The odd future ban

February 15th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Elle Hunt writes at The Wireless on the Immigration NZ decision to not allow into NZ:

There are two perceived issues at play here: firstly, the band’s violent and explicit lyrics, and secondly, their posing a “potential threat to public order”. Though the band’s appearance at the Big Day Out in 2012 was cancelled after protests about the former, they were permitted to enter the country (and perform a solo show). This time, they weren’t – on character concerns, informed by incidents at past performances in which they’ve incited violence.

Yesterday afternoon, Immigration New Zealand confirmed that six group members had their visas revoked, not because of their lyrics, but because they posed a “potential threat to public order and the public interest”.

I think this is a key distinction. I am against anyone being banned because of their language or lyrics. But direct incitement to violence is a different issue.

The authority’s decision to bar Odd Future was informed by an incident in Boston in 2011, when an autograph signing by Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator, was cancelled at last minute, resulting in a “riot” in which some witnesses claimedgroup members incited fans to attack police officers. (Whether or not that’s true, matters weren’t helped by Tyler’s subsequent tweet “F… POLICE F… YOU ALL I HOPE YOU DIE”.)

Indeed. And the fact that some of their supporters seem like minded doesn’t help, as the Herald reports:

The organiser of a group which campaigned against a visit to New Zealand by hip-hop group Odd Future says she has fielded death and rape threats after some of its members were refused entry to the country.

The Los Angeles collective was meant to be playing at the Rapture hip-hop festival in Auckland tonight but was refused entry after being determined by Immigration New Zealand as a threat to public order.

Immigration NZ’s decision came days after anti-sexual violence group Stop Demand emailed Auckland councillors, criticising the decision to allow the group to perform at the Western Springs event. The email quoted several lyrics from Odd Future which referred to rape.

Stop Demand founder Denise Ritchie said the organisation had been inundated with hate mail since the decision was made public.

“Our Facebook page, I was told by a volunteer of our organisation not to go into it because it was too vile … It included a rape threat against me, a death threat and a threat to burn my house down.”

Hunt continues:

Odd Future’s lyrics are, to the vast majority ofmen on the Clapham omnibus, completely unpalatable in their sometimes deadpan, sometimes gleeful depiction of violence, in particular sexual violence against women – and, while no member has been charged with or convicted of such crimes, it’s hard to entirely dismiss their words as shock value or ironic posturing, even if that would make them acceptable.

Ringleader Tyler, the Creator is the kind of person who thinks it’s acceptable (or, more likely, funny) to respond to Canadian indie duo Tegan and Sara’s “Call for Change” against the music industry’s enabling of Odd Future and others’ misogyny with the tweet, “If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard Dick, Hit Me Up!”; the kind of person who abused a 23-year-old student who petitioned against the band’s Sydney show last year, and invited his 1.7 million Twitter followers to do the same.

And Radio NZ interviewed the student who was targeted. It was appalling what he directed towards her.

However having said all that, I don’t think the ban was the right call. I’d have them perform in NZ for those who want to listen to them, but if they say or do anything that does break the law, then you charge them with the appropriate crime.

35 Responses to “The odd future ban”

  1. tas (883 comments) says:

    If they have US passports, they should be able to visit NZ without a visa, unless they have criminal convictions (or require a work visa). I’d like a clarification on this: Do the group members have criminal convictions?

    I think the stinky aspect of the issue is that there are indications that it involved lobbying by Stop Demand through the Auckland council. (i) Lobbying should be directed at the responsible body – Immigration NZ – and (ii) lobbying should not be involved at all, as Immigration NZ should be impartial. Moreover, (iii) Immigration NZ should not be considering political causes, as advocated by Stop Demand.

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  2. Tempist (22 comments) says:

    So allowed into NZ by Immigration in 2012 but not allowed into NZ in 2014 based on an incident in 2011…it’s not about their lyrics – cue Tui ad

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  3. edhunter (578 comments) says:

    A good article over at scoop

    There’s a band playing here in a couple of months who have a longer rap sheet than Odd Future including multiple drug & assault charges, have had gang links, have had a person pull a gun at one of their shows only for that person to be stabbed to death by security yet I’m pretty sure will be allowed into the country. And I can imagine the out roar by KB readers if they weren’t.
    Which is why it’s a pity that the silence here on this matter has been almost deafening.
    You don’t have to like the band or their music, but it comes down to the principle that I may not a agree with what you say but I’ll defend your right to say it.

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  4. Scott Hamilton (777 comments) says:

    Let’s ban the Rolling Stones too:

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  5. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    I believe in freedom of speech but also that the are limits to it (especially with regard to protecting minorities).
    I really struggle to see any of these lyrics here as artistic expression and not deliberate and vile provocation:

    DPF – I’d be interested to see how you would lyrics of a similar nature targeting gay people, jews or black people.

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  6. peterwn (4,289 comments) says:

    tas – visa-free only as a visitor / tourist or limited work related activities such as business/ sales trips. Seems paid entertainers apart from those performing in ‘approved’ festivals require work visas.

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  7. Chuck Bird (6,593 comments) says:

    I wonder how many women would have been raped if these rappers were allowed come here do a misogynist rant. I would estimate none.

    I wonder how many fathers have been affected Denise Ritchie’s misandrist rant a few years back calling for Father’s Day to be a day of shame for fathers due to the number of children sexually abused by their fathers. I would say quite a few in custody disputes. Ritchie has never retracted or apologized for that highly offensive comment.

    The woman is a misandrist and a first class hypocrite.

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  8. EverlastingFire (304 comments) says:

    “potential threat to public order and public interest” – what does this shit even mean? Need details on how they came to that conclusion. Personally I think their music and “musicians” like them are complete trash, but there is is tons of them out there with these kind of lyrics. They won’t go away because some little island at the bottom of the world says no.

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  9. tas (883 comments) says:

    My earlier comment had some dislikes. I want to clarify that I don’t think Immigration NZ did anything wrong or improper. However, the suggestion that lobbying by some PC group to the Auckland council was behind it is disturbing. Lobbyists and the Auckland council should not be involved in the work of Immigration, nor should Immigration act as a censor (except in extreme cases – e.g. illegal hate speech).

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  10. Chuck Bird (6,593 comments) says:

    I and many other conservative are not happy funding the Hero Parade and Gay Day Out with our rates but we cannot stop it on public land.

    I would hate to think some man hating feminist could stop something that is not costing the rate payers. The organizers are paying for the venue.

    i have not heard a word from the anti-violence lot complaining that a woman under the influence can home and stabbed her sleeping husband in the heart and get found not guilty of murder.

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  11. iMP (2,665 comments) says:

    My kids are at this concert in Akl. I enjoy Eminen but there is a key difference here. Eminen is a social commentator, often critiquing the attitudes and views in his lyrics associated with this culture. Odd Future Wolf Pack appear to agree with what they promulgate, and there is a culture of rabid sexual violence against women associated with them, their ‘art’ and their fans.

    Two words: Roast Busters.

    If we are going to hand wring over the Roast Busters, then we have to do something about the pernicious attitudes and values being soaked into NZ young men and women.

    If we want the art of the sewer all over NZ without a valve, then it flows freely and we all simply get covered in crap.

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  12. Sam A (35 comments) says:

    So many people voting on these comments seem to hate free speech. Those who wish to silence their opponents or critics are generally on the wrong side of the argument.

    Is what they are saying offensive? Assume it is for sake of argument.

    Does that constitute a crime? Absolutely not.

    Should we assume that our fellow citizens are unable to determine right from wrong based on the ramblings of a shitty artist? Come off it.

    If this is the way NZ is heading, I don’t think I can raise children here. By raise them, I mean let them become independent thinking adults who can listen to something wrong, determine it to be so, and get on with their lives.

    Addressing the incitement to violence incident in 2011 – were they charged for that? Don’t think so. I’d be surprised to see a hip-hop concert of that size where someone *doesn’t* get arrested for a violent act.

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  13. Harriet (7,545 comments) says:

    “……anti-sexual violence group Stop Demand emailed Auckland councillors….”

    Odd Future identify with being primates, and are simply vocalising their frustation at not being allowed to act out their gender sexual desires; like passionatly devouring the community’s hottest pussie – and boardly fucking later what’s available at hand.

    Oh hang on…….both pursuits are currently legal in NZ.

    However as usual in a ‘celebrity’ obsessed nation – that’s exactly what Odd Future members would be doing to some of NZ’s female groupies the whole time they’ed be here – and the left’s sexualists would have to defend all the young boys and girls involved!

    And another thing – the same people won’t ask for Len Brown to stand down for behaving in exactly the same way as these lads want to?

    Humanism – where he who has the most pointed stick wins the debate – when the debate is publicly announced for mention that is! What fucken crap is that to live by in society? – one rule for you and one for me and one for every other individual?

    Mr Craig will win 10% if he simply talks common sense to the electorate. Key can’t as he’s a homo lover. 😎

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  14. dog_eat_dog (1,031 comments) says:

    Harriet, take your fake moon landing 19th century fear of the other and sod-off back to whatever horse and cart propelled time you came from.

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  15. OneTrack (4,602 comments) says:

    If Odd Futures music is such a “potential threat to public order”, surely the gummint should be banning their music being sold in New Zealand, and the Internet firewalls should be fired up to stop the music being downloaded.

    Think of the children.

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  16. edhunter (578 comments) says:

    Who needs Tipper Gore & the PRMC when we have Harriet & CC to save us. hallefuckinlujah

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  17. secondcumming (101 comments) says:

    To be honest, there’s enuff potty-mouth fuckers in this country as it is… why would you want to let any more arseholes like this across the border?

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  18. Longknives (6,409 comments) says:

    Anybody who even dares to compare the legendary Rolling Stones with these talentless ‘Gangsta Rappers’ deserves a slapping…
    *And the reason they aren’t welcome here is nothing to do with their song lyrics or ‘censorship’- It’s because they regularly incite their concert crowds to attack police etc As you can imagine that may cause some problems with 50,000 drunken ‘Hip Hop’ fans and the fifty or so Police that will be mulling around the venue…

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  19. ZenTiger (401 comments) says:

    Don’t know what the problem is here.

    Some nameless official in Immigration wrote some lyrics down on a form.
    The lyrics said “Sod Off you Odd Clowns. Access denied.”

    Are you telling me that a band has freedom to express themselves, and a nameless figure at the immigration department doesn’t?

    Let Immigration sing. Sing!
    I’m buying that album and framing that form.
    Its rhythm is Odd Future’s blues, and they can pay their dues.

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  20. edhunter (578 comments) says:

    Damn you are so right LK, and the reason they’ve never been arrested & prosecuted for inciting all those riots & violence against cops is…..??
    Oh that’s right you’re talking through a hole in your ass. Admit it you’re just getting old & turning into a grumpy old man.
    I’m pretty sure generations of parents have been saying the same thing to their kids since day dot, and if there’s one thing history should’ve taught us it’s that saying no or banning something is almost a dead cert way to get teenagers to do it.
    Shit I was there in 84 when our national treasure Dave Dobbyn incited the crowd & taunted the riot squad & he’s never played a gig again….oh wait

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  21. Longknives (6,409 comments) says:

    Fuck ‘Rap’ and Fuck ‘Hip Hop’- It is an abomination against music.
    None of these gold teethed, grill and bling wearing morons can even play an instrument and they make their money stealing backing tracks and basslines from real musicians.
    Yelling “Yo Yo Fuck Da Police” and “Fuck Dem Hoes”over a pre-recorded stolen backing track is the absolute excrement bucket of the music industry.
    These Morons don’t deserve to be labelled ‘artists’ and they quite rightly aren’t welcome any more in this country..

    *I saw Jay Z play opening for U2 a few years ago and was amazed at what little musical talent the guy actually has. His band were pretending to play their instruments with pre-recorded backing tracks and all Jay Z did was yell “Mutha Fucka” alot into the microphone. (and horrify the crown by interrupting a moments silence for the Pike Miners with “And also shout out to my homies Tupac and Biggie YO”!!”

    Talentless morons..’Rap’ is a disgrace to the music industry.

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  22. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    let them say what ever they like we NEED to LISTEN and LISTEN CAREFULLY

    Take heed of every word they say and who supports them and why?

    because if you think what they are saying (BAD AS IT IS) is what they think THINK AGAIN

    What they really think IS MUCH MUCH MUCH WORSE
    and that is the lie the best lies are omissions

    and I mean thinking with this lot is drawing a long bow

    the revolting lyrics are only half the story with this MASS GLOBAL MOVEMENT

    The explicit lyrics and the no morality is NOT THE AGENDA here and NEITHER IS FREE SPEECH

    the authorities of NZ are pretending to have “standards” and the reality is they are nearly as BAD
    as ODD Future – They share the same views

    ODD Future just Need to Change their Name to


    because banned or not banned this is NZs Future

    they had the financial backing to get here didn’t they

    THE FAN BASE of course they have a FAN BASE IN NZ

    and who wear diamond swastikas and call themselves “Black Nazis”,

    Where else would this type of Fascist Convention Flourish and get an Audience?

    Rape Abuse Getting away with Violent Crime again and again and again

    that is NZ every day of the week except with this lot you can do it to music

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  23. ShawnLH (14,490 comments) says:

    The ban was right. We don’t need these pro-rape pro-crime scum in NZ.

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  24. rouppe (1,236 comments) says:

    So if someone who has publicly said that they’ll attack a woman knocks on my door, I should let them in and wait for the attack to happen before doing something about it?

    That’s dumb.

    Yes there is freedom of speech but really, enabling grossly violent messages over steps the line

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  25. ZenTiger (401 comments) says:

    “You don’t have to like the band or their music, but it comes down to the principle that I may not a agree with what you say but I’ll defend your right to say it.”

    There’s another principle at play: That sick people deserve treatment. Not encouragement.

    If the Euthanasia laws come in, putting them down would probably be a humane act. In the meantime, let them stay in America where they have every chance to avail themselves to an arse-hole (ass-hole?) transplant. Their arse-holes are obviously rejecting them.

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  26. Urban_Redneck (243 comments) says:

    Spit on a bitch, punch on a bitch
    After I eat some steak, have her tug on my dick
    Nigga filthy rich, two car notes
    No house nigga, that’s how I roll
    Yeah nigga I do this fuckin’ shit
    Count money, get my hair braided by your bitch
    She drivin’ me around town, nigga
    Where I’m at nigga? Dog pound nigga
    Oh shit nigga, what’s good ho?
    Your bitch givin’ me head, countin’ money though
    2 chainz, three dames
    Rollin’ with my niggas cause we gang bang
    I roll big, we roll deep
    Only skate in the streets, what’s good nigga?
    I’m hood nigga, with my hood niggas
    We ratchet, we coon in the hood section

    Odd Future – We Got Bitches Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    Can’t beat a good old fashioned love song.

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  27. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “… posing a “potential threat to public order”


    There is another (much larger) group that is *also* a “potential threat to public order” and that poses a subversive threat to Western culture.


    One only needs to see the annual arson-fest of cars being set alight in Paris (every New Year’s Eve) by Muslims to see what I mean.

    That’s not the main danger though – the main danger is subversion of our culture (which is slower but much harder to guard against).
    Look at Sweden (Malmo in particular), the UK and most of Europe to see this cultural subversion (and cultural suicide by immigration) in action.
    It has started in Australia too – they are already putting “prayer rooms” in sports stadiums there –

    It is only a matter of time before Muslims here (the imams in particular) see their numbers as being large enough to start the steady, relentless trickle of demands for similar concessions here.

    Just like the frog in a warming pot of water (where Westerners are the frog and Muslims are the ones turning up the heat), Muslims hope that the “frog” won’t notice the heat being turned up – their stealthy infiltration into the culture.

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  28. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    One thing I forgot to say in my previous post –

    The “threat to public order” posed by a rap group – even if the threat were realised – would surely be *temporary* – a day or so at the most.

    The threat to our culture and values from subversion by Islam is *permanent*. That makes it much more worthy of attention and action.

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  29. ChardonnayGuy (1,605 comments) says:

    The last time they played here, there was an almighty brouhaha in the LGBT community about it. Some of us thought it should be censored, others (me included) were anti-censorship:

    Here’s what I said to ground my perspective on the issue:

    There’s a branch of social science called ‘media effects theory’ which offers some clues about what might happen. Media effects theory states that in a real-world context, there will be many other influences that might precipitate violent and/or antisocial behaviour other than media content particularly. These may include dysfunctional and abusive family backgrounds, questionable peer groups and approval or disapproval from social institutions. For that reason, I don’t believe in ahistorical and monocausal views about media effects. That applies to television ‘violence’, ‘pornography’ -or hate speech, in given historical and social contexts.

    Let’s not demonise popular culture here. Granted, one might find Odd Future’s lyrics and content annoying…[…] it isn’t ethnic minority musical subcultures that are the chief source of surviving homophobia and transphobia in this country. It is homophobic and and transphobic conservative religious institutions and their malignant effects on legislation and public policy.

    And let’s remember- it wasn’t so long ago that our right to freedom of speech and expression were under attack from the likes of Patricia Bartlett, the Society for Promotion of Community Standards and other pro-censorship campaigners ourselves.

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  30. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I think this group (whoever they are) are a “flash in the pan”.
    I wouldn’t waste money going to see them.

    I’m a staunch Pink Floyd fan and I can pretty much guarantee that in 10 years from now, everyone will have forgotten who Odd Future were.
    Not so with Pink Floyd…… 🙂

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  31. Yoza (3,053 comments) says:

    The ‘threat to public order’ and ‘inciting others to act violently through social media’ seem to have been tacked on after Immigration banned this group under pressure from a ‘moral majority’ offshoot. Before they were barred from New Zealand I remember hearing on the radio someone complaining about them playing at an ‘all ages gig’, it turns out the ‘all ages gig’ was the Eminem concert – Marshall Mathers is not famous as a feminist sympathiser or a promoter of gay rights.

    This whole affair has been a beat up from the outset, this is the morally corrupt preaching morality to the masses. I do not listen to Odd Future or Eminem, but it is not my place to tell others they may not listen to them either and it is definitely not the place of our Immigration Ministry to determine the moral dependability of visiting artists.

    Gordon Campbell over at Scoop has an excellent piece on this issue:

    “There’s a pattern here. Every few years New Zealand has a spasm of moral outrage about what the kids are listening to – it’s all about the kids, right? – and tries to ban the music and the opinions that it doesn’t like. The modus operandi tends to be the same. Twenty years ago at the height of the controversy over the rapper Ice T’s “Cop Killer” song, the police trawled through the criminal record of every member of the group to see if they could find a reason to ban them from entering the country, and sought to prosecute a record shop owner (selected at random) caught selling Ice T’s album. More recently, the Clark government banned the Holocaust denier David Irving from entering the country. In 2009, gay activists managed to get the Jamaican dancehall artist Beenie Man removed from the Big Day Out line-up, because some of his lyrics were alleged to constitute incitements to violence against gays. The Beenie Man incident was particularly ridiculous, given that the lyrics in question would have been in an unintelligible patois delivered at warp speed – such that the crowd would have had no idea whether Beenie Man was singing the offensive songs or not, and would have needed subtitles to know what they were being incited to do, and to whom – much less whether they would act on the lyrics, in any case. To state the bleedingly obvious: songs don’t dictate action. As I pointed out at the time, Bob Dylan said in one of his songs that everybody must get stoned. But you know what? They didn’t.”

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  32. ChardonnayGuy (1,605 comments) says:

    And here’s another reflection on the whole Odd Future brouhaha:‎

    Throughout the twentieth century, it seemed to be the case that whenever the broad left experienced strategic setbacks at the hands of political and social authoritarians, it embraced a rigid, determinist view that popular culture was unregenerately capitalist/patriarchal/homophobic, and that their central constituencies (workers/women/gays) required a good dose of edification, given their victimhood at the hands of dominant social interests during the Cold War Macarthyite ‘red scare’/Reagan era/Key administration.

    Granted, the ideological justifications have differed. In the anti-comics crusade of the fifties, the British, American and New Zealand Communist Party were guided by “Frankfurt School” Marxist cultural pessimism, which charged that “Americanised” popular culture was reactionary and violent- hence the working class needed to be “protected” from the fare within horror comics, war comics and Wonder Woman (who seemed to be constantly getting tied up, or kissed by Venusian fairy queens. And as for Batman and Robin (ahem) …) This was to be achieved through state censorship. Given conservative moral panics about youth violence and sexuality during the advent of the teenager as a distinct age cohort during the fifties, this played right into the hands of cultural and social conservatives and an unholy alliance was forged.

    If one opposes censorship of Odd Future on grounds of questionable monocausal assumptions about media effects, or argues that there are probably many other causes of homophobic violence, one gets accused of not taking the objectionable rhetoric of Odd Future seriously, and condoning homophobic violence and youth suicide. No, sorry. Hiphop is a marginal youth subculture and musical genre. It has positive content too, and may help to mobilise its core African-American (Maori and Polynesian) constituencies against experiences of poverty and institutional racism.

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  33. ZenTiger (401 comments) says:

    This is NOT a debate on “popular culture”. This is a bunch of idiots promoting rape and violence. Do you think it appropriate to text messages to young women and threaten to rape them and torture them? I presume even freedom of speech stops there? So screaming the same thing out in a public forum to rouse a mob is some how just a new generation having fun?

    This is no big deal. Banning these morons from visiting NZ is as much a blow to freedom as arresting a drunk yobo for having a piss in a bus, simply because they don’t give a shit where they piss.

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  34. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    That’s beautiful

    It has positive content too, and may help to mobilise its core African-American (Maori and Polynesian) constituencies against experiences of poverty and institutional racism.

    We need more (Maori and Polynesian) to be lied to so they can pretend their situation is caused by institutional racism?

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  35. ChardonnayGuy (1,605 comments) says:

    In one ear, out the other. Human beings are not Pavlov’s dogs. They do not respond in a kneejerk or unnuanced manner to specific media stimuli, given that there are multiple, interacting institutional effects within their lives, and media plays a tiny role in elicting them. Bad parenting is a far greater culprit for violent and antisocial offending against others. Just because some people engage in singing reprehensible, misogynist and otherwise putrid song lyrics is no reason to ban them. If mediocrity in creative endeavour was any guideline to censorship policy, all (interchangeable!) Aussie soaps would be banned from New Zealand television.

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