MOHAN J.DUTTA | 21 MARCH, 2019
#Anti-racist guidelines for Indian migrants to New Zealand.
Dear Indians in New Zealand,
“Nau mai, haere mai” (Maori welcome)
The mosque attacks in Christchurch and the White supremacist manifesto make you feel uncomfortable.
The mosque attack makes you worry about your children, yourself, your partner.
I too feel anxious. I too feel afraid for my family and for my own safety.
The attacks were driven by racism. To be safe therefore, you must, we all must work together to dismantle racism. Racism has no place in any civilized society.
As an immigrant, an Indian immigrant, here are a few things you/we could do to challenge racism.
1. Don't make comments such as "Maori are lazy" "Maori have many children to be on welfare," "Maori eat your tax dollars." These comments are intensely racist. They are colonial. They are ugly. Begin with gratitude to the original people who have opened their homes and hearts to you. Learn from the dignity of the Maori people as they invite us immigrants to their marae with an open heart and open arms. Pay careful attention to the lessons the original people of New Zealand are teaching you. Learn from indigenous peoples in India who have for centuries shown the path to openness, invitation, and dialogue. We ignore indigenous knowledge at our own peril.
2. Don't make Islamophobic comments. For although you might think yourself as White, White supremacists don't differentiate between you, the good Hindu, and the bad Muslim. We are all people of color, brown masses threatening the White population. Find therefore spaces of solidarity. Reflect on the lessons that the Indian constitution teaches you. Reflect on the lessons a secular India has taught you about openness, democracy, and embracing difference.
3. Reflect on your/our racist attitudes. Your/our racist attitudes and the attitudes of the White supremacists exist on a continuum, often feeding off each other.
4. Reflect on where your/our attitudes come from. Like the White supremacists, you/we too form your/our attitudes on heuristics, not on evidence and data. Learn to respect what the works of social scientists and humanities scholars, and pay close attention to the lessons that emerge from the body of scholarship on hatred and racism.
5. Realize that being a model minority is not going to protect you. For how White you/we desire to be, you/we will always be brown, and you/we will always be the target of White supremacists.
6. Finally, realize that you/we should fight racism because it is the right thing to do, whether or not you/we personally benefit from it. Solidarity with all the dispossessed and discriminated. Always.
Recognizing these points will start you/us on a journey of dismantling racism.
Remember, you/we too are the target of racists. Let’s start from here to transform racist structures. We all have a responsibility to work actively to dismantle these structures, in our homes, in our families, in our workplaces, in our schools and universities, in our social media interactions, and in our societies. We can do it together.
Contact us on our Facebook page if you want to share stories of racism that you experience as well as your experiences countering racism: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/?epa=SEARCH_BOX
Mohan J.Dutta i Dean’s Chair Professor of Communication, Director, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research & Evaluation (CARE),Te Pou Aro Korero: School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing,Te Kunenga ki Purehuroha : Massey University