The Human Rights Commission is urging people in Aotearoa New Zealand to ‘give no voice to racism’ as it launches a new campaign featuring celebrated film maker Taika Waititi.
Based on real-life experiences of racism in this country, the campaign aims to raise awareness of racist behaviour and the harm caused to those on the receiving end of it.
To bring the reality of racism to light the campaign is using an online, interactive Voice of Racism (www.VoiceOfRacism.co.nz) relays a range of racist comments and actions alongside the inner thoughts and feelings of people experiencing those comments and actions.
“Every day in Aotearoa, people experience racism which hurts them, prevents them from reaching their potential, or from living their lives feeling welcome and secure. We are indebted to all those who contributed their experiences to help us build the Voice of Racism,” said Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.
“The Commission encourages all people in Aotearoa to experience the Voice of Racism for themselves so they can understand the impact of racism and reflect on how their own words and actions may be contributing – even unintentionally, to racism,” he said.
“People may think one joke, one comment, one assumption, one stereotype doesn’t matter, that they are trivial, but they do matter – and the cumulative effect on people experiencing these is huge.
“It’s time we all asked ourselves; Am I contributing to racism in this country? What can I do to stop racism in Aotearoa New Zealand? he said.
The Commission is grateful for the continued contribution of Taika Waititi who gave his time to perform as the Voice of Racism. The new campaign builds on the first Give Nothing to Racism campaign, in 2017, which also featured Waititi.
Mr Foon said to become a diverse, inclusive, and harmonious community, we must all acknowledge racism affects many. “It’s sad that many people who experience racism simply learn to put on a brave face and carry on when that shouldn’t need to be the case,” he said.
Phase two of the Give Nothing to Racism campaign is only part of a range of work being undertaken by community and civil society groups to address racism in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In raising awareness of the harm caused by racism the campaign is also intended to spark discussion about how racism is affecting people’s fair and equal access to health, employment, justice, housing and education.
Funding for GNTR2 was allocated by the Government in response to various and ongoing concerns in society about racism, including the Christchurch mosque attacks on 15 March last year. The campaign will cost $1.3 million including research, strategic advice, design and build of the Voice of Racism website, creation of promotional materials and paid media.
“The cost and harm of racism to New Zealand society, families and groups over decades and even centuries is inestimable. This campaign is a modest contribution towards addressing that balance.”
Alongside the interactive Voice of Racism there are also Help and Tools sections to support people who have experienced racism and to help explain the impact of the remarks and actions and the harm caused.