Gar­ner’s son, 7, faces racism

The Southland Times - - TELEVISION -

AM Show host Dun­can Gar­ner has shared the heart­break­ing story of the time his son was on the re­ceiv­ing end of school­yard racism.

Gar­ner said he was so an­gry when his son Buster, 7, was told by an­other child he couldn’t use the school slide be­cause he was ‘‘black’’.

‘‘It makes me an­gry, you know, [that’s] my lit­tle boy,’’ he said.

‘‘I felt like my heart was shak­ing.’’

The in­ci­dent hap­pened about 18 months ago. Gar­ner said it was the first time Buster (who is Ma¯ori) had ever talked about skin colour.

‘‘Buster knew that wasn’t right, ‘what do you mean I can’t go down there, I’m black’?’’ Gar­ner re­layed.

Buster ran to his mum, Gar­ner’s wife Deanna De­la­mare - a teacher aide at the school - and told her about the in­ci­dent.

‘‘He got quite up­set about this,’’ Gar­ner said.

He said De­la­mare dealt with the mat­ter by talk­ing to the boy who said the com­ments calmly, by ex­plain­ing that ‘‘we don’t talk like this; ev­ery­body plays to­gether nicely’’.

‘‘And [she] didn’t make too much of a big deal of it but did ad­dress it, so sort of found a mid­point,’’ Gar­ner said.

But the sit­u­a­tion clearly rat­tled Gar­ner, who said he couldn’t stop think­ing about it all afternoon.

‘‘I don’t look at him and think he’s Ma¯ori or he’s black or he’s white, he’s Buster,’’ he said.

He went onto say that racism in chil­dren be­gins with par­ents.

‘‘What­ever you say, our kids are par­rots, so they par­rot us,’’ he said. ‘‘All I’m say­ing is, what you say mat­ters in the car, or what you say around the din­ner table mat­ters, be­cause our kids are all ears and they just soak, they are like a sponge, they soak up what you say, so we need to be the lead­ers on this,’’ he said.

Gar­ner was re­cently re­buked by Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sioner Su­san Devoy for an opin­ion piece he wrote for Stuff about im­mi­gra­tion and a ‘‘night­mar­ish glimpse into our fu­ture’’.

Dun­can Gar­ner

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