• #GiveNothingtoRacism (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Give nothing to racism. That’s what a brand new campaign is urging New Zealanders to do.
By
Laura Morelli

15 Jun 2017 - 11:48 AM  UPDATED 15 Jun 2017 - 11:56 AM

In a video, New Zealander of the Year, Taika Waititi uses his status to call on every one of his fellow kiwis to help support eliminating racism.

“You don’t have to be a full on racist, just a tiny bit of a racist is enough,” he says.

The advertisement which refuses to spread intolerance has been launched by New Zealand Human Rights Commission and showcases some of the country’s most well-known people, including sports star Sonny Bill Williams and actor Sam Neill.

Taika says racism starts small, but it shouldn’t start at all. 

“Sometimes it lives in everyday actions and comments that we laugh off, nod in agreement to, excuse, and therefore accept. But we don’t have to. We can stop casual racism from growing into something more extreme. We can give it no encouragement. No respect. No place. No power. We can give it nothing.”

“Iconic Kiwis are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Human Rights Commission and asking us all to give nothing to racism, to give it no tolerance, to give it no acceptance and to give it no welcome.”

Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy says the campaign is a hard hitting and done in a uniquely Kiwi way.

“How we treat other people will define what kind of country we become and what kind of person a New Zealander is,” she said.  

“Some iconic Kiwis are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Human Rights Commission and asking us all to give nothing to racism, to give it no tolerance, to give it no acceptance and to give it no welcome.”

From across the shores and on our own sand, racial intolerance and overt attacks are on the rise.

During the past year, 1 in 5 people living in Australia were a target of racial discrimination. That is nearly 4.6 million people, an increase from 1 in 8 the previous 2016. Research shows that Australians have a culture of denial when it comes to racism, which facilitates it to continue.

"Racism is a light feeder, it just needs crumbs to get stronger and stronger.”

1 in 3 complaints to the NZ Human Rights Commission are about racial discrimination, but the overwhelming majority of people never complain when they’re humiliated or abused.

One of the first Kiwis to share her personal story of growing up in New Zealand was Liu Shueng Wong and she said racism starts small.

"Racism is a light feeder, it just needs crumbs to get stronger and stronger.”

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Dame Susan says the campaign focuses on those quiet, personal places where racism and prejudice is nurtured.

“Racial prejudice and intolerance starts small, in quiet places, in our everyday lives. When it becomes normalised it turns into overt racism and extremism.”

The campaign is the second stage of an ongoing, nationwide anti-racism campaign. Last September the Commission launched a website that enabled everyday New Zealanders to share their personal stories of racism. It let people who hadn’t experienced racism or prejudice to hear from people who have. The That’s Us campaign has so far reached more than 3 million people.

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