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Tackling racism in New Zealand

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

People are being called upon to have their say about an important topic which affects the world.'

This week, the Human Rights Commission has begun an initiative to gather the country's thoughts on how to address racism. 

It has launched the website againstracism.hrc.co.nz as part of an engagement effort led by Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, who is asking for everyone’s help. 

“We need your ideas to ensure this work reflects the vision, values and lived experiences of impacted communities, families, whānau, hapū, and iwi across the country,” he says.

Contributions will be treated anonymously and summarised in a report which will be submitted to the government later this year. The HRC’s engagement report will also be made publicly available.  

It is expected that the government will consider this in its work on a national action plan against racism. 

“Now, more than ever, a government plan is needed to address racism against communities who experience such discrimination. It is necessary as racism will not stop of its own accord,” says Mr Foon.

The national action plan against racism is expected to be an action-oriented document, setting out solutions and goals, and identifying the steps the government could take to promote racial equality and eliminate racism.  

It is United Nations-mandated work and comes as part of New Zealand’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).  

“Now, more than ever, a government plan is needed to address racism against communities who experience such discrimination. It is necessary as racism will not stop of its own accord,” says Foon. 

“We want you to help grow a national action plan against racism,” says Foon.

Queries about the Human Rights Commission’s work to support the national action plan can be emailed to againstracism@hrc.co.nz 

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11 Comments
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morepork, it is clear

Posted on 04-09-2021 11:15 | By R. Bell

you do not understand "racism" or you would not dismiss the two examples you gave. Both are examples of incremental racism, intentional or not. Bad choices by those who failed to consider the effect that yet again Maori were depicted in a negative way, and Pacifica yet again being ordered to prove their immigration status. You can downplay the issue but it all reinforces the belief that those victimised are in some small way inferior. When a shop owner has five customers four pakeha one Maori and she decides to follow the Maori around the counters and ignore the others that is racism, despite her right to follow whoever she chooses. I witnessed that happening to my wife first hand and objected, needless to say the lady apologised good things can happen when we raise the awareness, but you would just walk away. Meng Foon is correct.

@ Robin Bell (Part 2)

Posted on 01-09-2021 15:50 | By morepork

I really hope you can understand my objection here. If I, as what you would call part of the "privileged white majority", can see there is more to incidents like these, why can’t the commissioner for Race Relations see it? It’s because, instead of being committed to fairness, he is committed to finding and exposing Racism. That would be OK, but fairness trumps it. To a man with a hammer, everything is a nail. We will never see Racism eradicated while there is social injustice, an unfair (not level) playing field, and people with chips on their shoulder about their color. (Black, brown, white or whatever...) It is encouraging to see progress being made and many people of color getting higher education and running successful businesses. Old attitudes on both sides are slowly changing. The future for our Nation has to be fairness for ALL ethnicities and colors.

@Robin Bell

Posted on 01-09-2021 15:38 | By morepork

For the record, Robin... 1. I have never suggested there is no racism. 2. I have never suggested that REAL racism should be dismissed or ignored. I have checked it on countless occasions around dinner tables and in bars, but the best you can hope for is that people will reconsider it. You can’t beat them into a "proper" point of view with antagonism and legislation. 3. I am heartily sick of Politicians and people like Feng Moon immediately screaming "Racism!" (where there was none...), and we have seen palpable examples of it (the Maori teko teko on the vaccination pamphlet, and now the Passports for Pasifika, just 2 examples...) because it suits their own purposes or justifies their own existence. There is no attempt to find out what actually happened, just immediately play the Race card.

It is futile and

Posted on 30-08-2021 10:49 | By R. Bell

self rewarding to suggest racism is dismissed by simply ignoring it, and a view that can only be relevant to someone who has never really experienced it on a personal level. The obvious domination of the white majority lends itself to abuse by some members of that community. No one suggests that racism is purely a "white" problem but in NZ. many in the privileged white community treat people of difference with disrespect and often racial abuse in many forms including institutional racism. It clearly follows that the only place to address the problem is to expose it and deal with it. The above initiative by Meng Foon is to be commended for its attempt to create an atmosphere of hope for all who recognise the need and support his effort. Diversions to "free speech and Sport team names " is unhelpful to a tragic subject.

Handling Racism.

Posted on 29-08-2021 17:32 | By morepork

If you are seriously, hurt, insulted, or upset by something someone said to you, remember that YOU control how YOU feel about things. Don’t let it get to you. Instead, ask yourself if what was said was true and fair. If it obviously wasn’t, then the person saying it is TRYING to get to you. Are you going to let that happen? Hopefully not. You can walk away and feel sorry the person was such an idiot, or you can stay and debate the point, showing how ridiculous what was said was. Either way, you should not be upset by something obviously untrue and unfair. If someone is angry and abusing you with racist swearing and vitriol, walk away. Don’t show your reaction. You will change no minds at that level and it is futile to reason with an angry person anyway. Don’t make Racism your primary (off/de)fense.

@Bob Landy

Posted on 29-08-2021 17:20 | By morepork

I endorse your comments, Bob. The very fact that you see fit to apologize for any offense you might have given, shows how stupid this has become. Objecting to a Sports team’s name on Race grounds is ridiculous, and just signals that some people are simply looking for trouble and offense, where none is intended. I’m not offended by the Maori All Blacks, but I bet there are people who are... It’s crazy. If you take offense where none was ever intended, then it is YOU who should be apologizing. If people calmed down a bit and actually used their brains to filter what is being said to them, we would not need people like Meng Foon or his office. Genuine Racism is much more vicious and repulsive, but it is part of life (for now...). Instead of crying to Nanny, simply treat it with contempt it deserves.

Instead of...

Posted on 28-08-2021 18:46 | By morepork

... passing dubious legislation to curtail Free Speech and Freedom of Thought, why not teach people to think for themselves and reject Racism when they see it? Every criticism of a person or group, of color, is NOT Racism. You can be critical of things like stupidity, or greed, or self-pity on their own merits, nothing to do with the color of the person(s) exhibiting it. Feng Moon has a track record of making things worse by his short-sighted views. No attempt to understand or look for a positive solution, just immediately decide to play the "Racist" card. I guess it is his job. If you want to eliminate Racism (I do), then make sure there is no favored status for ANY Ethnicity. A level playing field with help available to ANYONE who needs it; irrespective of Race, Creed, Sex, Religion, or ANYTHING else; The ONLY criterion is citizenship.

Here We Go Again

Posted on 28-08-2021 13:17 | By

The underlying tone of the article is that this is a “White man’s” problem directed “against communities who experience such discrimination.” After decades of working all over the world I can assure you that racism runs in all directions. So, let’s be positive, what can New Zealand do? First I suggest that the people involved in this admirable project grow up and recognise that racism runs in all directions. An excellent start will be to distance themselves from the childish activists objecting to the “All Whites” name. My apologies if that triggered anyone.

Best

Posted on 28-08-2021 11:30 | By

Way to combat racism is to stop talking about it

racism

Posted on 28-08-2021 08:54 | By dumbkof2

when everybody in this country is treated the same, no favouritism towards any one person or race and no special treatment, then there will be no racism in this country

Thanks America.......again

Posted on 28-08-2021 08:07 | By

All this racism stuff has stemmed from America. Now it seems if you are white you are automatically a racist. If you are brown or black you are automatically classed as the victim. Martin Luther King is now classed as a racist. When growing up we never ever saw colour but now are very aware of being careful of what we say as could be classed as being racist - pathetic. We are all human regardless of colour.