Significant racism among minority groups, says Asian med student

8:26 am on 3 September 2019

A Cambodian-New Zealander believes racism is an issue amongst minority groups in New Zealand.

University of Otago medical student Angela Huor, was one of four tertiary students and staff that spoke to RNZ News about racism in New Zealand.

Ms Huor, who grew up in Wellington, said the only racism she faced came from people of Polynesian decent.

She said while often walking outside in Wellington, people of Māori or Pacific Island decent would taunt her for her ethnicity.

"Often walking to the bus stop and back people would say things like 'ching-chong China' or ask me for $2 for fish and chips," Ms Huor said.

Ms Huor said her own family, who fled the Cambodian-Vietnamese conflict in the 1980s, have also been guilty of being racist towards other ethnicities.

"Every time I go back [to her parents], even now, pretty much everyday there is this conversation about the Vietnamese or the Chinese or whatever. I think it's a result of the trauma they have been through," she said.

Ms Huor said her parents also discriminated against her non-white friends and would have conversations about bringing over friends who had darker skin, which made her feel angry.

Ms Huor also changed the pronunciation of her surname, to avoid racist abuse.

The name, which is pronounced similarly to "whore", usually attracted unwanted attention.

"Growing up people would laugh. It meant that I always changed the pronunciation of my last name," Ms Huor said.

She would say her surname as Huar, rather than Huor.

Ms Huor said experiencing racism from minority groups had taught her a valuable lesson.

"I think what it has taught me is that every person has the capacity [to discriminate] and we all do it, not just with race, but I think we do it with social status, with religion."