The Targets of Racism

The language of the targets of racism research was conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand, based on interviews with 19 Maori and five Pakeha partners (Pack et al., 2015a, 2015b, in press). Within the racism literature, the views of ethnic minorities have been largely overlooked (Swim & Stangor, 1998). Brondolo et al. (Brondolo, Brady, Pencille, Beatty, & Contrada, 2009) have reviewed studies focusing on targets, and one example is Mellor’s (2003) study of indigenous Aboriginal Australians, who acknowledged being victimised by both subtle racism and overt interpersonal racism.

The imbalance in considering perpetrators more thoroughly than targets has, arguably, resulted in lost opportunity with targets views and their strong motivation to provide useful analysis of racism being under-researched. The unique perspective and sensitivity victims offer contrasts vividly with perpetrators who can be comparatively unaware of the presence of racism and its pernicious effects. Indeed, within New Zealand there is evidence of Pakeha disbelief in the existence and importance of racism against Maori (Human Rights Commission, 2007). Regarding investment and stake, perpetrators may be disinterested and deny responsibility, while targets are acutely aware of the psychological impacts of racism and are, accordingly, more invested in understanding and explaining racism. It is this rationale which provides the backbone of the argument for investigating targets’ perspectives. The research by Pack, Tuffin, and Lyons consisted of a three pronged approach to racism experienced by Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand. Firstly, the question of targets understanding of why racism takes place was considered. This study looked at Maori explanations and accounts of why others treat them negatively. The second study considered the question of how Maori manage racism. The question of coping with the negativities of human relationships was particularly salient and the third study considered how racism might be minimised. Each of these studies will be briefly reviewed below.

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