Tell Your Story has been set up as a platform to share our anecdotes and stories about the discrimination, racism, and xenophobia that our fellow New Zealanders have had to endure – not to segregate or to rub it in anyone else’s face – but to bring us all together. If we are all able to understand what others have been through, we can acknowledge it, identify it, and take action if we happen to see it as well as knowing what to look for so we can see it happening in the future.
We have all been thinking a lot about the events in Christchurch and what the way forward is for New Zealand. Everyone is in a state of shock and believes we will come together and stamp this out. The sentiment is great, but we run the risk of the bystander effect, where everyone waits for someone else to start the change. One thing that has been quite clear is the shock and disbelief that these anti-immigrant/anti-ethnic sentiments even existed. That brings up the question – what do we actually need to do or change?
Far too many people, of all ages, cultures, ethnicities, and birthplaces, have seen and experienced extreme and racist views here in New Zealand first hand. It isn’t right to deny they exist. We need to challenge intolerant points of view, not pretend they’re a strictly imported problem. It is very easy to brush it off and say “Oh, he’s Australian”, or “Bloody Christchurch”, but does that actually accomplish anything other than passing the buck and ignoring the actual root of the problem?
The amount of xenophobic comments about Indians, Chinese, Muslims, and many other groups of immigrants or refugees, has become toxic over these last few years and the media hasn’t helped at all. To see the amount of casual racism that gets put up with and tolerated is shameful. Letting discrimination of ANY form slide is the equivalent of condoning it, and that is true for all discrimination – racism, sexism, homophobia – don’t be a bystander.
Remember, this is not about “white people” or us vs. them – lumping people together and generalising in ways like this is how issues like this can simmer – this is an individual attitude change that should happen collectively – regardless of ethnicity.
There are many people who aren’t aware of what others have actually had to go through just to be on the same playing field as them. Because they are not racists, they can’t process the thoughts of someone who is.
It is important that we as a country respond to this by coming together and strengthening the moral fabric that has kept us going forever. Why focus on whether someone is an immigrant or not and let us all please be New Zealanders together.
You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.
Let us make this a reality.
TELL YOUR STORY
If you would like to submit a story – It can range from someone looking at you funny to someone assaulting you – we want it all. Post as many stories as you want. And remember this is not limited to any race/ethnicity/whatever – We are all Kiwi and we are all suffering.
All of the entries will be anonymised – unless you choose to make yourself available for contact later on.
I have been in touch with the Human Rights Commission and they have mentioned that they need more data on hate-motivated crimes. The first section of the form is a basic set of demographic questions that will help them be able to get an idea of what actually goes on in our society – these are completely optional so please don’t be intimidated.