The weirdest thing about Taika Waititi’s description of NZ being ‘racist as f**k’ comment

By   /   April 11, 2018  /   12 Comments

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…mispronunciation of Māori words, profiling and being asked if he was a glu-sniffer are pretty mild examples of racism in NZ, yet for some it’s been like a black flag to a Klu Klux Klan bull…

The weirdest thing about the reaction to Taika Waititi’s description of NZ being ‘racist as fuck’ comment is that the list of things Taika holds up are actually incredibly mild

Interviewed for Dazed and Confused magazine, he was asked whether New Zealand was “like Australia without the racism and the blokeish sense of humour”.

Waititi replied: “Nah, it’s racist as f***.”

He added: “I mean, I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it’s a racist place.

“People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Maori names properly.

“There’s still profiling when it comes to Polynesians. It’s not even a colour thing – like, ‘Oh, there’s a black person.’

“It’s ‘if you’re Poly then you’re getting profiled'”

He said he experienced discrimination growing up.

“I remember getting a job at a dairy and they would never give me a job at the till,” he said.

“I was always at the back washing vegetables. And then one day one of the owners asked me if I sniffed glue – like, ‘Are you a glue-sniffer?’

“In my head I was like, ‘Motherf*****, you grew up with my mum!’

“And I knew for sure that he didn’t ask other kids in the store if they were glue-sniffers.”

…mispronunciation of Māori words, profiling and being asked if he was a glu-sniffer are pretty mild examples of racism in NZ, yet for some it’s been like a black flag to a Klu Klux Klan bull

Yes, some Kiwis are as racist as Taika Waititi says. Here’s the proof

The truth of course is that beyond micro-aggressions we have a very, very, very racist country but by focusing on middle class interpretations of racism we risk ignoring the grim reality of racism for the poorest.

Maori are 380% more likely to be convicted of a crime and 200% more likely to die from heart disease and suicide. Maori are paid 18% less and 34% leave school without a qualification. Maori die earlier and suffer more.

This is a morally reprehensible obscenity in a country that pretends that it is egalitarian.

I believe that the majority of white New Zealanders live in a constant state of wilful ignorance when it comes to racism in this country. The facts of how racist our system really is are glaring in the statistical outcomes, but still we have the Don Brash’s of this country screaming Maori privilege.

They are Trump like in their denial.

It took 136 years to get an apology for Parihaka, who will apologise for the racist failures of NZ since the Treaty?

I admire Taika’s staunchness, but we limit the debate if it’s left to be defined by individual experience when there is so much more that needs discussing.

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12 Comments

  1. Johnnybg says:

    I’m not only a racist ~ ageist ~ masculinist ~ but I’m also composed of every other ist & ism under the sun. One thing I’m not though, is an Orwellian PC thought police creation, ‘I’m a free man’, which is obviously a cherished delusion. I make no excuses for being oh so beastly & ‘all too human’.

    • Steve King says:

      But you see Johnnybg, ultimately that is a cop out. You believe that your humanity is so flawed that it becomes your excuse for not trying to change. You are so afraid that you will become what you describe as “an Orwellian PC thought police creation” (great description btw) that you won’t try to be a better human.

  2. Michelle says:

    Yes Taika is right and one of the most racist groups was state employees many of them were pakeha as mostly pakeha got those jobs back then.
    When we had the State housing corporation all the Maori and PI got put in the bronxs areas and now the gnats knocked down these dumps we were expected to live in and have created half million plus housing development for example Petones Jackson Street, Pomare to name a few. The gnats sold a lot of state land to private developers just before the last election to build up there bullshit surplus. Also I get sick and tired of hearing our pakeha NZders saying we all had the same opportunities when that is not true. Cause who got the best jobs? who employed them? who got the best State houses and ended up buying them under the gnats when they first started hocking them of and who were able to get loans from the banks not the Maori people back them.
    This is why the Maori affairs corporation had to provide housing options for our Maori people and their whanau because they were being discriminated against and couldn’t get homes to live in.
    And this type of bull carried on for many years so who benefitted the most from the welfare state?
    We (Maori) also have to put up with racism from some foreigners
    that come here.
    This country was founded on racism when you colonise you assimilate.

  3. tomorrow says:

    The British class system is a virus which many pakeha carry with them, it can lie dormant for some decades but is often reactivated by affluence at which point it also becomes racist. There is no cure.

  4. Muleta says:

    I don’t mean to be a pedant and I do agree with the point you’re post is making, however, it is Ku Klux Klan not Klu.

  5. Sumsuch says:

    I’ve been shocked lately by racist comments around me. One, though in her defence she’s only been in NZ 10 years, describes anything that is hoady as ‘ hori’. Even my Jewish client is racist. It is psychology, a low muggy poisonous morning mist that is only cleared by the positive feeding force of the sun. Not counter-argument.

  6. Kim dandy says:

    Usually when the topic of racism hits the news it is a distraction for something else …crumbling health service maybe, perhaps war crimes…?

    • Bob says:

      The Give Nothing To Racism campaign is a Human Rights Commission advertising campaign that was signed off on by John Key.

      Like a Pepsi commercial it is an acceptable form of protest.

      I don’t deny anyone’s experiences, but it is acceptable to neoliberal markets to discuss gender and race unendingly as if they were the only human rights issues we face because it gives people the feeling that we are fighting for equality without having to make any sacrifices or redistribute any of our wealth.

  7. UpsideDown says:

    You confuse racism with inequality. They are not the same.

    • Strypey says:

      When that inequality takes the form of members of one race consistently doing worse than another on a wide range of statistical measures, you are pushing shit uphill to claim that race has nothing to do with it. It would be nice to think that any measures aimed at reducing inequality would fix the problem, but there have been many such measures over the last 100 years, and they clearly haven’t fixed the problem for Māori (amongst others).

    • john says:

      While individual whites may be against racism, they still benefit from the distribution of resources controlled by their group. Yes, an individual person of color can sit at the tables of power, but the overwhelming majority of decision-makers will be white. Yes, white people can have problems and face barriers, but systematic racism won’t be one of them. This distinction—between individual prejudice and a system of unequal institutionalized racial power—is fundamental. One cannot understand how racism functions in N.Z. today if one ignores group power relations.

      • Bob says:

        There is an assumption there that people act in the favour of their racial group. They don’t, often, at least in the West. Controversial opinion: the West was never really about race, and assimilation has been possible at it high points for thousands of years. The bible, on the other hand, likes to label people by race.