Saturday 10 September 2016

Support Your Local Chiefs.

Support Your Local Sheriff: It is easy to imagine a host of witnesses lining up to perjure themselves in the name of White Supremacy. Why, then, is it so hard to imagine a host of “independent” witnesses hurrying forward to defend the honour of their macho code by denying that anything untoward happened to Scarlette at that infamous Matamata spa?
PAUL REED’S ICONIC PHOTOGRAPH, often subtitled “Support Your Local Sheriff”, appeared in Life magazine in 1967. Lawrence A. Rainey, oozing the in-your-face belligerence of a crooked southern sheriff, was on trial for violating the civil rights of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, three young civil rights workers murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in June 1964.
Rainey’s easy confidence was not misplaced. In Mississippi, in the early 1960s, the chances of an all-white jury convicting a white law enforcement officer for the murder of an African American were practically nil. Men like Rainey were elected by their white neighbours (the sort of men captured grinning at the camera in Life’s famous photograph) and adhered to exactly the same viciously racist beliefs.
Since the 1880s, virtually the entire law enforcement and judicial infrastructure of the South had been dedicated to the preservation and enforcement of white privilege. If the Klan was there to terrorise and murder southern blacks, the role of sheriffs and judges was to make sure that the persons responsible were never brought to justice.
In this endeavour law enforcement and the judiciary could rely upon the willing co-operation of white juries. In the rare event that a district attorney brought a white person to trial, jury members could be relied upon to ignore the prosecution’s evidence. By contrast, the testimony of defence witnesses – no matter how outlandish – was taken as gospel. For an accused Klansman, acquittal was practically certain.
That the Jim Crow South of the 1950s and 60s was a hotbed of white racism and violence is hardly news. In 2016 we have no difficulty whatsoever in understanding how the racist communities of the southern states banded together to protect their racial privileges. We certainly know better than to believe them capable of delivering justice to their black neighbours.
Why then are we surprised and offended when the NZ Rugby Union produces a report which utterly fails to deliver even the most rudimentary justice to the young woman whose experiences called it forth? If we can understand how the deeply racist culture of the American South consistently failed to deliver justice to its black victims; why couldn’t we anticipate how the viciously misogynistic attitudes pervading New Zealand’s Rugby culture would similarly fail to deliver justice to Scarlette?
It is easy to imagine a host of witnesses lining up to perjure themselves in the name of White Supremacy. Why, then, is it so hard to imagine a host of “independent” witnesses hurrying forward to defend the honour of their macho code by denying that anything untoward happened to Scarlette at that Matamata spa?
It’s a pity there was no Life photographer present when these good ole boys were giving their “evidence” to the Rugby Union’s lawyer. What are the odds that their faces all wore expressions very similar to Sheriff Rainey’s?

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Saturday, 10 September 2016.


BlisteringAttack said...

Inhouse counsel conducting an enquiry has all the credibility of Goebbels investigating Göring; a complete nonsense and sham.

What is probably most staggering is that the NZRU 'leadership', in their infinite wisdom, thought that this kind of enquiry would suffice.

In effect, what we have been shown is a kind of deception.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

If you want to see the rock bottom mean-spiritedness that is part of New Zealand culture, just go to the Stuff website and see some of the comments in fact almost all the comments that I saw blaming the woman for being assaulted. In my mind similar to blaming a road worker for being run over. But that's the dark side of New Zealand. Always been there, just more open with it now we have the Internet.

Polly said...

It is a bloody shameful episode amongst our national game participants.
To much money, no character or morality.
Steven Tew and the Rugby Union lawyers who investigated and whitewashed the team and turned the victim into the guilty party, should be charged with "dereliction of duty" and sacked with 'dishonour' on their record.

A very true and telling analogy, should get broader coverage, well done.

Grant said...

Karma appears to have caught up with him however. According to wikipedia:

"Despite his acquittal, Rainey was stigmatized by his role in the events. After leaving office in 1968, he was subsequently unable to get reelected or to work in law enforcement. His later careers included periods as auto mechanic and as a security guard in Kentucky and Mississippi. He later came to blame the FBI for preventing him from finding and keeping jobs. He suffered from throat cancer and tongue cancer, and died in 2002 at the age of 79."

This also implies that a majority of voters did NOT support people like Rainey and the Klan.

Nick J said...

You can expect 21 year old to be "young, dumb and full of cum". Add booze and there is going to be offensive stupidity. I don't expect senior team members to be this stupid or accepting, Ditto management, officials and RFU. First ethical rule of life: admit the crime, do the time. Fail all round.

On the testosterone laden lads it speaks volumes about their lack of respect for themselves that they would accept such low standards towards women aka their sister and mothers. This is I suppose going to be called "rape culture". I won't deny it, it appals me.

A O said...

As a sports fan, I should be more au fait with the Chiefs media-fest, but in a world of shyt, among so many other things, their shenanigans just don't interest me much. I assume that if they've broken the law, that they will be punished accordingly and I also assume that due lawful process, or whatever its called, has or soon will have, taken place. The big story here for me is that if laws have been broken and yet little, if any, punishment has been metered out, then what the frig is going on here!

Otherwise, the other big story here is "pack mentality" and this nasty human condition is prevalent everywhere and not just limited to the obvious offending Chiefs/sports crowd. Pack mentality, we humans feed on this shyt, whether it be a bunch of booze-infested, testosterone-fuelled players, a frenzied media out for blood or commentators of all persuasions united by belief. Pack mentality, a foible of the human condition that this issue (and issues like these) have shown, is inherent in all of us. Maybe the biggest problem here is that we rarely look within, when we so gleefully look outward.

greywarbler said...

Stripping is a money earner in a world with few adequate jobs that have livable wages and reasonable hours. The 'exotic dancing' is a legitimate job so stripping per se should not be a target. Women do
go to similar shows, think of the film The Full Monty.

But it appears that there was a $50 extra fee that enabled actual touching and close contact by the men, rather than just being watchers,
which was the rule.

The young woman was aware and appealing to the lustful attitudes of young men, and perhaps knew too of their two-faced approach to women ie be nice and apparently respectful or admiring just to get advantage. She has been too simplistic and romantic to understand the stark reality when too much alcohol, and pack mentality prevails. Many young men have the muscle power, arrogance, hormones and desire to establish a portfolio of successes with winning women, so a residual wariness should remain. Despite the triumph of feminism and leap forward in women's standing it is child-like to be unaware of the differing and gamesmanship in gender attitudes.

Cracker said...

I was in Paris for the Rugby World Cup semi finals in 2007.

I attended the match that the All Blacks should have been in but were bundled out in the quarter final.

My seat at the stadium was in a group of NZers. They were a curt, grim, pinched lot.

I attempted to engage in conversation; I told to a largely non-responsive non-verbal group that I had been to the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Versailles etc my usual places I visited when in Paris.

My chat was abruptly halted with this comment from a dour, gruff voice seated behind me:

'We didn't come here for any of that shit'

Enough said.

jh said...

Frontal loboties for all of them!

Hubris said...

In the new professional era of the mid 1990's, Josh Kronfeld, attempted to make a series of political statements re French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

The rumours I heard was that he was told in no uncertain terms that if he continued with this line of protest at home and abroad it would cost him his professional rugby contract and ultimately his career.

Relunctantly, Kronfeld ceased any further comment on French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Such is the power & influence of the NZRU. Who, in turn, were probably acting on instructions from the NZ & French governments.

Ripper said...

Yes, Cracker (11 Sept 20:00) you have to see NZers abroad to see what we are.

In many instances, we're reptiles crawling out of a bog.

manfred said...

I have experienced a lot of that anti-culture anti-intellectual type garbage from my fellow Kiwis.

But really, if they don't want to see the wonders of Paris, so what? It would be better if we were all cultured, but we're not. What kind of world do you think we're living in? I hate to break it to you, but this is not utopia, nor anything vaguely resembling it. It is a place of suffering and chaos and ignorance. We have to start at that point.

Those 'one-eyed yokels' who sneer at the idea of experiencing architectural beauty may be better fathers to their children than many. They may know how to knock up a fence in record time. They may come over to your house and fix some faulty wiring, even though that isn't their trade.

What fucks me off beyond all comprehension is how the metropolitan left just cuts away all possibility of relating to these 'ordinary' Kiwis who don't happen to listen to good indie music and read T.S Eliot.

Have you heard of the saying 'it takes many to make a world'? What has happened to us socialists? We use to be the party of the hard-bitten tough worker. It used to be the rich Tories who were the effete ponces.

It's a supercilious superiority complex and it's getting us nowhere.

Nick J said...

From the heart Manfred. I ask the same questions and get the same confusion. There is an unbending inflexibility in much modern "leftist" thought. Why it is labeled "left" is beyond me, for example why can't feminism be centrist or right wing?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

To get back to the actual topic, a friend of mine is just come back from "the country" where he had to listen to a bunch of farmers whining about how the Chiefs were hard done by over strippergate. Sigh.

jh said...


Studies on migration often assume that members of the same ethnic category are less likely to develop exclusionary attitudes toward each other. In order to explain why many Hong Kong people exhibit exclusionary attitudes toward granting social rights to Chinese immigrants who share the same ethnic ancestry with them, we conducted a phone survey to examine four important factors: (1) economic threat; (2) social threat; (3) negative stereotypes; and (4) contact with immigrants. We find that the economic threat—either at the societal or individual level—perceived by respondents does not explain their exclusionary attitudes. The results are consistent with alternative explanations emphasizing cultural and non-economic concerns commonly associated with ethnocentrism.