Racism is a very ugly thing and we rightfully condemn it. One of my pet peeves is when people say `Now, I’m not a racist, but…’ because the next say they say is going to be racist.
It is hard to know what to do about racism; it is an irrational belief and irrational beliefs are difficult to eradicate. Yet, no matter how horrible `mere’ racism is, there some truly terrifying variants of it that seem more conscious than mere irrationality. `Academic’ racism, where some pseudo-history or the like is used to justify the irrational hatred or dislike of another people, now that really horrifies me.
So, what to make of a recent open letter by Dr. Scott Hamilton to the editor of the Franklin E Local? In it Scott takes to task Mykeljon Winckel for not only endorsing a thesis that a Celtic people colonised Aotearoa before the Maori but that the Maori came in, raped and pillaged this first people, and then have engaged, with the academic community, in a conspiracy to hide the true history of this country?
My BA is a double-major in Philosophy and Anthropology, specifically Archaeology and I was, at one stage, pretty far advanced on a thesis proposal for examining, in re the epistemology, how archaeological explanations actually work. Whilst working on my undergraduate degree I heard about Barry Brailsford and his controversial history of the Waitaha. I read a number of books on supposed pre-cursor peoples to the Maori in New Zealand. Not because I thought there was much to them but because I was fascinated by how people could believe such wildly improbable things.
I’ve long wanted to write something substantial on alternative histories, using New Zealand as an example. The Franklin E Local issue has rammed home the need for such a work. In lieu of stopping work on the thesis and moving on to project two right now I’ve taken the opportunity to interview Scott for the `Dentith Files’ this Sunday (sometime between 11 and 12pm, 30th of November). It’s a rather quick twenty minute overview of some of the points raised in the Franklin E Local material; it’s also rather a shame that listeners didn’t get to listen to the other hour and an half of discussion we had outside the recording booth because it was rather helpful in sorting out a range of problems with the Celtic Thesis, as well as allowing us to draw some rather startling parallels to other suspicious alternative `histories’ from around the world.