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NZ test cricket batsman Ross Taylor makes racism claim in new book

Recently retired test batsman Ross Taylor says in an autobiography released Thursday he experienced racism during his 16-year career in New Zealand cricket.
Taylor, who is of Samoan heritage, describes racist locker room "banter" and casually racist comments from some New Zealand team officials.
Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport, Taylor writes in his book, entitled Black & White."
For much of my career Ive been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up. That has its challenges, many of which arent readily apparent to your teammates or the cricketing public.
The 38-year-old Taylor said many people assumed he was of Maori or Indian heritage because Pacific Island representation in New Zealand cricket is so rare. He said locker room banter sometimes was racist and hurtful but he was concerned that raising the issue might make the situation worse.
In many ways dressing-room banter is the barometer, Taylor writes. A teammate used to tell me youre half a good guy Ross but which half is good? You dont know what Im referring to. I was pretty sure I did.
Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity. In all probability a (white New Zealander) listening to those sorts of comments would think oh, thats okay, its just a bit of banter.'
But hes hearing it as white person and its not directed at people like him. So theres no pushback; no one corrects them.
Then the onus falls on the targets. You wonder if you should pull them up but worry that youll create a bigger problem or be accused of playing the race card by inflating harmless banter into racism. Its easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do?
Taylor says a former manager and coach of the New Zealand team made comments that were unintentionally racist.
The manager told Taylors wife, Victoria, that in his experience players of Maori and Pacific Island heritage have problems managing money and offered his assistance.
Taylor said former national coach Mike Hesson once told him my cleaners Samoan. Shes a lovely lady, hard-working, very trustworthy.'
All I could say was oh, cool, Taylor wrote. I have no doubt that (the officials) and the guys who engaged in the banter would be dismayed to learn that their remarks landed with a thud.
Let me be clear: I dont think for one minute that they were coming from a racist perspective. I think they were insensitive and lacked the imagination and empathy to put themselves in the other persons shoes.
What to them is a bit of harmless banter is actually confronting for the targets because it tells them theyre seen as being different. Instead of the message being youre one of us, mate, it is, in effect, youre one of them.
A New Zealand Cricket spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that the national body deplores racism, is a staunch supporter of the New Zealand Human Rights Commissions Give Nothing to Racism campaign and is deeply disappointed Ross has been exposed to this type of behavior.


Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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