In the last post, we took a look at the natural beauty of this small island nation – fabulous isn’t it? However, there is one aspect of life here that is not very beautiful – intolerance. Until I came to live in New Zealand, I hadn’t heard many racist or “politically incorrect” comments, but it’s different here. And, these sentiments are not limited to the average man or woman on the street, but have even been expressed by a very high profile television morning show co-anchor. Fortunately he was replaced, but not before he had offended Indian politician, Sheila Dikshit and New Zealand’s Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand.
In my experience, the comments are primarily, but not exclusively, made by Caucasian New Zealanders and are aimed at immigrants and Maori (indigenous New Zealanders). However, Hone Harawira, a Maori politician has made disparaging remarks about Caucasian New Zealanders and I have uttered some pretty unflattering remarks about my adopted countrymen, as a result of the bullying I have endured.
What I find difficult to understand is how people can be prejudiced when they have not personally suffered any wrongdoing at the hands of those they are against. If those New Zealanders, who are intolerant took the time to get to know individual members of the immigrant groups they feel prejudice towards, they would find some really wonderful people.
And, before I was an immigrant myself, I couldn’t really appreciate why immigrant groups socialized primarily with others from their home countries. But now I know how marginalized and isolated immigrants and visible minorities can feel. There is comfort in surrounding yourself with people who have a shared experience. Even 8 years on, most of my friends are immigrants. I have only one Kiwi friend. Although, I approach New Zealanders with more hesitancy than I did when I first arrived here, I am not giving up! I want to concentrate on our similarities, not our differences.
Have you ever experienced racism? Tell us your experience…
Until next time,
Your Boomer Life Partners