like ‘us’.

In examining privilege, she maintains it is necessary to confront the myth of meritocracy, the realisation that certain doors are opened and closed for people through no virtue of their own.

White privilege, contends activist educator Curry-Stevens (2007, p. 41) is often upheld by the unexamined acceptance of the long routine power relationships and dynamics in societies that maintain the status quo. Critical white theorist, Wildman (1996, p. 52) argues social and financial inheritance is a critical example of normalised white privilege. Due to slavery and widespread practices of colonisation, historically whites have had considerable opportunities to accumulate wealth not open to all. These advantages have been enhanced through the enactment of well-documented discriminatory legislation and practices (see Katznelson, 2005) that continue to be exacerbated through taxation policy and practices, which reward the elite.

In summary, just as institutional racism can be tracked to demonstrate structural disadvantage against indigenous peoples, so can white privilege be quantified across education, employment, access to housing to reveal white systemic advantage. This analysis is diametrically opposed to the race-free worldview of libertarian advocates.