Former Black Caps batter Ross Taylor has come up with some shocking revelations about racial insensitivity in New Zealand cricket. Taylor, considered one of the greatest ever personalities in New Zealand’s cricket history, announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this year.
In his new autobiography Ross Taylor Black & White, Taylor, who has Samoan heritage on his mother’s side, termed the game in New Zealand as ‘a pretty white sport’ and that he had experienced racism inside dressing rooms. Taylor revealed that many people assumed he was of Maori or Indian heritage because Pacific Island representation in New Zealand cricket is so rare.
“Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport. For much of my career, I’ve been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up,” Taylor wrote in an extract published by the New Zealand Herald.
“That has its challenges, many of which aren’t readily apparent to your teammates or the cricketing public. Given that the Polynesian community is dramatically under-represented in the game, it’s probably no surprise that people sometimes assume I’m Māori or Indian,” he added.
The 38-year-old cricketer mentioned that the locker room banter was sometimes racist and hurtful, but he was concerned that raising the issue might worsen the situation.
“In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. A teammate used to tell me, “You’re half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You don’t know what I’m referring to.” I was pretty sure I did. Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity,” revealed Taylor.
“In all probability, a Pakeha [white New Zealander] listening to those sorts of comments would think, “Oh, that’s okay, it’s just a bit of banter.” But he’s hearing it as a white person, and it’s not directed at people like him. So, there’s no pushback; no one corrects them. Then the onus falls on the targets. You wonder if you should pull them up but worry that you’ll create a bigger problem or be accused of playing the race card by inflating harmless banter into racism. It’s easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do? “ Taylor added further.