Cookie bar boss calls out racism on so­cial me­dia

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - SHABNAM DASTGHEIB

When a Kiwi busi­ness­woman was the tar­get of a racist post on so­cial me­dia ques­tion­ing whether she should be fea­tured on a lo­cal ad­ver­tise­ment, she hit back.

New Zealand-born Deanna Yang, who is of Sin­ga­pore­anChi­nese de­scent, has been run­ning the Mous­tache Milk and Cookie Bar for the last four years.

The 26-year-old was fea­tured re­cently on a Visa pay wave ad and then in an In­sta­gram post smil­ing and hold­ing up a cookie.

One of the com­ments on In­sta­gram said: ‘‘Asians on a NZ ad. God help us.’’

Yang wrote a strong blog post in re­sponse to that com­menter and to the many oth­ers who still see her as an out­sider in her own coun­try.

She said af­ter 26 years of it, she has learnt to shrug it off.

Yang said she wrote the post What does a Kiwi busi­ness-owner look like? Well, not like me – be­cause I look Asian in or­der to be trans­par­ent about both the good and bad in her life.

She was hum­bled and touched by re­ac­tions to it.

‘‘I know that for ev­ery bad ex­pe­ri­ence there are al­ways more New Zealan­ders who have shown ac­cep­tance and aroha to­wards Chi­nese New Zealan­ders.’’

She said Asian cul­ture some­times tended to sweep is­sues like this un­der the car­pet.

‘‘My blog is not so much about cre­at­ing a gap where there is a ‘them’ and an ‘us’, but just shar­ing my ex­pe­ri­ences to hope­fully open up a rhetoric about an is­sue that is usu­ally stig­ma­tised within Asian cul­ture to dis­cuss openly.

‘‘The more we are hon­est about our ex­pe­ri­ences and show vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to each other, the more we re­alise we are all just hu­man in the end – re­gard­less of race or gen­der or sex­u­al­ity – and the more we can un­der­stand each other and bring down those walls,’’ Yang said.

In the blog post she said she wasn’t born yes­ter­day.

‘‘I get it – in fact, I’m used to it. I was born in Waitakere Hospi­tal, West Auck­land, 26 years ago and since then have been con­di­tioned to ac­cept be­ing screamed on the streets by ‘Ki­wis’.

Yang went on to say that she adored New Zealand de­spite the many racist en­coun­ters she had on a day-to-day ba­sis.

‘‘The more we are hon­est about our ex­pe­ri­ences and show vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to each other, the more we re­alise we are all just hu­man.’’

ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Chief cookie of­fi­cer/owner of the Mous­tache Milk & Cookie Bar, Deanna Yang. Her blog post chal­lenges the racism she faces as a New Zealan­der of Asian de­scent.

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