Imagine this. Children squabble in a foreign language and everyone points and whispers. It terrifies you, especially when they mutter under their breath. Your legs are paralysed so they are all brittle, your blood drains cold and you feel your hair decay as you pull at it. The buildings loom over you making you feel small and cramped. You want to go home.
New Zealand has an unknown problem, a very serious problem. 6% of people believe racial discrimination was a reason for them being treated unfairly. A very common way of someone being discriminated is by their skin color, race, ethnicity or nationality. This could be the case because of the way we think about others, and find hurtful stereotypes online in movies or from our community.
Being prejudice means to judge someone before you have any personal experience with them, and put a label on them, based on how they look before you actually get to know them. Normally this happens when you meet someone and give false ideas towards their personality because of their looks. You might not know that what you’re thinking or saying is hurtful, but it is, and even if you keep it on the inside it can still be mean all the same. An example of being prejudice is if you meet someone tall you might think they’re a basketball player, or saying things like girls like pink and boys like blue. A really hurtful comment though is saying mean things to a migrant or a refugee like, “Go home” or “Do you have a bomb?” Sometimes it doesn't have to be saying something mean, just ignoring them is just plain mean too.
The ideas we have about people are sometimes influenced by social media, family or friends or seeing things happen in movies or the community. Wherever the idea is from, it can be hard to prevent. Discrimination causes unhappy people. They can feel as though they are an entrenched victim. In class we were reading an article about how people are still being prejudice towards ethnic cultures. Some people still feel like their cultures aren't being valued in Christchurch so they're feeling different to everyone else.
During my observation of prejudice I've realised that sometimes the effects on someone can be feeling sad just about the culture not been presented and valued in New Zealand enough. It wouldn't hurt just to learn their language and sometimes have a celebration for them. Sometimes this isn't the case, sometimes we need just stop and think, because immigrants need a good change, so be a role model for change.
There are many ways to make an immigrant feel welcome. If you see someone sitting down alone, isolated and looking sad what would you do? Would you walk away or would you sit by them and help them? The nicest thing to do would be to help them and have a chat. This is why I'm going to give you some examples so you can go and help people yourself.
You could just simply go up to them and smile, say hello and have a small chat. Help them if they need help with anything. If you knew them a little bit and they were from a different culture maybe you could ask them how to say hello in their language. This doesn’t only make them feel good but it makes them feel as though their culture is valued in New Zealand.
This stuff is all very good if you don't know someone, but if you see there is someone sitting alone this stuff might not work as well. That is why I have came up with someone other things you could do after you get to know them.
Something good to do would be to invite them in to do something whether it's a party, a play, a club or just a cup of coffee. This would be good for them to show they’re part of the community and it makes them just feel good and confident to try new things around the city as well. There are somethings that the community can do for migrants too, like special services that can help migrants to feel included, but make sure you are including them in what you're doing.
Those are the ways to welcome someone, but there are also many ways to make someone feel unwelcome or alienated. Sometimes people whisper, point and ignore them. That makes them feel unwelcome in New Zealand society. Or people could laugh and tease them about their accent, their name, their clothes or their food. This makes them feel as though their culture is not valued in Nz and they want to leave.
In order to make immigrants feel welcome in NZ we need to make a change. This is important because we want to make New Zealand a more inclusive society where everyone is valued for who they are, and who they want to be. I strongly believe that New Zealand is able to make a change on how welcome migrants feel in our beautiful city. We can change our minds through all this prejudice and all live together in peace. Tomorrow, you should make a change. If you're walking down the street and you see someone with a different skin color to you, in a bad area, would you still judge and keep away from them? As Rosa Parks once said
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Even small difference can make a change.