Now that they’ve made Susan Devoy Race Relations Commissioner
Racism in New Zealand is polite – her smile is not too wide.
She drinks tea and welcomes you in but wait, first wipe your dirty foreign feet outside
We like to retell the stories
of kiwi battlers that have made it on their own
with only a rugby ball or a squash racquet against the tide of Others.
We know who all the heroes are.
Racism will walk in and mutter about burqas under her breath. The people at number 19
will always be “that Muslim family”
“the Chinese doctor” and “his wife is lovely, but she doesn’t speak much English”.
We like to pretend
That Waitangi day is just another day for drinking beer with your mates
Not the signing of a dishonoured treaty. So Racism will lean close and say,
“those bloody Maori are just stirrers” not people that have endured
Not resistance fighters. Not survivors.
My illegal immigrant father taught me to always be polite to elders and to authority. (Politeness – like a second skin – a skirt that needs taking out)
We were polite even after the Dawn Raids (you need to smile nicely – and not show teeth – at the people you can’t trust).
I’ve noticed when Karlo reads, there are two different translations
The Pasifika version, where we hear our babies crying and
The Pakeha version, where somehow our pain is rewired in their ear canals to sound like ukelele music, and they think she is just talking about fish.
Now that they’ve made Susan Devoy
Race Relations Commissioner
I know I’ve been polite for too long because Paheka commentators think
Marama is just a loudmouth and
Tze Ming Mok is the only one that is angry.
(No, this is not a kettle that can be taken off the boil, left aside for a month to cool off, while National finds manuka honeyed words to slip inside your mouth).
We are all angry.