Friday, October 14, 2005

When will Frank Haden support the rights of women?

When he sees an opportunity to bash Maori of course.

Josie Bullock, a corrections officer, was fired a couple of days ago for talking to the media about a complaint she’d made about a warning she’d received for refusing to sit at the back of a graduation ceremony for inmates who had participated in an anti-violence programme. I think this is supposed to be the sort of thing that the Right eats up with a spoon while shouting 'they're fighting each other, they're fight each other', while vague liberals wring their hands anxiously about the whole thing. But I don't actually think the specifics of this case are that complicated.

First of all I don’t think she should have been fired for speaking to the media. Employers don’t actually buy a person lock stock and barrel when they decide to pay them a weekly pittance for their labour.

As for the rest I think that context is important – I don’t really support prisons existing (and before you disagree go read Jessica Mitford’s Kind and Usual Punishment – or commit some kind of crime and experience prison – then get back to me). I’m not going to be turning cartwheels about anything the prison system do. The prison system is about control. The idea that the Corrections department is some careful guadian of Tikanga is ridiculous, when the tremendous racism of the entire justice system is considered. This is not a situation of culture and self-determination of different groups in conflict. The corrections department aspires for total control in prison and objected when one of it's employees challenged that (if it had been a prisoner who had challenged that control then the punishment would have probably been swifter and harsher). To me this sort of action by government departments is the same as writing the "principles of the treaty" into legislation rather than any meaningful idea of Tino Rangatiratanga - and lefties shouldn't be afraid of rejecting it.

There’s also something a little creepy about insisting women go to the back at the graduation of an anti-violence seminar. A fragile sense of masculinity – an idea that catching girl germs must be avoided at all costs - is a huge part not just of male on female violence, but also male on male violence, as men use machoism to prove themselves.

So to recap a union organiser/lefty doesn't believe someone should have been fired and thinks prisons sucks - breaking news huh?

Also I hate Frank Haden: "We should also remember that it was cultural differences that got many of Bullock's violent offenders into trouble. Their spiritual values gave them the idea that the law doesn't apply to them because they are the victims of institutional colonialism, or whatever the latest excuse is for bad behaviour."

Yes it's those of us who occasionally draw attention to the affect of New Zealand's past on the present who are responsible for the things we point out. If we just kept our big mouths shut no one would notice colonialism and poverty, and therefore we'd all grow up to be grumpy middle-class white men like Frank Haden, and there would be no crime ever.

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