There is an article in the New Zealand Herald that got me thinking this morning. It helped me think about something else than the chaos in my home from kitchen renovations. More on that later.
Siena Yates: TV3’s in house war over Taika’s racist comment.
This is a good take on racism here in New Zealand. Denying it exists only strengthens it. We need to all be honest about it, both as a nation and personally. I have to be honest and admit there are times when something slight will pass my lips that later makes me sad I had even had the thought. But denying it is not the way forward.
Yesterday I had a conversation that made me promise myself to do better. Someone I know generalised about Maoris being con artists, lazy, only out for what benefits them and claimed…it is in their DNA. That their years of experience of two differing Maori branches of family, growing up with Maori at school and now working alongside some in the workplace only proved the point. To say I was taken aback is an understatement.
And that is one of the biggest problems. Generalisations like these. I know Pakeha who are con artists, lazy, only out for what benefits them. And it isn’t in their DNA. It is simply their characters. They are not good people, but they are not, not good people, because of their DNA.
Another friend of mine once told me how she was quite over being asked where she comes from. She is Kiwi through and through. Born here. Raised here. Doing very well here I might add. Quite proud to call a multiple Sir Julius Vogel award winner a friend actually. She is racially profiled because of her looks and it is assumed she is not a Kiwi.
See, that is the point. No matter where or how racism appears, we have to stand against it. Because racism is alive and thriving in New Zealand. In insidious ways as well as blatantly.
Taika Waititi spoke the truth. It may make some uncomfortable, but it is the truth.
I case you are wondering who Taiki Waititi is, he is New Zealander of the Year. He directed the latest Thor movie. A brilliant and funny man who New Zealand was incredibly proud of until he made one or two statements to journalists.
The lastest was “New Zealand is racist as f***”.
Sadly he is right. No, not all Kiwis are racist. There is however an undercurrent that runs constantly and rears its head in ugly ways at times.
Back in 2017 he said he was not proud of being a New Zealander and was hammered by some media here.
Personally I love that he is highlighting areas New Zealand needs to improve on. I hope he keeps on doing what he does and speaking out when he feels the need. New Zealand needs more people exactly like him.
Back to my clever friend. If you have time, check her out. Recently Lee Murray received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Novel of the Year 2018 for her novel HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD that was written with Dan Rabarts.
Racism exists everywhere and, if you deny it, then you are not being realistic. And it works both ways.
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It does Colline. A long time ago now I watched a chat show here where one prominent Maori lady stated: ‘Pakeha are only here at our sufferance, and should be grateful for anything we allow them.’ I wondered at the time if there would ever be a time when we would all just be KIWIS.
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I’m not racist, but there is a certain nearby nation that I constantly have trouble working with (at distance by phone and email) that drive me crazy. So in frustration I often say bloody ***** of course it’s the organisations rather then the individuals, but I should change to thought to a more appropriate one.
I think we all have those thoughts Gilly. It is just that here, in New Zealand, it really is quite bad. But in an understated way, which makes it worse. I know a Maori lady who is actually grateful for the change lately from targeting Maori to other races. I can’t say I blame her. When she describes the way she grew up, the constant snide remarks about her skin colour and her race. Same sort of things my friends was saying: ‘it’s in their DNA.’ But I couldn’t help wonder. If after all she is experienced, how can she feel that way toward another race? I grew up with racism. Australia is as bad, if not worse then New Zealand. It sure was in my day. Thing is that makes it harder for someone like me. I love New Zealand [faults and all] as I love Australia. My heart actually swells thinking of these two nations, but it means I also need to be wary of glossing over things like racism.
Institutionalised racism is very difficult to root out in a world constructed to benefit white people. We may feel that we are not racist on a personal level, but this is only scratching the surface. Taiki says it as it is.
Important. To every nation and to every person to work on.