Blackface incident “racist and dehumanising” – Iwi leader

Blackface santa parade

Ngāti Ruanui iwi leader, Debbie Ngarewa Packer has called the actions of a community group racist after they donned blackface in a Christmas street parade.

Six members of the Hawera Mt View Lions group painted their faces black as they rode along a float yesterday evening.

Ngāti Ruanui iwi leader Debbie Ngārewa-Packer is appalled at their actions.

“There is no other way to portray what they did as being absolutely racist and dehumanising.  It creates a mass stereotype of a race and its typical of a western-centric view and sit there and make fun of another race.”

A photo of the float has been circulated widely on social media, with many criticising the group’s actions.

In a Facebook post last night the group defended their actions, saying “let’s not be too precious or PC” and that their customs were a celebration of all cultures.

“What happened last night undoes some of the good work that Lions clubs do, but it also reminds us that we have a long way to go before we get equality and equity.  They need to own it, take responsibility, publicly apologise and fix it.”

Originating in America, blackface is a form of makeup historically used in performances by non-black performers to mock black people.

Ngārewa-Packer witnessed the float in the parade and was astonished at what she saw.

“The theme was black and white and they thought being black minstrels was an appropriate way to pull that off.”

Read full article here – https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/blackface-incident-racist-and-dehumanising-iwi-leader

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