It’s been a busy week in the midst of which I (like many of you I’m sure) found myself growling in my head and to friends about The Dom Post’s racist reporting in relation to road naming in Kāpiti. If you managed to miss this issue then read this to get up to speed.
Racism is a Pākehā problem and responding to racism is a Pākehā responsibility. Here are three actions I’m taking in response:
Complain: Most of the Pākehā media are signed up members of the Press Council, who in the preamble to their principles state:
“The Press Council endorses the principles and spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi and Bill of Rights Act, without sacrificing the imperative of publishing news and reports that are in the public interest.”
Obviously it’s not in spirit of the Treaty or in the public interest to report (on the front page of a major newspaper no-less) the views of two individuals on an issue they have absolutely no understanding of, views which are deeply offensive. This type of reporting is not seen as acceptable by the media in other areas. As Aaron Smale clearly explains, it’s the institutional racism within Pākehā media that means that the Dom Post thinks it is okay to run this story. They obviously haven’t worked out that they are not upholding the principles they are signed up to, so they need to be told this – by you!
The Press Council requires you to complain directly to the media source first and then to follow up with the Council if the response is inadequate. You have got a month to lay the first complaint. So if you haven’t acted yet, read Aaron Smale’s article for background (it includes the link to the original article), then have a read of the Press Council principles and use them as the basis of your complaint to the editor of the Dom Post.
Praise: When you support an action or approach that a group or organisation is taking, then let them know. This is a simple everyday action, and a particularly important one when the organisation is being publicly criticised for their stance. There are lots of ways to do this, both formally and informally. In the Kāpiti case, I’d suggest contacting Kāpiti Coast District Council via phone, email or their Facebook page. Make sure you ask them to record your support for the proposed names and to share your feedback with tangata whenua involved in this process (as they are the people being directly attacked by these racist statements).
Read (Māori media): The racist reporting in mainstream Pākehā media isn’t always as overt as it was in this week’s article, however it is always there, both in what is reported and what isn’t. There is heaps of evidence to show that. If you are feeling over it, then a simple and pleasurable alternative is to read the non-racist media. Load the Māori TV app on your phone, buy Mana magazine, listen to iwi radio. Fill your mind and heart by reading the awesome articles on e-Tangata (and if you are in the position too also support their work in an on-going way).
Anytime you find yourself angrily growling at the racism of Pākehā media remember to apply CPR (Complain, Praise, Read) – vent your anger, express your support, and reward yourself with a cuppa and a healthy dose of Māori media.