A whiter shade of pale: Margaret Mutu’s colour bar would sort out immigrants with the right ideas

Boris de Bres has been quick off the mark to find fault with the latest headline-grabbing blast at whites from Margaret Mutu.

Probably that’s because the Sunday Star-Times has gone to him for comment before the latest headline-grabbing ideas have been published, to add spice to its story.

If it had not found people to disagree with Mutu, it would not have been able to report on a “White immigrants row”.

But it’s too late for Boris to change Alf’s mind about our need for a race relations commissioner.

Alf says we don’t need one, and moreover he does not want to suppress expressions of racist opinions, because if people are discouraged from expressing racist opinions, then we don’t know who is and who is not a racist.

This time the target of Mutu’s provocative thinking is white immigants (oh, and let’s not forget that de Bres is a white immigrant).

The SST gives her thinking more credence than it deserves by describing her as “a Maori academic” (although she is that) rather than as a Maori radical.

It’s her Maori radical ideas that become the stuff of newspaper headlines.

But come to think of it, maybe the news media should start sitting in on her university lectures to hear what she is teaching her students.

This time Mutu is calling for measures of the sort that Don Brash persistently denounces, only to be denounced in turn as a racist.

He wants New Zealand to have one law for all, pure and simple with no laws that favour one ethnic group over another.

Mutu does not want one law for all. She wants our immigration laws to restrict immigration by whites because they pose a threat to race relations due to their “white supremacist” attitudes.

She thus thoroughly fortifies the findings of a Department of Labour report which found Maori are more likely to express anti-immigration sentiment than Pakeha or any other ethnic group.

Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University’s department of Maori studies, agreed with the findings and called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States as they brought attitudes destructive to Maori.

“They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country,” she said.

De Bres , who migrated here from the Netherlands, has “hit out” at Mutu’s view.

He says there is no justification for anybody to discriminate on the basis of colour, race or nationality.

“We should not stop people coming on the basis on their skin. It’s racial prejudice and racial discrimination.”

He cautioned that racist views were not limited to one ethnic group.

Fair to say, Mutu’s colour bar would not affect Asians.

Fair to say, too, she sees different shades of white.

She is happy to welcome white immigrants “who understood issues of racism against Maori”.

“They are in a minority just like Pakeha in this country. You have a minority of Pakeha who are very good, they recognise the racism, they object to it and speak out strongly against it.”

How would the immigration authorities find out if an applicant understood those issues?

By requiring them to study in her classes, maybe, and to come out with an A pass before they are eligible to stay here permanently.

The Labour Department survey found Maori respondents were the most likely to agree with negative statements about immigrants, such as that they threaten New Zealand culture and steal jobs from Kiwis.

And they were more likely to disagree that immigrants contribute to New Zealand’s culture and economy.

At this point, poor old Boris couldn’t help himself.

He said something contradictory to the evidence of the survey, to put Maori in a better light.

De Bres said he recently attended a celebration at the Maori King’s residence where different migrant communities were welcomed onto the marae, proving many Maori are welcoming.

“The positive thing to do is for Maori and migrants to engage more to understand each other.”

Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley probably sums things up nicely in saying anti-immigration sentiment is fed by Maori fears that multicultural policies were diminishing policies concerning Maori.

8 Responses to A whiter shade of pale: Margaret Mutu’s colour bar would sort out immigrants with the right ideas

  1. Johnny T says:

    Mutu’s colour bar would disqualify herself surely, given her predominance of Pakeha bloodlines?

    • TrueStory says:

      Having had the honour of attending her classes myself, I can attest to the fact that she has no interest in any of her Pakeha bloodlines. She quite frankly stated that she knows little of this side of her Whakapapa and has no intention of learning.

      • Maggie May says:

        Mutu’s comments would appear to reveal frustrations that New Zealanders who wish to be thought of as distinctly Maori may face diminishing power and political relevance in a truly multicultural country. What Mutu fears is not overt racism – at a guess I would say that she is like many ‘Maori’ is a person of mixed Polynesian and European ancestry who is clearly not excluded from any part of NZ society because of her race. No, what Mutu fears much more is the indifference of new immigrants to a minority group who while undoubtedly significant to the cultural history of this nation are fed and tolerated by governments that cannot quite bring themselves to releases us from an old treaty and set us on a path to being a modern multicultural nation. Mutu’s comments were able to get a headline but they are a whimper against the will of humanity to choose what is right and wrong in a modern perspective and to absolve themselves for the actions of their distant forefathers. Viva the republic of NZ!

  2. I read the news headline this morning online, and posted on my Facebook page “Who should be allowed to immigrate to NZ?”.There have been no replies. I’ve been away from NZ a few years, so am not up to date with current events as regards race relations in NZ. This is a very dicey topic I remember from the past with the most prudent advice being not to get involved. I am in Margaret Mutu’s category of “approved pakeha” which anyone who knows me could point out. In wanting to target only Asians as immigrants to NZ though I have some questions: What is the history of the treatment of ethnic minority groups in Asian countries? How is it at the moment for these ethnic groups in Asian countries? I don’t think Margaret Mutu has even considered these questions, because the answers are not nice, or “culturally safe”. Racism, paternalistic legislation, theft of land and resources, and the death of languages and cultures are evident. Furthermore so are contemporary massacres, and its 120 years since we stopped killing each other in NZ. Despite our faults as regards race relations in NZ, have we been doing something right?

  3. Martin McGregor says:

    I think what has upset Margaret Mutu is that Asian immigrants to New Zealand have been running circles around Maori when it comes to educational, business and lifestyle achievement. What’s more, in terms of social behavior and social responsibility, the Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, etc. are turning out to be better citizens than many of the locals.

  4. Gi Gincai says:

    The immigrants coming in are incredibly educated, and yes – they are running circles (with their hard work ethic & brains) around the locals so now they are a threat. NZ should be happy that immigrants come to fill positions, or they would have no doctors to care for them.

  5. Carl says:

    Actually, the current immigration policy is to attract immigrants with technical skills such as mechanics, nurses, plumbers, tradesmen etc, and its been this way for a few years now. In the 1990’s the policy was to attract highly educated immigrants, but it turned out a lot of them couldn’t get jobs. Thats why its common to find for example an immigrant taxi-driver who used to be a professor or a doctor in their own country. The government is actually looking 25 years ahead with immigration as immigrants children, educated in NZ, usually stay here and do better at education and jobs than most Kiwis so end up paying more tax. Its the tax money which keeps the government going.

  6. Cheri says:

    I must admit I find her views and assumptions repugnant to say the least. I went over to South Africa and, while there, married a white South African man. I had my sons over there. When my sons were about to turn 2, I wanted to come back to NZ. My husband and sons immigrated to be with me. My husband is not, nor ever has been, a white supremacist. None of the South Africans I work with are either. My husband and sons (now 19) have all studied here and work here. They are contributing members of society.

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