Apparently claims have been made that we are a country of casual racists because of something one person said on a ‘reality’ TV show. Mass blaming because of one comment seems ridiculous, but Heather du Plessis-Allen has written a column about it.
NZH: Give the prejudice test a go
Now seems an opportune time to test your bigotry, given claims that The Real Housewives of Auckland proves we’re a country of casual racists.
I don’t think a comment by one attention seeking housewife from Auckland has got anything to do with me.
In the latest – and most dramatic – episode, housewife Julia Sloane – who is white – refers to another housewife – who is not white – as a boat n*****.
Things go understandably awry.
There is crying, yelling and a champagne glass used as a projectile.
Call me cynical, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the term, that I would have thought was rarely used in New Zealand, was staged to stir up publicity. Isn’t that how those programs work? Yeah, I’m prejudiced against programs like that.
It’s a surprise anyone still uses the n-word this side of the millennium. It’s the second-most offensive word in New Zealand and has been for at least 17 years, according to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
But, it’s a little hysterical to claim this is proof New Zealand is populated by a horde of casual racists who treat other ethnicities with the kind of cavalier disregard suggested by a phrase like casual racism.
I don’t know whether the mass blaming was done hysterically or not but it’s both stupid and it’s offensive to me.
Still, the event has given us a good chance to have a hunt around the attic of our attitudes and toss out a few we don’t need anymore. This is, after all, week two of a debate about racism in New Zealand.
Last week we questioned whether Nikolas Delegat – the son of winemaker Jim Delegat – received a seemingly light sentence for assaulting a policewoman because he was white. We also asked why white first-time offenders are twice as likely as Maori offenders to be let off with only a pre-charge warning.
In the same week, I met a woman in a regional city who twice referred to Maori men as “boy”, in one case in the presence of the man in question, who looked like he’d seen about 40 more summers than your average boy.
Terms like “boy” are at worst loaded with connotations of slavery and oppression and at best patronising.
There is certainly quite a bit of racism and racist attitudes in New Zealand, but there is also quite a bit of blaming everyone for the sins of some.
So, perhaps now is the time to spring clean ourselves of our racist attitudes.
Give the prejudice test a go.
She is referring to what is claimed to be a simple test, but I don’t know how well it applies to New Zealand.
But you can try it and see if you are a casual racist or not.
It looks like you are supposed to read the disclaimer, click on agree and then then choose the Race option.