Garner’s son, 7, faces racism
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’’.