NZ Human Rights Commission challenges Kiwis to face the reality of racism in new campaign via Clemenger BBDO, Wellington
The everyday racism that exists in New Zealand has been laid bare, with the project ‘Voice of Racism’ created by NZ Human Rights Commission and Clemenger BBDO Wellington.
VoiceOfRacism.co.nz challenges anyone to put themselves in the shoes of someone on the receiving end of racism, and to feel the cumulative burden of consistent micro-aggressions through an audio visual data-driven experience.
Celebrated filmmaker and anti-racism advocate Taika Waititi gives his voice to the data, which is delivered through a responsive mouth designed and built by Assembly. Every user who visits the website has a unique, unpredictable experience, allowing them to feel the overwhelming impact of incessant racism.
Says Bethany Omeri, strategy director at Clemenger BBDO: “Most people in New Zealand would say they aren’t racist. 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.”
The hundreds of micro-aggressions delivered by the voice are the true personal experiences of real people from around New Zealand.
Says Meng Foon, NZ Race Relations commissioner: “Every day in Aotearoa, people experience racism which hurts them, prevents them from reaching their potential, or from living their lives feeling welcome and secure.”
Says Brigid Alkema, executive creative director of Clemenger BBDO: “The site is designed to be endless, with micro-aggressions coming at you from all directions. 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.
“The aim of the project was to collect the raw, ugly truth, and present that in a way that lets you sit with that burden as intimately as possible. This experience is inherently 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.”
Listeners can unpack their personal journey through the website experience, by exploring what they’ve heard and learning how to recognise and challenge racism in their own lives.
‘Voice of Racism’ is promoted through the genuine reactions of people who have been through the experience, including AV directed by Lula Cucchiara of Curious.
Leaders and influential people from different communities around New Zealand have been among the first to respond to the experience, openly sharing their personal reactions and reflections.
Waititi was approached for comment on the ‘Voice of Racism’, and his response summed it up: “Listen.”
Listen and believe that racism exists in New Zealand, and this is what it sounds like.
Client: New Zealand Human Rights Commission
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Wellington
Media Agency: OMD Wellington
Production Company: Assembly
Production Company: Curious Films
Research: Premium Research
Music and Sound Design: Beatworms
Voice: Taika Waititi