Plea for un­der­stand­ing and thought

For a closer com­mu­nity

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION - KIL­IAN DE LACY

As we all try to re­cover from the shocks na­ture has flung at us dur­ing the past weeks, it is in­ter­est­ing to re­flect on the work­ings of the hu­man mind, and how eas­ily prej­u­dice can colour our think­ing and judge­ments.

For in­stance, while I tried to get my mind around the trauma suf­fered by peo­ple in Christchurch dur­ing the big earth­quake and the sub­se­quent af­ter­shocks, I couldn’t help feel­ing dis­gusted by those who tried to take ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion by en­ter­ing dam­aged prop­er­ties to see what they could steal.

Many of us white mid­dle-class cit­i­zens would au­to­mat­i­cally con­clude that such felons were brown, tat­tooed and of the lower so­cio-eco­nomic class. But no! When the first of these loot­ers came to court, it was re­vealed they were white, not chil­dren, and, I would guess, not ex­actly poverty-stricken.

So what gets into the minds of such peo­ple who think it is okay to help them­selves to oth­ers’ prop­erty? Do they have a grudge against those who have worked hard to build up a busi­ness? Do they get a kick out of do­ing some­thing il­le­gal just for the fun of it?

Do they feel they have a right to take what­ever they can lay their hands on, even if it is spe­cialised equip­ment for dis­abled young­sters?

For most of us who tend not to do these things, it is im­pos­si­ble to un­der­stand. We were brought up with the no­tion that other peo­ple’s prop­erty was sa­cred and we could not just help our­selves to it. Our ver­sion of moral­ity ap­pears light years away from what per­tains to­day.

So where is all this lead­ing? Just to a plea not to give in to our per­sonal as­sump­tions and prej­u­dices in our deal­ings with those we don’t un­der­stand.

Re­cently, Grey Power in Napier in­vited two mem­bers of Black Power to come and ad­dress their meet­ing. Now, I am sure many peo­ple would think, ‘‘But they’re all crim­i­nals. We don’t want to hear from them.’’

How­ever, as Napier mem­bers found, they are ac­tu­ally hu­man be­ings, re­gard­less of the re­galia and the tat­toos and the like. And, like other hu­man be­ings, they have chil­dren and ex­tended fam­i­lies. They have am­bi­tions for their kids, just like other par­ents.

As Charles Colton wrote in 1825, ‘‘ We hate some per­sons be­cause we do not know them, and we will not know them be­cause we hate them.’’

I would re­ally like to see an ap­proach sim­i­lar to that of Napier Grey Power made here in our lit­tle city. Porirua is a mul­ti­fac­eted com­mu­nity and we Grey Power mem­bers are only one facet, just as gangs are an­other facet. If we made the ef­fort to un­der­stand one an­other in­stead of al­low­ing our prej­u­dices to rule us, surely our com­mu­nity would be much safer.

If we talk to, and lis­ten to each other, surely a ba­sis of re­spect and un­der­stand­ing is laid. I shall con­tinue to dream. Last month, we were sup­posed to hear from MP Sue Kedge­ley, but she was de­tained in Christchurch fol­low­ing the earth­quake, so the co-leader of the Green Party, Rus­sel Nor­man, joined us in­stead. He had some very in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tions to make on the path New Zealand is fol­low­ing eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally at the moment.

This month, Peter Dunne will ad­dress us. As Min­is­ter of Rev­enue, he should be able to en­lighten us on some of the burn­ing is­sues which oc­cupy our minds now that all our pur­chases are bur­dened with both the ETS and the GST in­crease. Save up some curly ques­tions and take the op­por­tu­nity to pose them.

Date: Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 12. Time: 1.30pm. Venue: The Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Porirua. Con­tact: Helen Grif­fith Phone: 236 0112.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.