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Truth or racism?

Is it racist to acknowledge that a particular race is wildly over represented in a negative area?

Just watching the debate over here about abuse and often eventual death of kiwi children at the hands of their parents and/or caregivers/whanau... Overwhelmingly the ones who die, or end up almost dead like Nia, are Maori. There are a lot of people crying "This isn't a Maori problem" and I understand what they're saying - that it's more related to poverty and a history of bad parenting - but it seems to me that the maybe Maori do need to wonder why it's always the brown kid who dies, y'know?

I dunno. I can sympathise with a parent, being under stress, losing control - I feel for Andrea Yates, for example - but getting your jollies out of hurting a child... and it happens so fucking often... what the hell is going on, and why can't we talk about it without some hijack into how it's *society's* fault?
Permalink Ms. WsV 
July 30th, 2007 2:04pm
I dunno.  Good question.  I guess it becomes the problem of society when you can't walk out your front door without a shotgun in hand.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 30th, 2007 2:05pm
I think you need to look at the statistics, and if it's truely more common in certain race, and it's not racism.

But just look the the news reports can just reconfirm their biases.
Permalink Rick Zeng 
July 30th, 2007 2:06pm
Context please.  Nia, Maori, wtf.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 30th, 2007 2:06pm
Wtf?

Obviously, without research, they are aboriginals.
Permalink Rick Zeng 
July 30th, 2007 2:07pm
Who needs context. It's Bush's fault.
Permalink heartsheep 
July 30th, 2007 2:08pm
And people are using them for footballs or something?  Presumably their parents, or casual strangers who like to drive into town, kick the snot out of aboriginal kid, and bolt?
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
July 30th, 2007 2:09pm
This is how racism starts. Inability to understand that there is such a thing as an indirect cause.

Black -> poor -> violent

is translated to

black -> violent
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 30th, 2007 2:10pm
Who said Maori are black? They can't run for squat.
Permalink heartsheep 
July 30th, 2007 2:11pm
That's because they don't have TVs to steal.  If they had a decent TV to steal, they'd learn to run very quickly.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
July 30th, 2007 2:19pm
The context is the story last week about a three-year-old who'd been left with her 17-year old cousins, who went on to neglect the child something awful.

And the Maori connection is that this happened in New Zealand or somewhere around there, and the people involved were Maori (which you can kind of tell by the surnames involved).
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
July 30th, 2007 2:20pm
poor -> violent

does not follow any causal link.
Permalink Send private email bon vivant 
July 30th, 2007 2:22pm
"The context is the story last week about a three-year-old who'd been left with her 17-year old cousins, who went on to neglect the child something awful."

They didn't just neglect her, they overtly abused her to the point of brain damage.
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
July 30th, 2007 2:23pm
Fair enough.  "went on to abuse and neglect her to the point of brain damage."
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
July 30th, 2007 2:24pm
Well, you can tell if you're familiar with Maori surnames.  Here we'd just assume first generation immigrants from some strange county we can't find on a map.

But yeah, I can see just how well leaving a child with a couple of seventeen year olds is going to work out.  Having a 16 year old around the house myself, and knowing his ability to stay focused on one subject for more than 30 seconds, I figure that it's a no brainer that the baby is dead.  Two 17 year olds together, I doubt they even knew there was a baby in the house.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
July 30th, 2007 2:25pm
Btw, PE likes to rant about abuses by foster parents.
Permalink Rick Zeng 
July 30th, 2007 2:26pm
About Nia and her abuse:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=124&objectid=10454501

Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, Pakeha are white New Zealanders (technically 'Pakeha' means 'not Maori' but it's used solely to describe whites). The case happened in New Zealand. Those involved all have Maori names, and have been identified as Maori.

Nia is just the latest in a long string of dead or seriously injured New Zealand (and usually Maori, or part Maori) children. I'm certainly not claiming any racial superitority here - I'm Pakeha and my Dad was abused horribly by both his parents - but it happens a hell of a lot in Maori families. Poverty can be a contributing factor, but my folks aren't well off, Dad's background was awful, Mum's was dysfunctional - but they didn't abuse us kids, and we were never left with anyone who would.
Permalink Ms. WsV 
July 30th, 2007 2:34pm
" Having a 16 year old around the house myself, and knowing his ability to stay focused on one subject for more than 30 seconds, I figure that it's a no brainer that the baby is dead.  Two 17 year olds together, I doubt they even knew there was a baby in the house."

Yeah, but - what kinda kid gets a thrill out of hurting a baby? Even at their most narcisistic (sp?) a normal teen wouldn't want to.
Permalink Ms. WsV 
July 30th, 2007 2:37pm
People who didn't read the original article are thinking this is a case of neglect.  It is not.  It is a case of abuse.  The baby was physically abused, put up on a roof, swung around a clothesline, and other sadistic activities.  It wasn't simply a case of they didn't feed her enough out of stupidity or something like that.  These people went out of their way to torture this kid.
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
July 30th, 2007 3:14pm
I keeping with my desire to remain blissfully ignorant, I assume that they are just too stupid to realize that you can't play 'Gumby goes to the circus' with a baby and expect good results. So sadism/cruelty not so much, just pure, unadulterated idiocy.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
July 30th, 2007 3:21pm
"So sadism/cruelty not so much, just pure, unadulterated idiocy."

What about when she starts to scream in fear? What about when she starts to scream in pain?

I know I feel this too deeply. Our two are almost Nia's age: I bawled like a baby myself when I saw the story on telly. But honestly - once she starts to react, it's sadism and cruelty all the way. And it's not fucking acceptable.
Permalink Ms. WsV 
July 30th, 2007 3:30pm
they put the baby IN A CLOTHES DRYER.  this is not stupidity, this is cruelty.
Permalink the great purple 
July 30th, 2007 3:32pm
No, it isn't. I don't mean to be callous in my levity. Just the best way to deal with it as it doesn't tempt me to take a vacation half way round the world and go all vigilante.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
July 30th, 2007 3:33pm
Ah, so what you really need is a policy of "ain't noone going to jail for torturing a maori baby."  Except that it doesn't really solve much, since that was the attitude of a lot of U.S. police departments to black crime.  And that's worked out so well for us, with those lovely inner cities.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
July 30th, 2007 4:30pm
Sorry JoC. Just this comming on the backs of the Northern Territories/Aboriginal debate in Aussie - it makes me wonder why it's ok for activists to make political capital out of these situations, when we'd slam a politican for doing the same.
Permalink Ms. WsV 
July 30th, 2007 4:42pm
"it happens a hell of a lot in Maori families"

It's possible that that's a conclusion that comes from media bias. Is Maori abuse a meme that improves news ratings and thus is reinforced? What is the rate of white vs Maori abuse? How about of whites in the same area and financial situation?

In the US, horrific abuse cases seem to most commonly involve poor white evangelical christians. But in my personal knowledge, the most damaging abuse I know of happened in middle class and wealthy families, where the abusive parents have much better resources to cover it all up and can perpetrate the abuse that much longer.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 30th, 2007 5:20pm
Also, for reference, the stories from my parents and grandparents about their own 'discipline' growing up would be considered horrific and sadistic abuse and be covered far and wide. But back then, it was what EVERYBODY did to their kids. Nowadays it is only done in countries with Sharia law, or Marxist regimes, or is Singapore (strange exception).

Ever been whipped with a thorny rose switch until you pass out from loss of blood from the torn strips of skin on your back? to hear about this story, track down your grandparents and ask.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 30th, 2007 5:24pm
"It's possible that that's a conclusion that comes from media bias. Is Maori abuse a meme that improves news ratings and thus is reinforced? What is the rate of white vs Maori abuse? How about of whites in the same area and financial situation? "

its a good point and media bias is, as always, a possibility. 
Im inclined to believe that maori are over represented in the child abuse stats simply because they are pretty much over represented in all the other stats...problem gamblers, prison, drinking problems, violence, spousal abuse, theft and so forth.
they are something like 8% of the population and make up something like 40% of prison inmates.

...and the problem, as always, is related as much to how they see themselves as how they are treated by others...

bloody so-called warrior races.
Permalink pondBacterium 
July 30th, 2007 5:55pm
"how they see themselves as how they are treated by others"

That's a powerful statement.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 30th, 2007 11:13pm
In North America, it's not racism as long as you are not talking the chosen freaking ones!
Permalink Dan Denman 
July 31st, 2007 12:34am
------"Nowadays it is only done in countries with Sharia law, or Marxist regimes, or is Singapore (strange exception).
"-----

Not parents with kids. I have never heard of a Saudi physically punishing his children (there are cases of teachers hitting the children in their care though that is illegal).
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
July 31st, 2007 9:05am

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