Racism in New Zealand
1 in 3 complaints lodged with the Human Rights Commission are about racial discrimination or prejudice but we know most people never complain. Not one person who shared their story this website has ever lodged a formal complaint with us or any other agency. We think New Zealanders are mature enough to have an open and respectful conversation about racial prejudice.
It starts small
The thing about so-called “casual racism” is that it doesn’t feel very casual when you or your loved ones are humiliated. As it usually happens in a social setting, most people don’t make a scene or complain. But allowing casually racist thoughts into our lives is how all of us feed intolerance. When we encounter these little pieces of racism, because we’re only human and we don’t like tension, we’ll try to laugh it off, excuse it, diffuse it, pretend it isn’t what it is. And that covers it up. And in doing these things, we passively agree. But what if we didn’t? What if we frowned instead of laughed? What if we blanked our mates instead of nodded? What if we refused to like that racist Facebook Post?
Overseas and closer to home we are seeing a rise in racial intolerance, attacks and abuse. We don’t want that future for New Zealand. Racism starts small but so too does hope.
Try and Support the victim. You can ignore the attacker but you can ask questions like Are you OK? Or you could just start talking about the weather: let the victim know he or she isn’t alone. If you can, Record the attack – this way we can hold the abuser to account, we can learn from the incident.
Finally, it’s really important to Report the incident to authorities. You can also come here to this website and share your story.