Monday, May 08, 2006

Where's Rosa Parks when you need her?

It's delicious when the politically correct are at loggerheads with the politically correct. Judith Collins's and Anne Tolley's refusal to sit at the back for a powhiri to celebrate the opening of a CYFS facility has brought all of the PC suspects out of the thickets to defend the blatant sexism they would normally find indefensible.

"The women's behaviour was 'a disgraceful display'" said Labour MP Georgina Beyer, who apparently objects to anyone having the temerity to criticise what clearly needs criticising -- as does the overly-sensitive kaumatua who "scolded" and abused his female guests for daring to take a seat at the front. What a nonsense. Why shouldn't blatant nonsense be rejected, and protested? What makes Maori protocal immune from criticism? Would Georgina have told Rosa Parks to get to the back of the bus if there was a 'culturally safe' sing-song going on up front? Impose whatever rules you like in your own house, but don't have them forced on others in taxpaid facilities.

There is no reason in any case that particular cultural practices should be immune to criticism. As Thomas Sowell argues in his book Conquests & Cultures:
Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives. The judgment that matters it not the judgment of observers and theorists, but the judgment implicit in millions of individual decisions to retain or abandon particular cultural practices, decisions made by those who personally benefit or who personally pay the price of inefficiency and obsolescence. That price is not always paid in money but may range from inconveniences to death.
Here's the most ludicrous defence of the idea that women should sit at the back of the room so as not to insult the terminally sensitive: "It's not denigrating women, it's protecting them." That's like saying being forced to wear a burqa makes you sexy, isn't it?

At least Collins and Tolley had the gumption to walk out, rather than sitting there blubbing as Helen Clark did in similar circumstances at Waitangi a few years ago. Will Collins be holding hands with Hone Harawira's mum next time she goes to a powhiri?
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LINKS: Quotes from Conquests & Cultures - Thomas Sowell
Capitalism is colour-blind - Not PC
Female MP defends breach of marae protocol - Stuff
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TAGS: Politics-NZ, Maoritanga, Multiculturalism, Political_Correctness, Racism, Sexism

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