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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 10. 24 May 1972

Emerging Brown Proletariat

Emerging Brown Proletariat

At school Maori children are subjected to a monocultural middleclass system of education. This is particularly marked in what I term the 10% suburbs of Mt. Roskill Avondale, Kelston and others. In such schools the Maori minority is small and its needs are disregarded. The children are treated as equal, as brown pakehas. Because their identity as Maoris is not valued and not fostered they become alienated and experience feelings of inadequacy and low morale. Their feelings of alienation are reflected in the fact that 75% of Maori children in these schools have police records. They drop out of school to form gangs to give expression to their identity as Maoris and to meet their needs for fellowship, security and the pursuit of leisure activities. It is during this interstitial period of sub-adulthood that the first and second generation city-born Maoris experience problems with delinquency and the law. They are the emerging brown proletariat who bestow upon themselves exotic names such as Storm troopers, Niggs, Kelston Sharks, Mongrels, Polynesian Panthers and so on.