GIRL TALK: Column

By Eva Bradley

Beware I dared to care and now I'm a 'racist'
Calling all white Gollywogs. Step up, step forward, you're wanted in casting room four.
This week, political correctness reached lofty new heights when people with no real problems to focus on created some for the rest of us by complaining about the recruitment of fair-skinned extras for the coming Hobbit films.
The media frothed with enthusiasm for the story and proved once again that racism (or the perception of it at least) sells newspapers as surely as page three girls used to in the nineties, before feminist subscribers outnumbered hot-blooded males and put an end to the practice.
It seems to me as a consumer of media that a small but very elite group of subjects have become so predictably polarising that they get front-page attention regardless of whether or not anyone actually gives two hoots.
The ability of the "it's because of my [insert minority or underprivileged status here]" brigade to punch above their weight not just in the media circus but in life generally has got out of hand.
And I'm not expressing this as a white middle class New Zealander, just as a New Zealander. Because although we all fit into some sort of minority whether it is racial, educational, sexual, social or economic, ultimately we are all part of one beautiful big majority, and that is being a Kiwi, and wanting the best for our country.
The rights of a visiting foreigner whose legal work status is unclear to pip a Kiwi of any colour to the post for a well-paid job is surely of more importance to us as a nation than the colour of her skin. And even if it isn't, who really cares?
Whether it is fact, fiction, motion or picture story, skin colour has played a contextually and sensibly central role in the past and will do in the future.


The Hobbits of Hobbiton were long ago established by Tolkien to be of fairer skin and a minority at that.
Morgan Freeman has made his millions from the dark hue of his skin as surely as Nicole Kidman has from her fair colouring, and gollywogs and Barbie dolls are black and white respectively and, thankfully, the children who play with them don't discriminate as adults do.
From my own personal experience, I have found that the colour of my skin has made me a target in a way which I can only presume other New Zealanders of European origin can relate.
Only a few weeks ago in an online forum, an unnamed person of unknown racial origin had no qualms labelling me a white trash racist, oblivious of course to the fact I was brought up among a large group of Indians and followed the teachings of a guru from the same culture. To me, God is brown. Big deal.
A few months ago after politely asking if the clients of the neighbouring business could perhaps flush the loo and wipe the seat after they used my private bathroom (they helped rehabilitate newly released prisoners), I was immediately told in no uncertain terms and entirely out of context that I was a racist.
As I pointed out to the confusingly white business owner, the last time I checked, everyone's urine was the same colour and regardless of its origin I would prefer it wasn't left abundantly all over my toilet seat.
And like a particularly officious school principal, I added that it was attitudes like his that made racial harmony in New Zealand so difficult to achieve. Shame on him.
So often it seems that while casting directors lose their jobs by putting bums on seats in accordance with the way the author of a work had intended, people in minority groups are given carte blanche to malign and slur those in the majority without consequence.
Like most people in this country, I am not racist, ageist, sexist or any other "ist" that I'm aware of. And it's high time majorityism became a moral crime in this country and the voices of a few stopped drowning out the sentiments of the many.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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