Former Race Relations Commissioner’s Heart Bleeds For Judith Collins
Former Race Relations Commissioner, Gregory Fortuin says he agrees with Judith Collins that no one should be superficially judge on skin colour and ethnicity. Fortuin was responding to Collins’ reported outburst about "sick of being demonised" for her “ethnicity and being white.”
Fortuin who was classified a “Cape Coloured” by the South African Apartheid regime says, “I know what it’s like to be told where I could live, go to school, work, socialise right down to who I could have relationships with based on my skin colour”. He said the trauma and demonisation for many of us was the “daily degradation of being a lesser human being than your fellow white country men and woman”.
Fortuin said he understood why many fair-skinned coloureds had themselves legally reclassified as white in order to live as 1st class citizens. “However, I am proud of who I am, created equal in the eyes of God; all I wanted was to be judged on the content of my character and my ability to make a difference”.
“I am sure the millions of slaves wrenched from the African continent and degraded as chattels of their white masters in America, Britain and the Caribbean wished they were white-equal. I am sure those who were lynched or hung from trees and church rafters wished they were white-equal” Gregory lamented. He went on to say, “Don’t tell me that was in the past when under Make America Great Again, young black men are still being gunned down by white supremist whilst out jogging or murdered by white policemen kneeling on their necks. I’m sure George Floyd wished he was white-equal”
Fortuin said, “closer to home we have just remembered how a so-called lone wolf white-supremist defiled mosques and slaughtered 51 peace loving Muslims and maimed 50 more in their sacred places of worship”. During COVID-19 lockdown we have experienced unprecedented racist attacks with the Human Rights Commission reporting a 600% increase in race-based concerns.
“The systemic racism especially with regard to Tangata Whenua being over-represented in all the negative statistics (unemployment, poverty, imprisonment, homelessness, etc) and nowhere to be found in the upper echelons of state and private enterprises is stark for all to see” according to the former Race Relations Commissioner.
“Ethnic communities don’t want tokenism or special treatment; we simply want to be treated as equals and live in an inclusive society. We don’t wish to question or demonise anybody’s “whiteness”. We should all be able to celebrate who we are without fear or favour”.
“What is painfully disturbing in 2020 is the continued blatant discrimination; exclusion and the implication that we are not good enough to be around the top tables. What gives me hope is the knowledge that New Zealanders are better than this” Fortuin Concluded.