Reflections

Read through helpful analogies relating to this work, reflect on questions of privilege and identity, find answers to combat common racist narratives, and get ideas for anti racist and decolonial action

Actions

 

Challenge posters

Check out these awesome posters with 10 decolonisation actions for Non - Māori Kiwis and Tauiwi - Led Organisations. They were made by Tamaki Treaty Workers as part of Tiriti-based futures and Anti-racism 2020. 

Have conversations

Have a chat with your whānau, friends, or colleagues about what being Pākehā means to them and share resources with them. Talking and making connections is the best way to make change.

Learn about local history

Research the mana whenua of where you live, and how colonisation imapcted them. The websites of your local iwi runanga and council, museums, and settlement deeds can be helpful, if you can't find anyone to talk to. Then, see if there is any way you can support local iwi and hapū. 

Donate

Vote with your money! If you are able, donate to causes led by Māori or people of colour. Try buying at organisations who uphold Te Tiriti, and make an effort to support Māori artists, authors and businesses.

Name challenge

Often, the words we most commonly use for streets and places are named after colonists, but they have a Māori name relating to the history of the mana whenua of where you live. Finding out about these names can lead into discovering both sides of the history of where you live. Then, try to go a week without saying any place names in English. 1000 Māori Place Names and Ingoa Wāhi o Aotearoa might be helpful! 

Start or join a study group or book club

Meet with a group of friends to discuss the issues covered on this website. Some good places to start would be doing the Me and White Supremacy workbook by Layla F. Saad, or reading documents like Te Tiriti o Waitangi, He Whakaputanga, UNDRIP and Matike Mai and discussing how they are relevant to you and todays world.

Go to a workshop

Go to a Te Tiriti o Waitangi workshop based on the Māori text, and advocate for Treaty educators to visit your workplace or school or organisation.

Protest

Show up to protests for Māori land rights, like Ihumātao, or marches against racism, like Black Lives Matter. If this isn't viable for you campaigns also often have petitions to sign and places to donate. 

Get educated

Use the resources on this website as a starting point to learn about how racism and colonisation impact our society. 

Me and White Supremacy Workbook

Read Layla F. Saad's book Me and White Supremacy, which guides you through 28 days of journalling challenges looking at the basics of white supremacy and racism. It is designed to help white readers to understand and dismantle their privilege and fragility around race. You can do this alone or with a group, learning about and reflecting on a different subject each day. 

Volunteer

Research to see if there are any initiatives  led by Māori or other people of colour that you can support with your time and energy, or volunteer helping to educate your Pākehā friends, family and colleagues. If you are helping a Māori led organisation make sure to support in the background rather than taking a public or leadership role.

After doing some thinking or learning about colonisation or racism, a common question is "What can I do?". These are some ideas of what you can do in your everyday life to fight racism, and white supremacy.

Questions worth asking

Reflection on our privileges, biases and responsibilities can often come out of asking hard questions and confronting the often uncomfortable answers. You could use these questions as journalling prompts, and read Me and White Supremacy for more awesome and challenging questions to reflect on.

Privilege

- How does being Pākehā advantage you? How do the same things disadvantage people of colour? Have a look at the essay Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack for a list of examples

- How do you personally and systemically benefit from colonisation? 

- What do people assume/not assume about you because of your skin colour?

- How have you been able to distance yourself from confronting racism and white supremacy?How have you been able to distance yourself from people of colour?

- How are people of your race represented across society and especially in media? How is this different to the representation of people of colour? How does this affect you?

Identity

- Where are you from? Where do you call home and why? 

- How do you describe your race, culture, ethnicity and nationality? How are they different? Why do you identify in the way that you do?

- What is your genealogy? Where are your ancestors from and why did they come here? 

If your family has been here a long time, what where your ancestors interactions with Māori like? 

- How has being Pākehā impacted your identity and sense of self? What does Pākehā culture mean to you?

History and Te Tiriti

- What were you taught about the history of Aotearoa and by who? Is what were you taught true? If you were taught about Te Tiriti, which version were you told was 'correct'?

- What would Aotearoa be like if we all honoured Te Tiriti o Waitangi? 

- What is the history of where you live before and after colonisation? If there is a settlement deed from local iwi/hapū have you read it? Did a local rangatira sign Te Tiriti?

- How does Te Tiriti o Waitangi impact your life? If it doesn't, why? What actions can you take to be a Tangata Tiriti?

Racism and white fragility

- What conscious or unconscious biases do you hold against people of colour? How do those biases impact the people of colour around you?

- Do you call people out for being racist? Why or why not?

- Do you use stories like 'it's worse in Australia' or 'we have the best race relations in the world' to minimise or deny the racism that exists here? 

- How comfortable are you talking about race and racism? Can you admit to your own racism? Why or why not?

Analogies and metaphors 

 
 
Metaphors are a really great way of being able to visualise and understand sometimes complicated concepts that might otherwise be tricky. Below are some awesome analogies people have come up with when trying to describe how racism shows up. 
Saying "All Lives Matter" as a response to "Black Lives Matter" is like saying the fire department should spray down all houses in a neighborhood, even if only one house is on fire, because all the houses matter. And yes, your house does matter. One hundred per cent. But your house is not on fire. - Keegan Micheal Key (based on the cartoon by Kris Straub)

Imagine your privilege is a heavy boot that keeps you from feeling when you’re stepping on someone’s feet or they’re stepping on yours, while oppressed people have only sandals. If someone says, “Ouch! You’re stepping on my toes,” how do you react?

 

Because we can think more clearly about stepping on someone’s literal toes than we usually do when it comes to oppression, the problems with many common responses are obvious. - Presley Pizzo, Kayla Reid and Amelie Lemont (Guide to Allyship)

Unearned privilege is a tailwind. Those who benefit from this tailwind are thrusting forward and making headway. . . Because the tailwind is invisible, it is easy to assume that individual effort alone is what is producing that progress. 

 

Structural disadvantage is a headwind. Those who are working into the wind are working hard, pushing forward and making little progress. Unseen forces are working against them, each effort exhausts and moves them forward little.

 

Unlike the tailwind, there is never any doubt when you are cycling into a headwind. . . You can see others sailing past, revelling in their success and oblivious to the prevailing wind. - Mary Breheny (The Tailwind of Privilege)

. . . The widespread efforts to ecologically decolonise Aotearoa of rats, possums, stoats, old mans beard and other noxious exotic species may provide a helpful touchstone for considering the decolonisation of human systems. . .

 

We cannot restore all past harms - resurrect the trees that were felled, or bring back to life the species that were driven to extinction - but we can remove the destructive colonial imports so that the endemic plants and animals can thrive again.

 

We do not seek to banish all European species from Aotearoa (you can still grow tulips or roses in your garden, or keep a carefully monitored pet cat!) but we want to ensure that those that remain do so in balance, without damaging te taiao or Indigenous ecosystem. - Ocean Ripeka Mercier (Imagining Decolonisation) 

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks. - Peggy McIntosh (White Privilege - Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack)

If you stand close to a birdcage and press your face against the wires, your perception of the bars will disappear and you will have an almost unobstructed view of the bird.

 

If you turn your head to examine one wire of the cage closely, you will not be able to see the other wires. If your understanding of the cage is based on this myopic view, you may not understand why the bird doesn’t just go around the single wire and fly away. You might even assume that the bird liked or chose its place in the cage.

But if you stepped back and took a wider view, you would begin to see that the wires come together in an interlocking pattern-a pattern that works to hold the bird firmly in place. - Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility) based on the theory by Marilyn Frye

I like to think of privilege as an invisible door person. Someone who opens the door for me at certain times and then closes it in the face of others, or sometimes, closes it in my face. . .

 

If you're used to your entire life, of someone opening the door for you and then they stop, it feels unfair. It feels like it's getting slammed in your face. And you could ask "Seriously? How could you not realise someone was standing there opening the door for you all this time?". It seems so obvious to everybody else. . . 

 

To be fair, we're conditioned to not see the invisible door person. We're conditioned to not see our privileges. We're conditioned to see unequal privilege as normal. - Thomas Owen (The loss of privilege)