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Poll: Allowing Kava at the Multicultural Festival?

By johnboy 16 February 2011 26

The Canberra Times has a piece on some hurt feelings in the Pacific Islander Community after their drop of choice, kava, was banned from the Multicultural Festival:

Tongan community leader Siosiua Lafitani Tofua’ipangai said it was discriminatory for authorities to permit the sale and consumption of alcohol at events such as the festival but not permit the consumption of kava.

”It’s like the Government is saying this stuff of the white community or society is okay. This stuff of the black community is no good,” Mr Tofua’ipangai said.

”That’s the message that we got from here.”

Given that kava can only be imported in personal luggage 2kg at a time someone had given up their personal stash to share with the community, so it’s a big step to throw that back in their faces.

Sensible health precaution or just racist?

Kava at the Multicultural Festival

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26 Responses to
Poll: Allowing Kava at the Multicultural Festival?
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p1 6:01 pm 28 Feb 11

Pommy bastard said :

“effecting” = to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen.

The most commonly made grammatical error in all my posts.

Pommy bastard 5:23 pm 28 Feb 11

p1 said :

ainira said :

Kava is banned in Europe and the USA as well. Are they racist too?

Well, yes. But that is something else entirely.

The question of whether a policy is “racist” when its end result effects one specific racial group more then others (even when the law applies to everyone), is a question I have heard before. If currently 99 per cent of kava in Australia is consumed by Islanders, then it is clearly effecting Islanders more then the rest of the community. Is this a racist policy?

Pet peave alert!

“effecting” = to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen.

CLooLoo 4:49 pm 28 Feb 11

I think it’s crazy to say that it’s banned due to racist or discrimination reasons, but more likely that it’s banned because it isn’t commercially sold or distributed so the Gov’t doesn’t really know what’s actually in it. If they allowed it and then someone had a bad reaction, as per the Gov’t advisory listed by Rawhide Kid, then they sue the Gov’t and then we all pay for it in our taxes! Why do people have to always make everything about racism?

mzih8u 9:20 am 17 Feb 11

What’s the point of multicultral festival if you can’t share your culture? Last year they had Kava there and there were no problems? It’s stupid banning it suddenly on Saturday. The organisers knew they would be having it prior to the day and suddenly they aren’t allowed to have it. They werent selling it, people were giving a donation if they wanted to but they didn’t ask for it. I’d much rather have my husband in there drinking Kava sharing his culture with people than have him drunk walking through Civic with people assuming the worst of him.

Drew9 8:22 pm 16 Feb 11

If you want to drink Kava, go back to Tonga, sunshine! If you want to live in Australia – no kava for you! Sorry about that “bro”….

p1 6:01 pm 16 Feb 11

Erg0 said :

For that matter, are we discriminating against Americans by restricting their ability to own handguns in Australia?

My point was that there is a massive grey area between your example and saying we are going to ban caste marks on women’s foreheads. Just because such a law might be applied to the whole population would not detract from it’s unfair impact of Hindus.

The validity of the stated reason would have to be the measure I think. Personally I don’t know much about kava, but I assume the health authorities consider it to be a significant risk to people, yet make allowances for cultural use because they know the small numbers of users in the population will never produce the kinda stats to cause public outcry.

Once again though, if the stuff is legal for select people to use within culturally relevant situations, then surely a festival dedicated to celebrating that culture would be such a time?

Erg0 4:42 pm 16 Feb 11

p1 said :

The question of whether a policy is “racist” when its end result effects one specific racial group more then others (even when the law applies to everyone), is a question I have heard before. If currently 99 per cent of kava in Australia is consumed by Islanders, then it is clearly effecting Islanders more then the rest of the community. Is this a racist policy?

Facetious example: Greece has the highest rate of cigarette consumption in the world, followed closely by large sections of Eastern Europe. Are anti-smoking laws an example of racism against these nationalities?

For that matter, are we discriminating against Americans by restricting their ability to own handguns in Australia?

It’s obviously not a simple question to answer, but if the policy has genuinely been formulated on public health grounds then it’s hard to argue that it’s racist, regardless of who it impacts the most.

buzz819 4:14 pm 16 Feb 11

p1 said :

ainira said :

Kava is banned in Europe and the USA as well. Are they racist too?

Well, yes. But that is something else entirely.

The question of whether a policy is “racist” when its end result effects one specific racial group more then others (even when the law applies to everyone), is a question I have heard before. If currently 99 per cent of kava in Australia is consumed by Islanders, then it is clearly effecting Islanders more then the rest of the community. Is this a racist policy?

Umm no.

Kava is a prohibited substance, you need an exemption to import it, part of the exemption is for cultural festivities. That being said, one would think that you’d have to be part of the culture to consume it.

From what I saw there was no problem with the stall holders drinking it themselves, or providing it to other islanders, they just couldn’t supply to people who aren’t from their culture.

From what I have been told it is very bad for an islander to “sell” kava, it is against culture to do so.

If they want to have a Kava party, then so be it, but they have to follow the rules of the jurisdiction, in this matter it simply meant the white fella’s can’t partake in the Kava.

chow 3:44 pm 16 Feb 11

I’m sure it was a misunderstanding, next year they need to find a way to put Kava on a stick then it will conform to acceptable multicultural practice in the ACT.

p1 2:56 pm 16 Feb 11

ainira said :

Kava is banned in Europe and the USA as well. Are they racist too?

Well, yes. But that is something else entirely.

The question of whether a policy is “racist” when its end result effects one specific racial group more then others (even when the law applies to everyone), is a question I have heard before. If currently 99 per cent of kava in Australia is consumed by Islanders, then it is clearly effecting Islanders more then the rest of the community. Is this a racist policy?

clp 2:03 pm 16 Feb 11

So how was the ban applied? Were people who were consuming Kava told not to? Were they prevented from sharing it with the public (which frankly I would agree with – imagine someone had an adverse reaction – potential legal nightmare for event organisiers). Substances which are consumed are generally regulated.

I have no worries about it being for personal consumption – I have tried it myself in Fiji. But how is its use regulated within Australia? What about the consumption by minors?

Pommy bastard 1:51 pm 16 Feb 11

trix said :

I don’t blame the Samoans for thinking it’s racist bullshit.

I do.

If it was only Samoans / Islanders / Chinese / teh Welsh who were banned from using it, then it woudl be racist. (But we can make exacpetions for racism against the leek smokers.) But as it’s a complete ban on anyone of any race using it, then how can it be racist?

Just the same as banning Rastarfari from smoking dope is not religious descrimination, as we are all banned from smoking/eating/possessing it.

Whether such substances should be banned is a different matter,

neanderthalsis 1:10 pm 16 Feb 11

Are we talking traditionally prepared (i.e. chewed) kava or the processed rubbish that seems to prevail in a lot of places these days?

Chupachup 12:11 pm 16 Feb 11

I’d much rather be in a crowd of people chilled out on kava or ganja that fulled on alcohol and other substances.

Kava just chills folks out, it can’t be any worse for livers than alcohol and would have a lot less other problems on the whole

ainira 11:58 am 16 Feb 11

trix said :

Damn, that’s why I missed out. And I’ve never heard of a more ridiculous thing in my life, banning kava!

Being concerned about deaths from “liver toxicity” from overdosing on those stupid kava capsules you pay billions of bux through the nose for is ridiculous in the context of people dying from liver cancer, cirrhosis, and acute poisoning every year from the consumption of alcohol.

I don’t blame the Samoans for thinking it’s racist bullshit. That kind of pathetic ban would never occur in NZ (much less the Pacific nations themselves). It’s not as if kava is ever consumed by palagis in significant quantities at these kinds of events anyway.

Kava is banned in Europe and the USA as well. Are they racist too?

Also, it’s not acute consumption that’s leading to the liver toxicity: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5147a1.htm%5D

trix 11:42 am 16 Feb 11

Damn, that’s why I missed out. And I’ve never heard of a more ridiculous thing in my life, banning kava!

Being concerned about deaths from “liver toxicity” from overdosing on those stupid kava capsules you pay billions of bux through the nose for is ridiculous in the context of people dying from liver cancer, cirrhosis, and acute poisoning every year from the consumption of alcohol.

I don’t blame the Samoans for thinking it’s racist bullshit. That kind of pathetic ban would never occur in NZ (much less the Pacific nations themselves). It’s not as if kava is ever consumed by palagis in significant quantities at these kinds of events anyway.

Diggety 11:42 am 16 Feb 11

Of course it is not racist.

And of course kava should be allowed!

Skidbladnir 11:40 am 16 Feb 11

Not particularly noteworthy, but kava imported as personal luggage can only be used for personal use.
It may only be imported into and sold in Australia by a person who has the appropriate licenses and permits.

jimbocool 11:40 am 16 Feb 11

Given the choice I’d rather 10,000 people in Civic “listening to their Kava” (as they say in Vanuatu) than drunk on booze. But then, Canberra being the way it is people would complain that the crowd was “too mellow”.

buzz819 11:38 am 16 Feb 11

It’s got nothing to do with being racist, the stuff is classed as a poison in Australia.

Were they told they weren’t allowed to have it at all, or were they told to limit the consumption to just their community for the cultural exemption that they have?

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