Key focus of session: to gather stories of how easy or hard it is to live in New Zealand in your culture. Exploring the connections between cultural dominance, cultural exclusion and poverty
Here are some of the words that are used to describe poverty: Shrivel, frustration, hopelessness etc. Cultural privilege can be invisible, especially to people who have it. The invisible knapsack of conferred cultural privilege or ethnic advantage was described by Peggy McIntosh. James Baldwin says “The biggest problem with white or cultural privilege is the invisibility that it maintains to those who benefit most from it, including the inability to recognise that privilege and advantage are the direct results of the disadvantages of other people.”For many culturally privileged people it is possible to live without ever seeing the privilege that they experience. At various times and places in their lives people experience both poverty and privilege. The dominant way in which things are done in Aotearoa are underpinned by aspects of what might be called dominant group culture – the dominant way work, income, housing, welfare are organised reflects aspects of dominant culture. Neville Robertson’s story: “I went to school where the teachers looked pretty much like me. And they taught me about writers, military heroes, political leaders and scientists who looked pretty much like me…all my working life I have been hired by people who look like me. No-one ever patronised me by telling me that I was a credit to my race… Truth is, I’ve been cut quite a lot of slack in my time.”Making cultural privilege visible is important work in social change.
This workshop is about busting the myth that people are to blame for their poverty is a myth. We have been taught to believe that competitive individuals, who have educated themselves well, will compete to bring out the best in themselves and thus for 'the economy' ... lazy people or those who have wasted their opportunities will do less well... However, it is not a level playing field our there. Cultural discrimination is part of this story. This forum is about describing the connections between cultural exclusion, privilege and poverty.Poverty and privilege are structurally created. Our goal is to advocate for more just, inclusive social polices and arrangements along with a developed understanding of how living in NZ is experienced by each of us.
Poverty goes back in time. Thepoverty people talkabout is not always new or recent poverty but rather it is traced to patterns of settlement as the colony of New Zealand was being established. The playing field has never been as equal as we might like to think. Land ownership and confiscation. The early years of Pākehā settlement and in particular the confiscation and transfer of land from Māori post the 1860s New Zealand land wars have had a significant lasting effect on Māori prosperity throughout the greater Waikato and Hauraki regions. As one participant explained: Pākehā subdivided Maori land, and took away the Māori resource base. Māori access to kai was taken away. The advice of Kaumātua was to not tell Pākehā where the food sources were, as then it may be taken away and you will have nothing to feed your family – this had been the experience of how Pākehā had acted when learning of food sources. Land loss has had a huge impact on Māori whānau who were living off the land. Poverty is about what has been taken away, it’s about what has been lost. (Thames, Hauraki) There are many myths or stories that are told that in some ways keep things the way they are . For example, the myth that “we are all one people” and the belief that “NZ had the best race relations in the world.” In our conversations with people in the social service sector these myths were questioned with examples of how dominant group can exclude diverse cultural voices. For example, and has been highlighted by the Humans Rights Commission, there are very few Maori on local councils, and in some areas very few employed by councils. Poverty has a cultural history and many structural underpinnings. These ideas are described further in our report: Talking about poverty: reporting back and moving forward. May 2011.
The prioritisingof career and money was described by one of our research participants as western and in this we can see the ways in which dominant economic activities have a cultural dimension - or we might say are part of dominant culture including the ways work, family, education, welfare…are largely structured in New Zealand. In this quote the speaker recongnisesthe need for her children to 'succeed' in the capitalist world before they can consider coming 'back' to challenge it perhaps:My kids will come back home one day and make a difference. Right now they are not ready. Right now my children are living in the western world and are earning the big money. There focus is on their careers, on getting educated and getting jobs. They have been educated in a Pākehā system. When my daughter is 40 she will come back. (Thames, Hauraki) There are cultural values in our economic arrangements and it is important to recognise these. In more unequal societies racial discrimination and violence increase. Economic inequality is not good for any of us. The values of dominant culture and the values of capitalism appear to go somewhat hand in hand. Dominant culture and values underpin our dominant economic activities. Dominant culture suggests that people who are lazy will be poor and that people who work hard will be rewarded. However it is not an equal playing field. Some people are affected by various structural discriminations and disadvantages while others are advantaged. We want to hear stories that speak to these realities. We are about busting the myth that says that if you are poor it is your fault. At Poverty Action Waikato we question the dominant economic arrangements and the inequality and lack of justice that appears to be present in this model.
Living in New Zealand in your culture, poverty and cultural privilege
Living in New Zealand in your culture:<br />Poverty and cultural privilege<br />A forum hosted by Poverty Action Waikato <br />Outside<br />Inside<br />Exclusion<br />Inclusion<br />Out-group<br />In-group<br />Talking together about how easy or hard it is to live in New Zealand in your culture?<br />
Poverty <br />one word that symbolises poverty and inequality for you<br />
Privilege<br />Poverty<br />Shrivel, frustration, hopelessness, dependency, injustice, desperate, trapped, stench, abandoned, chains, unemployment, trickle down, temptation to crime, pain, hunger, merry-go-round, welfare, powerlessness, ill health, disadvantage, state house, no house, broken, broke, cold, losing, children, alone, ill health, disadvantage, worthless, despair, illiteracy, frightened, disenfranchised, misunderstood, lost, sad, unfair, nothing, dirty, rejection, suicide, I’ve had enough, sense of inadequacy, why? <br />The invisible knapsack<br />
“If you are poor it is your fault..”<br />….Yeah right!!<br />Poverty and Privilege <br />are structurally created<br />
History and intercultural relations<br />“Land loss has had a huge impact on Māori whānau who were living off the land. Poverty is about what has been taken away, it’s about what has been lost…” Thames, Hauraki<br />
The Market Economy<br />“My kids will come back home one day and make a difference. Right now they are not ready. Right now my children are living in the western world and are earning the big money. Their focus is on their careers, on getting educated and getting jobs. They have been educated in a Pākehā system. When my daughter is 40 she will come back.”Thames, Hauraki <br />Capitalism<br />Dominant culture<br />
Sharing stories<br />Tell us about your experience/s of how easy or hard it is to live in New Zealand in your culture<br />We are asking you to share your stories today so that we can advocate for social change. We will not include any personal names in our reporting or advocacy. However, cultural groups will be named in general terms. We will check again at the end of the session your consent for telling these stories in our advocacy. <br />
Concepts of culture<br />Culture can be understood as the way in which a group of people live together: <br />the way they socialise; <br />the food they grow, prepare, and eat; <br />the location – geography, climate, community, and neighbourhood in which they live; <br />the work that is available and who does different forms of work; <br />the systems of law, education and religion; and <br />the beliefs and ways of thinking about the world they live in and the world outside.<br />Culture informs the daily lives of people. <br />Culture is the framework for how people live their lives or come to understand the world about them (Black, 2010, p. 18-19). <br />
Ongoing conversations for social change<br />We see this conversation today as an ongoing conversation full of many complexities <br />Please contact us if you would like to tell us more about your experience/s of how easy or hard it is to live in New Zealand in your culture<br />Contact details: <br />Poverty Action Waikato, Anna Cox and Dr Rose Black<br />(07) 856 5820, email@example.com<br />