A survey by Debbie Kohner has revealed that more than 90% of all non-Europeans in Nelson and Tasman area have suffered racial abuse of one form or another, from abuse directed at children as young as five to frequent comments from passing cars. It’s a shocking statistic. I don’t believe that this problem is confined to one region, racism is endemic in NZ and seems to stem from xenophobia in many places. I’d also like to see the figures for how many people of European origin have experienced racial abuse (often from other ‘Europeans’) because we do hear news reports about accent rage as in the cases of Irish man Robbie O’brien, and the 6 English and Dutch tourists beaten and stabbed in Cashel Mall and anti American vitriol.
Debbie Kohner is a solicitor from Northern Ireland and no stranger to the issues of conflict and racism which she studied whilst in Belfast, there the consequences of irrational and stupid prejudices are all too well known about. She’s also the granddaughter of Jewish refugees who fled the Sudetenland during the second world war and so seems superbly equipped as an outsider to define and examine racism in New Zealand with an expert eye.
Her survey included such simple questions as “Have you ever been treated badly because of how you look, the way you speak or where you come from?” Read more here: Racial abuse high in Nelson