Golriz Ghahraman, hate and discrimination

There is a feature article at The Wireless new Green MP Golriz Ghahraman (“the first MP to have entered New Zealand as a refugee”) by Meg Williams, who is disclosed as “has a strong connection to the Green Party as Young Greens Co-Convener, and has been a member of the party for the last three years”. It could be seen to an extent as a party promotional piece.

The headline makes strong assertions: Golriz Ghahraman on discrimination, hate, and white dudes on Twitter

To me ‘hate’ is a strong word and is overused a lot. It’s common for people to use it for dislike and disagree.

“I got such a broad spectrum of attacks. They were sort of ranging from race hate to muslim hate to immigration hate, women, young women, women that look a certain way…”

Did anyone on Twitter hate Golriz? Was it clear they hated her for being a Muslim? Possibly, there is quite a bit of prejudice about Muslims.

Was it clear they hate immigrants? Possibly, there has been a lot of anti-immigration feelings stoked in the election campaign, with Winston Peters playing the anti-immigrant card quite a bit – he’s the leader of the party who Golriz’s Greens are supporting to form a new government.

I’m a lot more dubious about hate on “women, young women, women that look a certain way…” – there’s a tendency for people to make ill-founded presumptions when they are criticised and politically attacked.

The headline includes ‘white dudes on Twitter’ alongside hate and discrimination.  The reference to white dudes is here:

Ghahraman laughs in disbelief as she tells the story of a political commentator who questioned her intelligence on Twitter. Realising he had perhaps gone too far, and that his behaviour warranted an apology, the commentator decided to send a private apology to Ghahraman’s partner, comedian Guy Williams, instead of apologising to her.

A private apology, made public to make a point. Golriz will need to be more careful with private communications now she is an MP.

“How embarrassing is that?” she says, her hands held up to the sides of her face with second-hand shame. “Every time I say it I feel so embarrassed for this dude… he said in that message, ‘I just don’t want you to think I’m another one of those white guys who just hates Golriz.’ But he didn’t apologise to me, like I wasn’t human enough for him to apologise to.”

“Wasn’t human enough”? Perhaps that’s how people who are subjected to racial and religious discrimination feel. That’s sad.

There may have been a simpler explanation – the ‘commentator’ may have known Williams, they must at least have cross-liked each other to be able to send private messages, and he may not have been able to private Golriz.

If he questioned her intelligence publicly on Twitter he should have apologised publicly on Twitter. Perhaps he did, but that isn’t mentioned.

But there’s a bigger issue here – the claims of hate and discrimination directed against Golriz (fair enough) while targeting ‘white dudes’. That is also discrimination.

You won’t fight discrimination with counter discrimination.

You can call out individual attacks and individual examples of discrimination, but implicating a whole racial or gender group is discriminatory.

I often see attacks on white males on Twitter and elsewhere in social media.

I’m a white male, and I’ve been attacked quite nastily on Twitter, and elsewhere. Some of those attacks are from younger people, some from females, some from people with different religious views, some possibly from immigrants.

And I’ll point out that Green supporters are amongst those who have attacked me on political grounds, it’s not uncommon for some of them to get nasty and personal when they disagree on political or party or ideological topics.

Is any of it hateful? That’s hard to judge, it’s common for people to overstate emotions online, and it’s common for people to e-abuse others when they wouldn’t do it face to face. This is a major issue with the Internet.

Golriz talked of having her intelligence questioned on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago a Green supporter tweeted to me “Shit your arrogance is quite astounding. Your ignorance is also shining through”.

Petty attacks can be confused with hate and discrimination. An accumulation of petty attacks can constitute discrimination.

Attacks in social media fly in all directions. They can be hurtful, they can be damaging to individuals.

And they are not confined to females, or to young people, or to Muslims, or to immigrants, or to Green candidates or MPs.

Hateful speech and discrimination are sadly very common in New Zealand political and social forums.

They should be confronted and criticised. Good people have to speak up.

But care needs be taken not to try to fight discrimination with counter discrimination, as that’s more likely to antagonise and inflame than to fix anything.

Golriz says “And I can’t shed my skin”. Neither can I.

It’s going to be tough for Golriz now she is an MP and will be the focus of a lot of attention. Some of that attention won’t be nice – there will be discrimination, and there may be justified perceptions of hate.

But hating on others, and discriminating against different groups of people, are not solutions.

I hope this is something Golriz will learn.

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41 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  October 15, 2017

    Corky magnet.

    • Gezza

       /  October 15, 2017

      If Ms Golriz can’t take the heat, she should stay out of the kitchen.

      • Gezza

         /  October 15, 2017

        The Green party seems bizzarely determined to position itself as the party of whiny femunists who eventually get up everyone’s nose – including the thousands of well-grounded feminists happily married or partnered to good men. Who’s running their comms strategy? Anyone know?

        • sorethumb

           /  October 15, 2017

          They really should rebrand themselves as The Twitteratti?

  2. George

     /  October 15, 2017

    She relies upon lies to further her career.
    No one ‘hates’ her.
    In fact until she raised her head above the parapet I doubt any one knew of her or even cared.

  3. David

     /  October 15, 2017

    Now she is part of the 1% she can just shut up perhaps. Maybe I am getting old and intolerant but her and the awful Marvelly woman and Turei and Swarbrick just do my head in, the most priviliged people on earth with every opportunity gifted to them can do nothing but look for something to moan at. The only solution ever offered is condemnation and intolerance for people who dont think like them.

    • Blazer

       /  October 15, 2017

      thats a two way street as you should…surely realise.That’s…life.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  October 15, 2017

      Sounds like you are having a good moan yourself, a person privileged to be part of the less than 0.1% who live in NZ.

    • Fight4NZ

       /  October 15, 2017

      Perhaps its that you are made uncomfortable that they are like yourself, highly comfortable and privileged, but have a shred of decency. Have not internalised a pronounced sense of entitlement. Believe that with privilege comes a responsibility to those within the 1% that did not get born into that position.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  October 15, 2017

        I have great respect for those like Dame Lesley Max who do a lot. Not so much for those who just talk a lot.

  4. Blazer

     /  October 15, 2017

    ‘A private apology, made public to make a point’…so who was the person named ?

  5. sorethumb

     /  October 15, 2017

    Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity.
    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2010/06/the-misguided-advocates-of-open-borders/

    Young women of Latin and Turkish origin living in Melbourne find it hard to see any Australian culture. Some see a vacuum; others see a bland milieu populated with ‘average-looking’ people. In contrast, they feel that their own migrant cultures are strong. They ‘get through more’. If there is any Australian culture it is, in their opinion, losing ground to migrant cultures.
    https://zuleykazevallos.com/2012/10/06/its-like-were-their-culture/

    Vahed and Vahed’s paper indicates that advocates for Muslim communities are taking advantage of Western multiculturalism, in which the state licenses minority interests while ignoring those of the majority. According to multicultural ideology, only minorities have legitimate interests, while the majority is portrayed as in need of policing due to its alleged aggression against minorities.14 State licensing includes indoctrination of the majority in the legitimacy of minority preferences, without balancing instruction in majority interests
    ……….
    This is the thing. No matter how well educated and scrubbed up, we cannot assume othering is not taking place when they cry racism. and discrimination.

    • “Young women of Latin and Turkish origin living in Melbourne find it hard to see any Australian culture. ”

      Some may, but it should be easy for them to see Australian culture if they want to.

      Although it can be challenging trying to find much sign of indigenous Australian culture.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  October 15, 2017

        “Although it can be challenging trying to find much sign of indigenous Australian culture.”

        Not in my experience, admittedly not in the big cities. There was plenty of Aboriginal art and culture around as well as the sad signs of welfare depravity.

        • Depends on where you are. I’ve seen very little sign of it around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, not in northern NSW or going up and inland Queensland.

          More of it in Darwin (a sad side of the modern culture) and some very good insights into ancient and recent history in Kakadu.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  October 15, 2017

            Where we stayed in northern Brisbane there was a good craft market with a lot on show. Plenty in Cairns and Alice and Broome and across the top. Not so much in the south.

            • sorethumb

               /  October 16, 2017

              The point of Frank Salter’s article was that, in line with evolution, people tend to form in-group out- group based on ethnicity. therefore in multi cultural societies you get that tendency against the host society and that begs the question why people have to put up with their politicians idealistic fantasies?
              To put that another way 99% of Susan Devoy’s interest would be aimed at racism against migrants.

  6. sorethumb

     /  October 15, 2017

    The issue here is that the people of a nation believe they are the people. Under an ideology fostering diversity anyone is the people. In they come and start throwing their weight about? You can’t go to Iran, China, India and do that.
    people like her are a gross insult to the rest of the population. Globalism is a bad deal.

    • Gezza

       /  October 15, 2017

      Come here if we need you & you want to be a Kiwi. Look like us, think like us, dress like us, speak English &/or Maori like the unrecognised gifted linguists among us.
      Otherwise bugger off, or don’t come here.

      • Gezza

         /  October 15, 2017

        * to clarify – look like us means any race or background, but be seen watching the ABs play all the Internationals.

        • I look nothing like most of the ABs, except for a basic anatomical similarity.

          • Gezza

             /  October 15, 2017

            Neither do I. And any anatomical comparisons in my case are frankly just bloody embarrassing. I never really forgave my Mrs for saying – out of the fkn blue – to Whaea Bernie, her caregiver – that Dan Carter could park his slippers under her bed anytime. If I’d known that was coming in ’76 I’d have dumped her & looked for someone else who wasn’t of English & German ancestry & going to burn my favourite denim jacket, that her predecessor had given me, two weeks after the wedding, in the incinerator, while I was at work! 😡

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  October 15, 2017

              I think you need to explain to Mefro the proper functions of a wife. S/he obviously doesn’t understand.

      • sorethumb

         /  October 15, 2017

        I’m thinking of Mai Chen talking about how hard it was when she first arrived in Christchurch and then saying: “I”m an average New Zealander – there are lot’s of New Zealanders who look like me and more coming”. Since when did lands and peoples change so quickly without war or compensation?

    • I think the fundamental requirement of an immigrant is that they add some of their culture to that of the locals, so that both sides benefit. I grew up in a large, cosmopolitan seaport in England, and it was enormously enriched by such input, mostly from Scots, Welsh, Irish and Chinese. I do not think such benefit is generally uncommon.

      However, there is a very notable exception to this. Islam makes no secret of the fact that it enters a country, not to integrate and contribute to the local culture, but to subjugate and destroy it. Islam’s clear ‘Mission Statement’ is to spread itself across the entire planet, killing or consuming all cultures and infidels in its path. There will then be peace; and fairies at the bottom of the garden.

      This is the elephant in tolerant, liberal, socially advanced Western Civilisation’s room, and if our cowardly ‘leaders’ do not summon the courage to address it, there will very soon not be any tolerant, liberal, socially advanced Western Civilisation, for the Twitterati to whinge about.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  October 15, 2017
      • Gezza

         /  October 15, 2017

        I can sort of agree with your first paragraph, Sailor. Of Irish:Norwegian extraction myself – grew up next door to a generations-spudded-in-family of Chinese extraction, but I think to a large extent the main cultural inouts into the Kiwi culture have now happened & anything else is peripheral.

        Agree completely about Islam, but I note also that there other cultures which don’t mesh well with NZ’s. I expect immigrants to adapt to us. Not the other way round. I like my country & its generations-settled people the way they already are. Where we can choose to go along to events held by people from other cultures who then blend back in.

  7. Trevors_Elbow

     /  October 15, 2017

    Nicely positioinng herself for future robust discussions so she can throw the racism card on the table….. its a neat way to control discussions and disagreements…..

    Greens are such precious petals…..

  8. Yes to the first paragraph. I’m sure M’sieur Roget does not give “criticise” as a synonym.

    No to the second paragraph. One has, sadly, learnt to expect this sort of hysterical, illiterate, self-absorbed drivel from puerile ‘celebrities’, but an MP? Potentially a part of the governing body? Has no-one ever taught her that superior folk rise above such things?

    • The paragraphs I quoted disappeared, possibly because I used the wrong marks. Here they are:

      “To me ‘hate’ is a strong word and is overused a lot. It’s common for people to use it for dislike and disagree.

      “I got such a broad spectrum of attacks. They were sort of ranging from race hate to muslim hate to immigration hate, women, young women, women that look a certain way…” “

  9. Zedd

     /  October 15, 2017

    As long as Golriz is ‘front & centre’ on Green issues.. cool

    BUT; maybe the Greens need to reassess their commitment to gender balance; 6 females & 2 males in the new mix !

    I have raised this with Mr Shaw (email) only got a auto reply, but no other response.. yet 😦

    • Gezza

       /  October 15, 2017

      Might be talking it over with his mums. It could be about feelings. Give them some time Zedd.

      • Zedd

         /  October 15, 2017

        I still remember a certain Green candidate (NNM) who was moved up the list (Affirmative action) to address this matter, several terms ago & the person who they were swapped with, missed out becoming an MP, until many years later.
        So; the Greens have used this option before, I wonder why it is being ignored now ?
        They have previously made this ‘a big deal’.. maybe Mr Shaw like ‘being the BIG Rooster, ruling the green hen house’ ?? 😀

        • Gezza

           /  October 15, 2017

          Well it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
          Ifin’ you don’t know by now
          An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
          It’ll never do some how
          When your rooster crows at the break of dawn,
          Look out your window and I’ll be gone
          You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on, Don’t think twice it’s all right.

        • Zedd

           /  October 15, 2017

          btw; Mr Hughes must be the ‘little red rooster’ 😀 😀

      • Gezza

         /  October 15, 2017

        Who’s got it in for feelings ! 😡
        🦃🌸