Tuesday, September 27, 2011

13 ways of looking at race

 An attempt to write a piece along the lines of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird ...

13 ways of looking at race

1.      One way is looking for my pen before I can write.

2.      Race is black, even when it’s brown.

3.      The opposite of black isn’t white. 
Sometimes it’s brown.

4.      White Michael Jackson.

5.      In New Zealand black is
Maori, Tongan, Fijian, Samoan -
you name it.
Do they all think black?
Do they all look black?
Is that my reflection looking back?

6.      Do I see black when I watch
(a) Sione’s Weddding?
(b) Once were Warriors?
(a) No. 
(b) Yes.

7.      Black is someone’s anger expressed in
news reports, TV reports, negative reports:
“They always...” “Just what you’d expect....”

8.      Black is our national colour,
but not the colour of most of our

9.      No, I am not a colonialist.
No, I am not a chauvinist.
No! I am not a white supremacist.
            Sometimes the man in the mirror is.

10.  The Dominion Council of the
Returned Services Association
has adopted a recommendation
from its Immigration Committee
to reaffirm the policy of
“a white New Zealand”
and express the opinion
that every obstacle should be
placed in the way of
Asiatics entering the Dominion.
Mr C J Dickie, the MP, in
moving the motion, said it applied,
of course, to Hindus and other
Asiatic British subjects, and it was a
serious problem.
Once they were admitted they would
soon overrun the country.[1]

11.  Dear God, don’t let me be like Mr Dickie.
Of course I’d love all people to be white,
just like You are;
was it Your fault You put some
tint in the mix?

12.  I love Maori people.
What choice do I have?
                But I don’t love Muslims.

13.  We’re All Blacks at heart.
Aren’t we?

[1] June 5th, 1926  Otago Daily Times