Chris Rattue: Diversity commitment high-profile tokenism

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said recently that New Zealand is ready for the first gay All Black. Photo / Getty
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said recently that New Zealand is ready for the first gay All Black. Photo / Getty

Well unchain yourself from that railing. New Zealand rugby has discovered people who aren't male or white. They are talking the D word. DIVERSITY. I'm picking on rugby here - out of the 'enlightened six sports' - because it is so dominant and obviously not diverse/inclusive in high places.

What this new cross-sports policy really represents is high-profile tokenism. And the white blokes who control the national game have no intention of giving up their power, a la society itself.

As a member of the white male mafia, I know how hard it is to see the world in any other way. Yes, I do have quite a bit of native Canadian blood, but mentioning that is just more tokenism.

White blokes rock. We rule. We come up with all the good ideas. We must run everything. Nobody else can be trusted, especially with power and money.

Remember when Helen Clark was the Prime Minister and all those loud murmurs about how the country was in the hands of a cabal of, oh no, dastardly women. Even women loudly murmured this. Some claimed that, worse still, too many of these powerful women were romantically involved with other women. And the point it is?

Yet in the long history of men running this joint do you hear that the Prime Minister's thinking has been twisted because he's surrounded by, drum roll, MEN.

Let's face it. White males (or males in general) are scared for the future of the world - ie. themselves - should they lose control of anything, and they are brilliant at getting everyone else thinking this way. We have done such an amazing job, cough cough, that our domination must continue.

Diversity initiatives are like nationhood. Have you ever noticed how countries with Democratic in their titles aren't? Organisations with diversity programmes aren't diverse and won't be while they need a special programme.

Nirvana on this subject is a natural environment where people of all shapes and sizes and genders and colours and sexual orientation rise to genuine influence as of right. This doesn't happen in society, let alone the white boys plaything of world rugby.

New Zealand rugby has made tremendous "diversity" strides in the top level coaching ranks, in a healthy organic way. It sure has in the player ranks, surprise surprise.

But rugby is still a torchbearer for colonialism - sending an All Black team for a one-off game in Samoa was a special project deserving over-the-top praise. Compare rugby to football, where FIFA insists that genuine home and away contests drive World Cup qualification.

Polynesian players are great. But Polynesian administrators? Hang on fellas. A lot of the white troops will be thinking the following: a major reason why they bother to get up in the morning will descend into chaos if Polynesians run rugby. They certainly don't want Polynesians or women dominating the board. And people bang on about South Africa, but maybe we need an All Black coaching quota system to get Maori/Pacific Island people there (the history books don't make pretty reading for our native people in All Black coaching jobs).

When it comes to true diversity, call us when Polynesians are running New Zealand Rugby, there is a woman CEO, an Asian refereeing boss, tangata whenua fill the All Black coaching roles, and a transgender person is on the (NZR) Sky commentary team...and it all seems completely normal. This latest diversity lark is a PR move, a sop which means it is an impediment to genuine change.

Hang on for the statistical reports trumpeting its success however. And the people running this hoodwink are so conditioned to holding power they probably don't even realise the trick they are playing.

- NZ Herald

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