A sad world view

Derek Cheng has done an interesting interview and profile on Hone Harawira. There’s one part that caught my attention:

So how would Harawira feel if one of his seven children came home with a Pakeha partner?

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable. Like all Pakehas would be happy with their daughters coming home with a Maori boy – and the answer is they wouldn’t.

What a very sad view on society – and also a wrong one. I do not believe the majority of Pakeha would care one bit about whether their daughter or sisters dated a Maori. Maybe 50 years ago, but certainly not today.

Historically also, Maori and Pakeha have married each other in great numbers – to the point that it is thought no living New Zealander has 100% Maori ancestry.

I know for myself that I would have absolutely no discomfort over a family member dating someone who happens to be Maori. Just as I wouldn’t care if they dated someone with blue eyes.

Hone obviously sees people’s group affiliations as more important than who they are as an individual. I think it is a very sad way to view life and society.

“That’s just the reality of the world. Let’s not cry about it. Let’s just live with it and move on.”

But it isn’t. Maybe it is Hone’s word, but it sure as hell isn’t how the world works for most of us.

Some of his whanau have dated Pacific Islanders and he didn’t have an issue with it. Does that make him prejudiced?

“Probably, but how many people don’t have prejudices? I’m just like every other New Zealander, except I’m comfortable in recognising that prejudice exists.”

It clearly is prejudice. Hone is saying that skin colour matters. And there are probably some elderly Pakeha who agree with him. But the tragedy is Hone legitimises such prejudices rather than tries to end them. And prejudice does end, or at least greatly diminish. Look at the massive change in attitudes about women over the last 100 years?

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