Zero tolerance for racism | The Jackal

3 Nov 2012

Zero tolerance for racism

Yesterday, 3 News reported:

Internet safety watchdog Netsafe says it's disturbed by the growing number of racist hate speech pages turning up on social networking sites like Facebook.

The race relations conciliator says Facebook has been slow to respond to complaints, and when one site is taken down another will rear up in its place.

A friend of actor Ian Hughes alerted him to a Facebook page with 9000 followers about things Maori supposedly never say.

The comments, which 3 News has chosen not to show, denigrate Maori education standards, honesty and even cleanliness. Mr Hughes was disgusted.

“It was obviously racist, it was just a site full of all of the sort of nasty preconceptions and all of the worst stuff that's doing nobody any favours.”

Mr Hughes asked Facebook to pull the site, but he, and others, received a standard reply.

So Facebook is just letting these racist sites be published... How despicable! Here's what their generic response to complaints states:

Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

It's likely that they haven't even bothered to look at the page properly. Either that or Facebook admin are as thick as pig shit. They're also wrong! Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities says:

You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.

Claiming that the stupidshitmaorissay page doesn't violate Facebook's terms and conditions is incorrect but largely irrelevant! The racism that's expressed there is clearly discriminatory in nature, and therefore illegal under New Zealand law. The Human Rights Act 1993 states:

63 Racial harassment

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to use language (whether written or spoken), or visual material, or physical behaviour that—
(a) expresses hostility against, or brings into contempt or ridicule, any other person on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that person.

Thankfully the students who set up the initial racist Facebook page come from a school that has an effective policy for dealing with racist cyber-bullies. They have been suspended. Here's a small excerpt of what the Inglewood High School Principal said at their assembly yesterday:

What you do in the privacy of your own homes is your own business. Facebook is a public space. For all the world to see. Not just your supposed ‘friends.’ In 48 hours, the page had over 10,000 visitors. Some of them are sitting in the hall now. Some of you ‘liked’ the page. If you thought it was funny. Think again.

Racism is not funny. Nor is it OK, It’s wrong. It is disrespectful and potentially very hurtful and always says more about the person who is racist than the butt of their comment or so-called joke. Racism makes some people angry, especially if the racism is directed at them or someone they love or know.

Very well said. It's worth reading the entire speech by Miss Mabin.

Unfortunately racism is often published on the Internet... But even more concerning is that it's sometimes published in our most widely read newspapers and magazines as well. While this continues, New Zealand will have a divided society with many deluded people believing in generalizations about other people with different coloured skin. Their misconceived racism ensures that ethnic people are often scapegoated and ostracized. This leads onto the very same dysfunction bigot's use as an excuse to be racist.

People are educated into being racist. It's not a natural condition. Therefore it's imperative that racism within popular media is stamped out. There should be zero tolerance for racism, especially when idiots are trying to publish and promote it. Only then will we ensure the next generation doesn't perpetuate the mistakes of the past. Only then will we have a truly progressive and inclusive society.