Taika Waititi’s Voice of Racism is an interactive website revealing the damaging effects of ceaseless micro-aggressions
The new project in collaboration with the NZ Human Rights Commission and Clemenger BBDO challenges the notion that racism does not exist in New Zealand.
- Ruby Boddington
- 5 August 2020
Bringing the damaging affects of micro-aggressions and racism to the forefront is a new project by filmmaker and anti-racism advocate Taika Waititi, in collaboration the NZ Human Rights Commission and Clemenger BBDO. Titled Voice of Racism, the online experience challenges anyone to put themselves in the shoes of those on the receiving end of racism through an audio-visual experience.
Delivered through a futuristic mouth design which responds to the user’s mouse interaction, built by Assembly, every user who visits the site has a unique experience, allowing them to comprehend the profuse impact of unabating racism. The myriad micro-aggressions delivered by the voice are taken from true personal experiences of real people around New Zealand, a country where people would say racism isn’t an issue, Bethany Omeri, strategy director at Clemenger BBDO says. “But racism is complex. It doesn’t always appear to be hateful. It can hide in the words we choose, our well-intentioned actions, our assumptions – and the cumulative effect on people experiencing this racism is huge.” And it’s this ceaseless form of everyday racism which Voice of Racism aims to challenge.
The response to the project has been different from person to person, Brigid Alkema, executive director of Clemenger BBDO explains: “We’ve seen people rip their headphones off after a few seconds, and others sitting with it for a while and choosing to come back to it after mini epiphanies.” They continue to say that the experience is inherently meant to be uncomfortable, to be a challenge, “One you have to actively choose to opt into, ready to come face-to-face with that ugliness, willing to do the work and learn… It’s too easy to agree that racism is bad and then not do anything about it. This project is asking us all to make a decision: care enough to keep learning, or don’t.”
Ultimately, Voice of Racism is a project which confronts users with that which they may previously have wanted to ignore. It invites listeners to unpack their personal journey thought the website experience, reflecting on what they’ve learned and teaching tangible ways to recognise and challenge racism in their own lives.
In summation of the project and what they would like users to take away from it, Taika Waititi simply said: “Listen.”
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.