As most of you know I came down here a year ago form Auckland one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and now I am here in Wanaka where we all live in a protective bubble unaware of the privilege and perspectives lots of kiwis have in the country. I was at a school where having white skin was not in the majority of people where I experience and saw a wider range of culture and people that you don’t see in Wanaka. I’m not saying Wanaka is racist and I’m not saying it isn’t. What I’m saying that people are inexperienced with other cultures and have a lack of understanding of how racist this country is and how casual racism effect a lot of people. where Casual racism would be accepting prejudice as fact and using it casually in a way that it would affect a lot of people. We live in a majorly white town with not a lot of cultural diversity where maybe if we were to be surrounded by a more ethnic group of people we would have built a tolerance to them and be more understanding of how they feel towards prejudice and what they have to face.
The main problem most people seem to have is driving, the assumption that a rental car or the big green juicy vans are all being driven by Asians who can’t drive. To be honest, it is disgusting, how would you feel after earning your drivers license, and to finally to go on holiday but when every time you sat behind the wheel others acted and treated you differently based on the way you look. Its racism and to say it isn’t is stupid. Who here has faced prejudice, especially the girls. was it a nice thing did it make you proud to be a woman, of course not is the way people treated you because of the gender you are a good thing no, its the same with race if you hated being subjected to prejudice what gives you the right to do exactly the same thing to another human being. Don’t get me wrong we have all seen that rental car driving on the wrong side of the road but do we see every rental car doing that. If we were to see a blonde woman on the sports field being very uncoordinated would you make the assumption that every blonde woman is bad at sports? So why when it is linked to race do we make this connection with peoples actions. It is the same idea as the blonde girl but people feel like it is ok to decide on a stereotype for Asians being bad drivers and thinking this is ok it is the definition of racism which is the belief that someone’s race gives them abilities and qualities specific to their race.
Casual Racism, being the act where someone uses prejudice thoughts in a casual way without being aware of the effect it will have like how we constantly mispronounce Maori place names like Taupo is actually Taupo or call big vans Polly Trolleys. There was an Indian couple in Queenstown looking for a house to rent, they have been living in New Zealand since 2012 and while looking through a house the Landlord asked them how they cooked and that renting out a house to Indians who leaves a smell behind from all the curries they cook. They then informed via email that their application was unsuccessful and informed that while she is not prejudiced lots of landlords are and that in their application it may be helpful to say that they have been living in NZ for a while and eat both western and Indian cuisine and you understand that there could be a smell left behind. The landlord while trying to be helpful is showing exactly what casual racism is she believes what she is saying to this couple will be helpful but in reality is being prejudiced herself. She is treating her clients differently because that they are Indian and she believes they will leave her house smelly due to the amount of currie cooking going on.
More major racism which is much less common would be like the puzzling world incident were a few drunk teenagers for Dunedin launched an assault on an Asian man telling him to go back to his country the three then get out of there truck as an Australian man tries to stop the guys from making more trouble which leads to them physically attacking the man and receiving a court trial for the incident. If we don’t stop being casually racist then without realising how bad it is we could reach this level of hate and make a long-lasting effect on our country.
It is weird to see a white male talking in front of people telling them about racism thinking this guy has never and will never face prejudice. But I am from Auckland you hear the word JAFA meaning just another f******g Aucklander but why do people dislike us? What did we do to them?. I’ve heard it because it is full of Asians as if that is a bad thing. That we are all snobs and we are always keen on making a bit of cash. Being an Aucklander means when people ask me, where you are from I can be a bit hesitant to say Auckland.
Racism is a problem but it isn’t the obvious stuff it is the little smirks or targeting a race of people the Casual side of racism that nobody sees as harmful when in truth is the most frequently used version of racism and as New Zealander is our job to protect and keep our country as safe as possible. So next time before you try and be smart about some tourist driver think to your self. How would you feel being an Asian driver in this country?