“Imagine a world without white men”

These days it’s not uncommon to come across ‘white men bad’ type sentiments. It’s not uncommon for someone seen to be a ‘white man’, especially one who isn’t young and doesn’t seem to be poor, to have their views dismissed as irrelevant in the modern world.

All ‘white men’ are tarnished with the same white brush off.

Lucy Zee at The Spinoff:  Remembering the white men who tried to sell us stuff on TV

Imagine a world without white men.

Well for starters, New Zealand would have hardly any television commercials. My parents were very fresh Asian immigrants when they had me, and the only way I learned how to speak English before going to kindergarten was by watching TV.

TV back in the day wasn’t as diverse as it is now (or didn’t try as hard), so commercials were 99% white people with big white teeth, followed by more white people with even bigger and whiter teeth.

As I got older, the flashy whiteness steadily got more mind numbing and much more obnoxious. I couldn’t tell if my TV was showing the same amount of whiteness it always had, or if I had simply become more aware of my racial identity and demanded more diversity.

My entire life I had been raised by white men telling me what to buy, what to eat and how to eat it. Some ads worked, some didn’t, but I remembered all of them. Looking back on the past few years here is a list of the most memorable white men who tried sell me things I didn’t need.

A number of advertisement examples are given. Suzanne Paul, Marge and Briscoes aren’t included for obvious reasons.

So what did we learn? Even if you don’t watch TV anymore; even if you have an ad blocker on your browser; even if you stab your eyes out and block your ears; white guys are still out here trying to sell you something. If it’s not a tyre then it’s a dream. If it’s not a dream then it’s themselves.

The worst part of all this is that those “nostalgic” white men ads aren’t all that spectacular.

They must have been hopeless. Companies that advertised went broke, newspapers and broadcast media went broke (they are now but that’s a different story, Google isn’t a white male).

They do the absolute minimum an advert needs to do. If something is forced down your throat enough – all day, every day throughout your entire childhood – you’ll probably start to enjoy it. But we need variety, we need flavour, we need more colour on our plates. Because having too much white bread just isn’t good for us.

Funny thing – I only ever had white bread at home, browner bread with lumpy bits were a curiosity when I saw it at my neighbours – who happened to be a white couple. But the beer was all the same brown colour then too.

This article prompted some discussion at Reddit: Remembering the white men who tried to sell us stuff on TV

I don’t have the energy to care if it’s tongue in cheek or not but The Spinoff’s increasing amount of articles that focus on race (namely that white people are a problem) are starting to annoy me. If this is tongue in cheek then I really don’t understand the purpose apart from trying to create controversy.

Oh… it’s not tongue in cheek. She’s serious about white people controlling ads I guess. So she selected a few ads and used that as proof? And only men for that matter so I guess it’s sexist as well? I don’t get it.

Fuck this is tiresome.

Ah, but computer_d is bound to be a white male so he would say that. Ignore it.

You should put me on the ignore shelf too amongst the white cobwebs of the past – except that I could claim to be of a smaller minority than whatever Lucy Zee thinks they are (I presume non-male non-white).

What both of us write is grey on white – does it matter what colour our fingers are?

 

Northern Advocate apology

It looks like being a day of media apologies.

The Northern Advocate has apologised for publishing an article that claimed people from Wales and the Mediterranean settled New Zealand before Maori did. See The white tangata whenua

From The Hui:

APOLOGY FROM THE NORTHERN ADVOCATE REGARDING AN ARTICLE WHICH CLAIMED TO SHOW ANCIENT PRE-MĀORI FACES RE-CREATED FROM SKULLS FOUND IN THE NORTH.

The story was published by the Northern Advocate and shared with the NZ Herald.
The Northern Advocate accepts it was wrong to publish Mr Hilliam’s theory of pre-Maori occupation before receiving information from the university that Mr Hilliam cited as a source of his reconstructed drawings.

We had contacted the university, from whom we initially did not hear back, and wrongly chose to publish Mr Hilliam’s opinion without its response.

The notion of pre-Maori occupation is a sensitive one — something of which the paper has become acutely aware.

We regret the story has been a catalyst for some people to infer political or racial motives.

There was no motive behind the publication of the story other than to contribute to the ongoing healthy debate about Northland’s rich history.

We are not experts on Maori matters but we respect tikanga and, in general, enjoy a good, robust relationship with local tangata whenua.

We strive to report positive Maori stories, and we are proactive in highlighting the success of Maori youth. For instance, a Whangarei man received the Te Toa Reo Maori – Takitahi (Individual Achievement) award at the Maori Language Commission’s Nga Tohu Reo Maori in December, after the paper nominated him for the award.

And we share the optimism of Nga Puhi that the treaty settlement will bring good things for Northlanders.

We have learned many lessons from this story, which has also embarrassed our matua within the NZ Herald.

We are continuing to work on bringing balance to Mr Hilliam’s theories and will share this with our readers as soon as this work is completed.

Northlanders — and New Zealanders — should be open to debate about the past, the present and the future. But there is a right way to encourage any such debate. We did it the wrong way, for which we apologise.

This looks like a fair comment:

Atakohu Middleton There is absolutely nothing to debate. Hilliam’s theories have been debunked countless times. The issue is that the Northern Advocate didn’t do its homework.

Too many white guys?

Yesterday Hekia Parata announced she won’t be standing again in next year’s election.

Patrick Gower opined in Hekia Parata gives John Key a ‘white guy’ problem:

Hekia Parata quitting might give John Key a space in Cabinet – but the problem is a massive queue of white guys lining up to join a line-up of white guys.

Parata’s resignation and Nikki Kaye’s health issues means there are now just five women in Key’s 20-person Cabinet. In contrast, there are 12 white guys – hardly representative of New Zealand in 2016.

As both a woman and a Māori, Parata gave the ministry a real point of difference. More importantly, she was there on merit too.

The inconvenient truth for Key is there is a dearth of females and ethnicities in his Caucus.

There are only 17 women out of the 59 MPs (by contrast, 12 out of 31 Labour MPs are female). And only six of the male National MPs aren’t Pakeha.

National’s gender balance improved slightly when Mike Sabin resigned from Northland and they lost the by-election (with a white male candidate).

When Tim Groser resigned he was replaced with Maureen Pugh as next on the National list.

If Parmjeet Parmar wins the Mt Roskill by-election National will get another woman off the list, Misa Fia Turner. That would only bring them up to 18/59, about a third female, but it will improve their ethnic balance.

If Labour’s Michael Wood wins Mt Roskill they won’t improve their gender imbalance of 12/31, nor their ethnic imbalance. If he loses it will improve both slightly.

Also yesterday Phil Goff announced that Bill Cashmore would be his deputy mayor. Penny Hulse was regarded as too closely associated with the Len Brown era, and it is claimed she didn’t get on well with some councillors. Cashmore is described at The Spinoff as “constructive and dependable, he is a kind of centre-right National-aligned twin to Goff, which should help the mayor secure majorities in council”.

A reaction from Twitter:

Goff won the Auckland mayoralty easily, with his closest rival being an inexperienced (in politics) woman, Vic Crone.

So is there a problem with white male politicians?

There are more white male candidates so it’s nor surprising there will be more white male politicians, especially when, like Goff, they are leading candidates.

Goff stood as an independent, sort of.

But parties choose their electorate candidates and their lists. Are they biased in favour of white men?

Often the successful candidate is determined by party selections prior to the election but ultimately it is the voters who choose electorate candidates, and via the party vote they give the only 50/50 gender party the Greens about a tenth of the vote. Other things seem to be more important to voters than gender balance.

Are white men inferior as politicians?

Or is there a lack of non-white, non-male candidates willing to put themselves forward?

It can’t be ruled out that a majority of females and non-whites prefer white male candidates.

Diversity in political representation is important, but competence, and choice of the voters, should still be given some weight.