Sunday, 5 August 2007

Chris Trotter - Broken children our hideous toll

New 'From the Left' column by Trotter, Broken Children our Hideous Toll (1).

One quotation from the article:
Locate on a map of New Zealand those communities where "Rogernomics" and
"Ruthanasia" bit hardest, and you will discover an alarming correspondence with
the communities experiencing domestic violence, child abuse, gang affiliations and crime at their worst.

Entirely unsurprisingly, in this colonial society, they are also the communities with the highest concentration of Maori New Zealanders.
People react with rage and revulsion when they hear stories like the killing of Nia Glassie. The idea that the social and political choices New Zealand has made might have contributed to her death, and the long line of battered, killed children, is easy to deny, by calling the perpetrators animals or brutes. And so they were, but how did they become such? It is easy for white New Zealand to write it off as a Maori issue, conveniently overlooking the correlation between poverty, alcohol, drugs, lack of education, unemployment, crime, family break up and violence that distorts the picture.

Yes, Maori are over-represented in the stats. They are over-represented in a lot of stats, all bad. Why is that? Of course we don't want to think we're responsible, however indirectly, for horrible, violent, tragedies like Nia Glassie's. Saying it all comes down to the thugs who hurt these children is, essentially, to say that there is something wrong or sick in Maori culture or Maori genes. That sits a lot more comfortably with white New Zealand, as it saves us from having to entertain the notion - unbearable - that it might be something wrong or sick in the choices we made.
1- "Broken Children our Hideous Toll," by Chris Tortter, in The Dominion
Post, 3rd August 2007. Reproduced on

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