Friday, 14 July 2017

A Special Kind Of Prejudice.

Self Portrait Of A Sinophobic  Killer: Thankfully, New Zealand history boasts only one self-confessed homicdal racist - Lionel Terry. To ensure we never have another, the issues of race and immigration must be kept entirely separate.
 
LIONEL TERRY was waiting for Joe Kum Yung as he came limping up Haining Street on the evening of Sunday, 24 September 1905. The 70 year-old veteran of the Otago gold rush knew nothing of the 32 year-old English adventurer lurking in the shadows of Wellington’s notorious “Chinese Quarter”. As Joe shuffled past, Terry stepped forward, raised his revolver and fired. The elderly man collapsed in the street. Stunned neighbours rushed to render assistance but, by the time he arrived at the nearby hospital, Joe Kum Yung was dead. Terry, meanwhile, had disappeared into the Wellington night.
 
The next morning, however, Terry turned himself in to the authorities. “I have come to tell you that I am the man who shot the Chinaman in the Chinese quarters of the city last evening”, he explained. “I take an interest in alien immigration and I took this means of bringing it under the public notice.”
 
Convicted of Joe’s murder, Terry was sentenced to hang. But this was New Zealand in 1905 and English gentlemen did not die for killing elderly Chinese. Declared insane, the murderous white supremacist spent the rest of his life in psychiatric institutions where, in later years, he was allowed to paint and write poetry. With his long white hair and neatly trimmed beard he was treated as an eccentric minor celebrity.
 
It takes a special kind of prejudice to kill a man for the purposes of bringing an issue “under the public notice”. But the anti-Chinese feeling which Joe’s homicide highlighted was by no means exceptional. Nor was it a phenomenon restricted to the political right. Indeed, in the early years of the twentieth century, anti-Chinese agitation was associated much more closely with the political left. Terry himself was a staunch anti-capitalist who railed against employers who imported “coolie-slave labour” at the expense of honest Britons who expected a fair day’s work to be rewarded with a fair day’s pay.
 
For most of New Zealand’s history, racism and immigration have been inseparable. At issue, always, was not the number of immigrants arriving in New Zealand, but the extent to which the new arrivals either challenged, or conformed to, the expectations of the non-immigrant population.
 
Foremost among those expectations was the working-class prohibition against selling one’s labour for less than the going rate. This was an article of left-wing faith all around the Pacific Rim: adhered to with every bit as much fervour in New South Wales and California as New Zealand. That Chinese workers represented a deadly threat to “White Men’s” wages was part and parcel of the same working-class gospel, fuelling European workers’ racist antipathy towards the “Yellow Peril”.
 
For Chinese New Zealanders the consequences of this deeply-ingrained racial prejudice were severe. The legal barriers to their full acceptance as New Zealand citizens (poll taxes and administrative restrictions on travel) took a scandalously long time to dismantle, and the social barriers lasted even longer. It was only fifty years ago that Kiwi schoolchildren regaled each other with “Ching Chong Chinaman” rhymes and jokes.
 
In 2002 Helen Clark issued a Prime Ministerial apology to Chinese New Zealanders for the treatment meted out to them by the New Zealand state. Ten years later, however, a senior New Zealand politician was still willing to entertain his audiences with the jocular observation: “Two Wongs don’t make a White.”
 
There has been considerable consternation at the Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei’s, uncompromising criticism of NZ First’s “racist” immigration policies. When placed in the shameful context of this country’s long history of anti-immigrant (especially anti-Chinese immigrant) prejudice, however, the Green Party’s progressive sensitivities on this issue are a lot less surprising.
 
Where they do lay themselves open to criticism, however, is in their refusal to cast an equally large accusatory stone at their preferred coalition partner, Labour. The latter’s willingness to mix race and immigration issues has a long history. Whether it be Bill Rowling’s backing of Rob Muldoon’s 1982 legislation stripping Samoans of their New Zealand citizenship, or the more recent “Chinese-sounding names” debacle, Labour’s record on this crucial progressive litmus test is, on the face of it, no less worthy of criticism than NZ First’s.
 
Thankfully, New Zealand history boasts only one Lionel Terry. To ensure we never have another, the issues of race and immigration must be kept entirely separate.
 
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 14 July 2017.

9 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I had to reference Lionel Terry in my thesis. There was definitely a racially charged climate at the time, concentrating on the Chinese, but also including Indians of various sorts. And Yugoslavians, although that I suspect was more that they were regarded with suspicion as part of the Austrian Empire post-World War I. There was a lot of eugenic thinking around at the time. And it wasn't just migration of Chinese, but the possibility of their marriage to Maori that seemed to excite various whack jobs. (well that might be a bit mean, it was no more than the beliefs of the time.) There was quite a debate in parliament over the years about race, during which I'm quite proud to say the Labour Party was pretty much on the side of the angels. But to me it's one of the first episodes of Truthiness. :) Psychologists and conservatives particularly MPs who were farmers – of course they knew all about breeding – were sure that interbreeding of the races would result in diminution of the collective IQ, and degeneration of people's morals. Biologists however realised it was all bullshit and repeatedly said so. To be ignored by those who were convinced of their own righteousness – something which is very common today.

Nick J said...

I get a little disturbed by the conflation of race with culture and nationality. Then add in all the other touch points for fire....competition for work homes and benefits, throw in religion and any other thing that is topical.

The liberal Left in general, ditto the liberal Centre and liberal Right go into paroxysms of of outrage and immediate labeling as "racist" if ever challenged. The decibels go ballistic very quickly as finely tuned emotions and virtue seeking positions take over rational thought process.

I have a real problem with this response. As a "ten bob tourist aged 5" I think I know prejudice and non thinking when I see it. I have had "Pom" added to my status, experienced "Punch a Pom a day", told I was both illegitimate and not a local in no uncertain terms. And I am sure that new immigrants here receive no more of this now than in the 60s and 70s. I remember well the "dawn raids", I remember a young Maori woman I took into a lounge bar one night being made uncomfortable by the stares generated by the locals who neither approved of her being with me, nor with her being in "their" bar. In my experience prejudice has been moved well to the side compared to those days, the Maori renaissance and Pasifika becoming mainstream really helped.

So my problem with the liberal agenda? It is because it seeks to assume correctness and adherence without questioning the underlying issues. The local calling things out is automatically wrong. So you cannot afford a house, and the country is being flooded by a huge number of immigrants who likely have more cash than you. You say you are anti current immigration policy and whammo, you are a "racist"! You have your job prospects undermined by imported labour, you call foul, whammo, you are an "anti immigration bigot". You mention they are Indian or Chinese or Martian...whammo, you are also a "racist".

I could go on, but I think I have illustrated my point. The person raising the issue, now labeled and "put down" is left as before, with what might be a reasonable complaint. But nobody is answering it or addressing it. Even if the complaint is obviously wrong, it remains unanswered except by abusive language. hence we get to the stage the Americans did where people without prospects voted for an idiot in a large part because their concerns got them the label "deplorables" from the liberal establishment. And the equivalent happens here, where being an old white man expressing concerns immediately makes you turn to the old Maori man leading the "reactionary racist" party. Why? Because the issues remain unaddressed, they are not even debated. Least of all by those social justice promotion specialists, the Greens and the Labour Left.

Kiwiwit said...

I continue to be surprised by the anti-Chinese sentiment in this country. The worst example most recently was Hone Harawira's reported comment that Chinese drug dealers should be executed. Singling out one race for a draconian criminal sanction is racism of the most blatant sort.

Anonymous said...

Great article! Amazing to think the early 20th century NZ society was more advanced and liberal in many ways than Mainland Chinese society today.

Thank you!

Unknown said...

When placed in the shameful context of this country’s long history of anti-immigrant (especially anti-Chinese immigrant) prejudice
….......
Are you saying New Zealanders are different from other people? I'm trying to think of other people and places who behave differently (progressives in western countries notwithstanding).

To ensure we never have another, the issues of race and immigration must be kept entirely separate.

Are you arguing that large numbers coming from the UK (where many of us had relations) is the same as large numbers coming from China? What about the benefits of reciprical migration?

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia
The academic Gina Marchetti identified the psycho-cultural fear of Asians as “rooted in medieval fears of Genghis Khan and the Mongolian invasions of Europe, the Yellow Peril combines racist terror of alien cultures, sexual anxieties, and the belief that the West will be overpowered and enveloped, by the irresistible, dark, occult forces of the East”

From Sociology, Sociology, Sociology
Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviours or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations.

BB said...

More on Whites Are Racist from Huff Post.
Yellow Peril Supports Black Power
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-truong/yellow-peril-supports-bla_b_7781586.html
Isn't that where you are leading Chris?

"Intersectional theory has now taken over the college campuses, leaving the broken corpses of decency and reason in its wake. Intersectionality classifies social categories of race, class, gender and sexual orientation into a hierarchy of victimhood that decides how you should be treated. If you are a black lesbian, for example, you outrank a black straight man and your view must be treated with more care and weight than that of the black straight man. More importantly, since society somehow classifies you as "lesser" than the black straight man, you are incapable of ever doing anything to victimize that black straight man — social powerlessness means that your individual victim status never changes."
"whites benefit from a more powerful status in society at large; and therefore, black people cannot possibly be racist against white people. As Morehouse College Professor Dr. Marc Lamont-Hill said last year, "black people don't have the institutional power to be racist or to deploy racism." [true/flase - not who said it]
....
Extrapolating left-wing thinking on Racism - Bilbo is stuffing around in Hobbiton when Gandolf arrives looking grim faced. He gets hold of Bilbo who has a ring which exalts him as member of the UR (United Rings). Off they go looking left and right for mounted Winston Peters (the enemy of the UR's). The upshot is that Orks have been breeding like flies and need to migrate to Hobbiton. This is where the magic takes, place - but also where the analogy falls down given Hobbiton's simple rural structure and tight knit community, but you get the drift - Hobbiton becomes multicultural with a police force to ensure observance.
Farmer Maggot's retires a rich man after Sauron Realestate knocks his farm off at their Mordor branch.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jesus wept BB – is comprehensibility a word in your lexicon? Would you like to explain to us lesser mortals exactly what you mean by all that......babble? It is a reasonably widely accepted idea that in order to be racist you actually have to have power over someone. Otherwise you are merely bigoted. But it's just a question of definition, and I can't see why it should get your knickers in a twist. At least I think your knickers in a twist – difficult to tell really.

Anonymous said...

Another NZ example of a person being murdered soley for racial reasons:

Skinhead jailed for 'callous' murder of Korean backpacker

http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/skinhead-jailed-for-callous-murder-of-korean-backpacker--2010042916