Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 28 Issue 4 (July/August 2018), Pages 189-289

Psychology, community, and the recovering racist (pages 272-283)

Abstract

This study adds to the tradition of studying race talk in the context of a flash point in biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. The research examined constructions of the Mayor of New Plymouth (Andrew Judd) following his advocacy for extended Māori representation on the New Plymouth District Council. Data comprised reports, editorials, opinion pieces, and letters to the local newspaper immediately after Judd's appearance on a nationally broadcast current affairs television show when he announced the end of his mayoralty. The analysis considered constructions of Judd as both hero and anti‐hero, with complimentary constructions of the local community as racist, or not. In subscribing to the view for extended representation on the grounds of cultural constituency, Judd was variously positioned as culturally and politically naïve, as a hero for the cause for greater political representation for Māori, and an anti‐hero responsible for letting his own community down and bringing negative publicity to the town he was meant to serve. Judd was the target of abuse that prompted him to end his mayoralty, and this abuse stimulated constructions of widespread community racism. The discussion includes an interrogation of what it means to be a recovering racist, and finally, it is argued that the analysis provides further evidence of the sinuousness of racism.

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