Taika Waititi Gives a PSA on How a Little Racism Can Go a Long Way

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We’re pretty familiar with celebrity PSAs and donation campaigns, but Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi has a special plea for his fellow kiwis: consider how much you’re giving to racism.

Now, Waititi understands that not everyone is always in a position to give. We all have causes dear to our hearts and can only contribute to so much with limited resources. “Whatever you feel comfortable giving,” he says, “will make a huge difference. You don’t have to be a full-on racist, just being a tiny bit racist is enough.” You see, “A smile, a cheeky giggle, even a simple nod in agreement. It all adds up and it gives others the message it’s ok.” So, while you’re not really ready to start yelling hate speech by children at your nearby park, you can always make the one Chinese woman at your office explain Japanese culture to you or crack some racist jokes to the intern at your office who can’t fight back because of the power imbalance!

See, you can make a difference!

I see you have questions. Don’t worry, Waititi sees your hesitation and defensiveness. “But I’m not a real racist, can I still help?” “My mom says being a bit racist is bad?” To that, acclaimed director Taika Waititi says, “Shut up, mum!” Yeah, shut up mum who wants the world to be a kinder and better place than it was for her generation!

Ok cool, you’re warming up to the idea. But now you’re curious: what do I get in return? Is this like an Omaze campaign where you get a chance to go solve mysteries with Chris Hemsworth or go to a cool movie premiere? A neat t-shirt? Well, global citizen, the answer is nothing. “There’s no benefit whatsoever to being racist.” Not even the respect of saying terrible things that are so outdated and wrong that people give you a platform thinking you’re edgy? Sorry, those spots are already filled. All you get is the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve degraded a person’s sense of self-worth and reinforced power structures that literally put their lives and wellbeing at risk.

Huh, I guess it’s not that great of a deal after all. Maybe we should be putting our energy elsewhere? Waititi concludes, “Remember, the only thing that can keep racism alive and help it grow, is feeding it. Nurturing it. And that’s where you come in. Will you help it flourish? What will you give to racism?”

To join the NZ Human Rights’ cause and give nothing to racism, check out their page here. It reads:

“Racism starts small. Sometimes it lives in everyday actions and comments that we laugh off, nod in agreement to, excuse, and therefore accept. But we don’t have to. We can stop casual racism from growing into something more extreme. We can give it no encouragement. No respect. No place. No power. We can give it nothing.”

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