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Attitudes needed to challenge discrimination

Attitudes not just policies needed to challenge racial discrimination

The Human Rights Commission says attitudes not just policies need to change when it comes to New Zealanders facing racial discrimination. This week newly elected Auckland Councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins spoke out about the humiliating treatment his family faced trying to attend his swearing in ceremony.

“When a councillor’s wife, children and family aren’t able to get past ushers who decided they didn’t look like the kind of people who should be there, we have to take a good, long look at ourselves. That kind of behaviour is disgraceful. It is not us,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“A diversity policy is easy to write but changing attitudes amongst employees is where the real challenge for public and private sector managers lies.”

“Right now public and private sector managers are doing a lot of talking about Diversity but that talking needs to also address prejudice: New Zealanders can’t continue to ignore the very large, very old elephant that’s been in the room for a very long time.”

Dame Susan thanked Mr Collins for going public on his family’s experience: “It’s not easy to be the one to call out racial intolerance but thanks to people like Fa’anana more New Zealanders are doing so. We are getting better at talking about prejudice and time will tell if we are also getting better at listening.”

The Human Rights Commission’s That’s Us anti-racism campaign has engaged with more than 1 million people since its launch on the 1st September with many New Zealanders sharing their personal stories of racial discrimination.


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