Presentation to the Bio-Engineering Institute

By Associate Professor Elizabeth Rata

Race Politics in the University and the Effects on Knowledge

This afternoon I ask three questions about race and the university. They are: Has a racial ideology become included in the university’s structures and operations? If so, how did it happen? What are the consequences for knowledge creation and research ethics?

The fact that I can ask them is guaranteed by two clauses in the Education Amendment Act 1989. Section 162 (4)(a)(v), commonly known as the ‘critic and conscience role’ and section 161(2)(a) – the academic freedom clause: “The freedom of academic staff and students, within the law, to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state controversial and unpopular opinions” (section 161(2)(a).

That such democratic ideals are in our legislation is something of which all New Zealanders can be justly proud. It is truly democracy in action. Imagine Gallileo or Spinoza or even Darwin in more recent times having such protection?

The relationship of knowledge to power is a constant tension in a democracy. It takes two forms. There is ‘powerful knowledge’ which seeks to explain the world using a discipline’s generative principles and concepts and is authorised by the discipline’s rules and procedures.

There is also the ‘knowledge of the powerful’ – ideologies that promote the beliefs and interests of various elite groups. The authority for this form of knowledge is the power of the group to control what is to be believed.

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7 thoughts on “Race Politics in the University and the Effects on Knowledge

  1. Re: Race Politics in the University and the effects on Knowledge.
    It has taken a long time (20 years)but Elizabeth Ratas pro-democracy stand has begun to restore my notion of academic integrity. Thanks for publishing Elizabeth’s presentation.

  2. I taught in the tertiary sector for nearly 30 years, retiring 20 years ago. Even then, the differences between Maori and non-Maori standards expected and the rorts utilised by the departments concerned were absolutely disgusting.

  3. Have just read in the Herald that Aucklands Kelston Intermediate schools teachers have called the union in about reciting a karakia every morning in assembly, then again in class before they start, and! at the end of the day,i hope union stands its ground, from what i have read they are as brainwashed as the children, very brave of the teachers though.

  4. The beginning of racism is the perpetuation of ‘Race Conciousness’. You can sit among another ethnic group, without any timidities of the pc-ilk omnipotence… Until they start the pseudo-expetise of ‘Pointing It Out’ to you and all and sundry. And these race-omniscients have the gall to unaware that this white man, has, unlike them… lived, exclusively with another race ! spoke their language, ate their foods, wore their clothes, went native so to speak… But that means nothing to the sad, uterior motives of the race-obsessed Greeny types.

  5. this racism has gone on for far too long Ross and we need to all come together,promote this new party and make a stand.I find myself talking to all i come across about 1LAW4All

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