Anyone who knows me well knows that I will stand up for anyone and fight for the equal rights of all. This has always been a part of me, and has caused many heated discussions with people over the years as I express my opinions around the rights of all.
I recently read an article on Stuff about New Zealanders white anxiety which fired me up.
The article talks about hate speech and crime. The journalist shares a conversation she recently had with a friend who read the manifesto of the man who killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March this year. The friend shared that she too "is worried about the looming white demographic decline, turning her racial group into a minority in her "own country"."
This created an instant reaction in me. Firstly, we - white people - invaded this country, Aoteroa, bringing with us our own beliefs and ways of life, completely disrupting the lives of the people indigenous to this land, Māori. We see this around the world as 'white people' set off to explore new lands and brought with them colonisation - one of the most traumatic events an indigenous group can experience.
"Group size, as social psychologists tell us, can be a marker of dominance and so a group getting smaller can feel threatened". This is a concept I struggle with, as it is generally the things that make us the beautiful and diverse individuals we are that people base these groups on. Aspects such as skin colour, religion and beliefs, ethnicity, abilities (or diabilities) sexual orientation and identification, even our eye colour or hair style.
Have we not learnt from our ancestors? How many times do we have to repeat history and learn that we are skin, bones, organs, a heart and brain - we are ALL human beings. We continue to create war lines, hurt and anger through creating division by focusing on the things that make us different from one another, and in the extreme cases this leads to us killing each other. Where is the understanding, empathy and openness to get to know one another, to connect and celebrate the things that make us the unique people we are?
As a Pakeha, who comes from strong Celtic roots and whose ancestors have lived in NZ since the late 1800's I identify as a Kiwi. But the fact is I am not indigenous to Aotearoa, my ancestors had to travel around the world in order to arrive and settle here, and yet many people like me have a sense of ownership and possession over our country. If my ancestors hadn't been able to enter New Zealand, like some immigrants aren't allowed to today, then I wouldn't be here. It was the ability of my ancestors, and probably yours, to immigrate to NZ that allowed us to be here now. So how can we be against immigration?
The fact we create borders at our countries and place some sort of criteria over whether someone has the right to step into a country is a form of discrimination as far as I'm concerned. We are all global citizens and our preoccupation with race, ethnicity, religion, abilities, sexual orientation and identity is just a way for the few to rule with a powerful fist and try to ensure their beliefs are the ones that trump the rest. That doesn't sound like equality to me.