GUEST BLOG: Mara Weiss –  Time to change All Whites name

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white_out Everyone agrees that the debacle of New Zealand’s Olympic football squad’s exclusion from the 2016 Games is a huge cock-up.  Guys!  Rules are rules.  CEO Andy Martin seemed taken aback that the disobedience was called out.  And with the scandal deepening, it appears that ineligible players have been fielded in more than one international match.
New Zealand Football certainly did not do themselves any favors on the eve of the U-20 World Cup by calling a press conference to announce to the media that they would be voting against Sep Blatter in the FIFA presidential election.  This limp attempt to be seen as “anti-corruption” was one of the worst PR moves I have ever seen a national sports body make.  On the TV screen NZF came across as clumsy and un-gracious to be making such a statement whilest in the role of host of a major event.

There is another cock-up at the centre of New Zealand football: the nickname “The All-Whites.”  We all know it is a play on words relating to the All Blacks, similar to the Tall Blacks, the Black Sticks, etc.  But it was ill-advised when it was adopted, and it should be discontinued.

New Zealand does not consider itself to be racist.  But what we don’t seem to understand is that the act of choosing that name was an act of passive racism.  “Whites” is a term that has always been used to mean “white people,” especially in the context of segregated societies like apartheid South Africa and the southern United States.  “All-Whites” sounds uncomfortably like a sign over a door inscribed “Whites Only.”
As an American living in New Zealand it is hard for me to understand why the colour of the uniform was so important and how the name ever got approved in the first place.  In 2010 the entire nation was blind to the awkwardness of using that name at the World Cup in South Africa.  Or those uncomfortable with it were too embarrassed to speak out.
We as a nation are willing to consider changing our Flag!  The time has come to leave the nickname All Whites in the past, where it belongs.  As a lover of the beautiful game, I appreciate what a truly international game it is, and how the celebration of diversity brings nations together.  It will be easy to move forward without a nickname, and be called simply New Zealand when playing international matches.
Mara Weiss – is an activist and writer.

25 COMMENTS

  1. An inconsistent article; are you also advocating changing the name of the All Blacks, one of the world’s top sporting brands? Or even your own surname?

    • Thanks for your comment. I am aware of the meaning of my last name. I never advocated the change of the All Blacks name, only the All Whites.

  2. Mara Weiss MUST be aware of the meaning of her surname in German. And does she think she should change her name in English-speaking countries, as it sounds like VICE?

    • Thanks for your comment. I am aware of the meaning of my last name. Is this an attempt to dilute the discussion of the issue?

  3. This daily Daily Blog reader would rather turn to WhaleOil if this is the standard of polemic you are stooping to. Non-existent logic on both the All Whites and the FIFA president. Just weird!

  4. Utter nonsense from start to finish. The All Whites name was given the green light by the Race Relations Commission right when it was announced. As for FiFA, NZ’s stance was principled and in line with other non-corrupt footballing bodies. A very silly and groundless attack on NZ football. The daily blog risks losing readership if it can’t do better than this.

    • Thanks for your comment. I believe that New Zealand Football has a lot to answer for, and there is much that goes on behind the scenes which we the general public are unaware of. For this reason I linked the current fiasco to the suggestion to drop the name. I have asked a lot of people about this subject, and invariably those of European descent have no problem with the name. Those who are not of European descent admit the name causes discomfort.

  5. This is the stupidest article I have ever read on the Daily Blog. I was glad they voted against Blatter, and to suggest the name, which is based on the uniform, is racist is just utter nonsense.

    • The vote against Blatter was correct of course. The decision to make a big deal of it in the media at that time in my opinion was wrong.

  6. “New Zealand Football Team” sounds good to me. I dont belive that “All Whites” is racist, but I cannot really say that I am too keen on all these nicknames.

    “All Blacks” is a name steeped in folklore and tradition, the rest are just silly marketing phrases.

  7. We have one toe into a better future. Perhaps when we put both feet in and learn the Truth of the past we will be able to understand all peoples have suffered, some more blatantly than others. I hope then all colours are seen as beautiful and that they were used in the past as nothing more than a psychological weapon of choice.

  8. Used to be a better name for the team would be the ‘All Poms’. But perhaps a commitment to pluralism would be a better assertion, as well as commemorating the passing of a great local tradition. I suggest the Allsorts.

  9. Complete Rubbish!
    But since this post, is I suspect part of a very Sinister Agenda against anything to do with the colour white,especially race.
    This shouldn’t be taken lightly by any true humanitarian.

    • Thanks for your comment. Wow, that’s rich. So basically you would consider any analysis or discussion of white privilege to be a Sinister Agenda? A Sinister Agenda by whom, may I ask?

      The definition of the word Humanitarian is: “One who is devoted to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms.”

      And social reform is definitely needed here in New Zealand, where non-European populations are consistently deprived. Or would that be part of the Sinister Agenda as well?

  10. hahahahahahaha …. oh dear oh dear oh dear. An American called Mara WEISS telling kiwis that using ”white” in a name is racist. Does it get any more ironic , annoying and downright silly than this?

    • Thanks for your comment! Haha, does that tickle your funny bone? Well by all means go hard bro! Never one to begrudge anyone a hearty chuckle.

      Is it “silly” and “annoying” to you that America is going through a deep soul-searching at the moment with regard to race? No, it is not silly. It is difficult. And it is dredging up a lot of ugly, ingrained bigotry and discrimination that has been part of the status quo for a long time. But it has to happen. I guess you would consider it silly and annoying should New Zealand begin to question its own status quo with regard to racial issues.

      Annoying. Do you know what’s annoying? This is annoying:
      A primary school soccer team is gathered for their weekly practice. They have been visited by local representatives and given posters and marketing materials from the All Whites. Three blond boys confront a dark skinned boy. “YOU can never be in the All Whites, do you know why? Because you’re not white,” they taunt him. “You’re brown, the colour of sh**.”

      This happened to a child I know in a town in regional Aotearoa. I can guarantee that it has happened countless times to countless other children across the nation over the years. Children take things at face value. The name All Whites sends the WRONG MESSAGE to the next generation of NZ footballers. What message does it send? That if you are of European descent, you will be supported in your dreams of sporting glory. If you are of a different ethnicity, you will be excluded.

      Now that’s annoying. Annoying if you’re not white.

  11. I’ve never liked the name All Whites. Not on racist grounds but because it gives the impression that they are failed All Blacks. It’s not particularly clever or witty. Surely they could have come up with a stronger name. Anyway, isn’t the English strip white?

  12. The thing that I think is if the All whites ever get to play against the big teams, how will that go across to the mixed teams where their own crowds and fans are yelling racist words? Mara you’re too advanced for these clowns.

    • Yes Lara, exactly. New Zealand has never achieved success in international football, and having the RIDICULOUS name “The All-Whites” does not help.

  13. Thanks for your comment! Haha, does that tickle your funny bone? Well by all means go hard bro! Never one to begrudge anyone a hearty chuckle.

    Is it “silly” and “annoying” to you that America is going through a deep soul-searching at the moment with regard to race? No, it is not silly. It is difficult. And it is dredging up a lot of ugly, ingrained bigotry and discrimination that has been part of the status quo for a long time. But it has to happen. I guess you would consider it silly and annoying should New Zealand begin to question its own status quo with regard to racial issues.

    Annoying. Do you know what’s annoying? This is annoying:
    A primary school soccer team is gathered for their weekly practice. They have been visited by local representatives and given posters and marketing materials from the All Whites. Three blond boys confront a dark skinned boy. “YOU can never be in the All Whites, do you know why? Because you’re not white,” they taunt him. “You’re brown, the colour of sh**.”

    This happened to a child I know in a town in regional Aotearoa. I can guarantee that it has happened countless times to countless other children across the nation over the years. Children take things at face value. The name All Whites sends the WRONG MESSAGE to the next generation of NZ footballers. What message does it send? That if you are of European descent, you will be supported in your dreams of sporting glory. If you are of a different ethnicity, you will be excluded.

    Now that’s annoying. Annoying if you’re not white.

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