Many years ago, a story broke, where Bic Runga announced in an interview in Ireland that NZ was a racist place. My response at the time, was one of surprise – how could anyone think that about NZ – the wonderful place where I had lived my whole life?
Basically a belligerent attitude of “how dare she!?”
Fast foward to now. I was out doing the fortnightly grocery shop and heard a Bic Runga song playing somewhere. My mind went back to that story, and my reaction. That is when it dawned on me.
Who am I to belittle her experience?! The things she endured while growing up here – by not accepting her experience I was effectively saying that those experiences didn’t occur – or at the very least, didn’t count.
How dare I?!
Now, my attitude – on it’s own – likely had no bearing on her at all. But that’s not the point. The point is that attitudes like the one I had are part of the problem. Attitudes that seek to shut down anyone speaking against what we hold dear; to not allow ones real experiences to have any value. My attitude was part of the problem.
I’m very grateful to have been exposed to better thinking over the years since – to have been able to grow a little to where I am now. Thanks to all those out there who have been a part of that growth – I appreciate you all.
While writing this piece, I discovered that – as it turns out – Bic was also shocked by the headlines and implications on her return from Ireland.