Celebrated New Zealand director and actor Taika Waititi, whose film "JoJo Rabbit” earned the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and also garnered a Best Picture nomination, lends his voice to a project by the NZ Human Rights Commission that aims to show people what it’s like to experience incessant racism on a daily basis.
A website, Voices of Racism, created by agency Clemenger BBDO, invites people to put on headphones and press a button to listen to a barrage of racist comments, all based on "micro-aggressions” experienced by real-life New Zealanders.
The words, spoken by Waititi, are delivered through a responsive mouth, which was 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. And if someone doesn’t understand exactly why a comment is racist, there’s a button they can click to get an explainer.
“Most people in New Zealand would say they aren’t racist,” explained Bethany Omeri, strategy director at Clemenger BBDO in a statement. “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 site is designed to be endless, with micro-aggressions coming at you from all directions,” added Brigid Alkema, executive creative director at Clemenger BBDO. “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.”