April 29, 2013
Race commissioner facing real job
The author of several books on race relations, Massey University Professor Paul Spoonley, says the new race relations commissioner will need to find ways to address an upsurge in racism.
In her first major speech since her controversial appointment to the job, Dame Susan Devoy said most New Zealanders would be embarrassed if New Zealand was thought of as a racist country.
But she said racism does exist and needs to be discussed more openly.
Professor Spoonley says it’s something New Zealanders are already aware of.
“If people think that racism is dead or dying, all they need to do is look on a blog site in New Zealand and the fact that you can say what you like without having to say who you are. It’s a coward way and there is some toxic stuff out there at the moment, particular around the constitutional review,” he says.
Professor Spoonley says as someone who doesn’t come from a background of understanding or managing cultural diversity, Dame Susan Devoy needs to take advice from her colleagues at the Human Rights Commission on how to do her job.
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