- Taylor-Rose Terekia
Vic Deals Page Archived After Complaints of Racism and Censoring of Indigenous Voices
The Wellington community Facebook page, ’Vic Deals’, was temporarily shut down following complaints that the administrators of the site were harbouring discrimination and silencing group members.
Last Friday, a previous member of the group, Safari Hynes, shared a post addressing colonisation within Aotearoa New Zealand which included the following:
“Pākehā people imagine tomorrow: I replace your Gregorian calendar, your idea of time, your system of social organisation with what I want.”
“I replace your arts, language, your system of expressing your world view with what I want.”
“I take your land, your lives and your power. This is colonisation.”
By Sunday, Hynes’ original post had been deleted by the admin team and he was consequently blocked from the group.
In response, Hynes said, “My post asked Pākehā people to imagine what colonisation would look like if it were to happen today to them. There were no negative comments. We found out that it had been removed and I had been blocked.”
“[Vic Deals] approve posts that are explicitly racist and you're saying we broke the rules. You didn't ask us to remove a part of our post, nor explain how it breached your rules.”
“It was just a flat out removal.”
Following this, many members of the group were outraged and in response began reposting Hynes post and vocally expressing frustrations around the reason for members like Hynes being removed.
Salient and Te Pararē spoke to previous Vic Deals member Kirihika Stewart.
In response to the banning of members, particularly BIPOCs Stewart said, “The key things that have been upsetting to see is the lack of allies and toxic culture that they let manifest.”
“There is no support for those who are getting attacked for (at most times) racial issues. Māori / Pasifika (poc in general) are constantly silenced.”
One member, Jaymie Brown also posted on the site saying- “WHAT ISN’T WHOLESOME IS VIC DEALS TRYING TO SILENCE MĀORI AND OTHER POC’S VOICES.”
Consequently, Brown, along with many members who spoke out, was also blocked by the administration team.
Worldwide, acknowledgement of racism and inequality has been prevalent within the last couple of weeks following the death of U.S man, George Floyd.
Since Floyd’s death, global participation in marches, boycotts and non-violent protests have had a ripple effect and have since caused many to speak out and “call out” racial oppression and injustice.
Luhama Tau’alupe shared information about a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Zoom discussion that was being hosted this coming Sunday, but that too was also deleted.
Vic Deals’ administration did not respond to any requests for comment. However, over the past few days, prior to shutting down, the admins made changes to their rules and restrictions.
These included the ban of political debate or discussion, articles from any news outlet, and posts that are against NZ law.
Accompanying this the admin team also shared that “All bans are lifetime.”
The admin team also shared a post in response to the backlash from deleting and blocking members' content. The post read , “If you find your post isn’t allowed on Vic Deals it’s because we have rules and Facebook has rules.”
“Posts that incite hatred and encourage legal activity (regardless of your views) are against the law. Hate speech is against the law.”
“So when your post is declined, it’s usually because it’s against our rules and also Facebook’s rules”.
As a way of moving forward and resolving the situation Stewart said, “I think they (Vic Deals) need to say they were wrong, acknowledged the hurt they've caused and the toxic culture they have created.”
“When someone new comes to wellington (especially students) half of the time they tell you to hop on vic deals, how many young māori see vic deals and perceive wellington like this.”
“I believe they should delete the page, and if they don't want to delete their page, they should disband their admins and turn their page into a community page not a business.”
Following these occurrences, Hynes opted to begin a new community page ‘Dic Veals’ which was opened on Sunday.
Members would be able to maintain safe and “mana-enhancing” discussion.
The page has since gathered over 6K members so far.
“We decided to create [Dic Veals] because we wanted to create a platform for everyone that had been alienated from this page, without any discussion of why.”
“It is for people to be able to have free and open conversations that are respectful, without having to deal with racism.”
“If our vision is strong enough, they'll go to the page that more aligns with their vision as a person.”
Editors’ note: At the time of publication, the Vic Deals page has been reactivated for approximately, with users posting as normal.
He Kupu Mō Ngā Kaituhi:
Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Ngāti Porou & Kāi Tahu | she / her
Te Pararē Editor
Te Aorewa Rolleston
Ngāi te Rangi & Ngāti Ranginui | she/her
Salient Co News Editor
Image Credit: Miss Tino