“Brown face in a vanilla line-up”: Ross Taylor makes shocking racism claims in autobiography

Tags: New Zealand, Luteru Ross Poutua Lote Taylor

Published on: Aug 12, 2022

Former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor has made some shocking revelations about racism he faced during his long stint with the national side. In his autobiography Ross Taylor Black & White, Taylor, who has Samoan heritage on his mother's side, termed cricket in New Zealand "a pretty white sport". He added that he did not escalate the matter because it was likely to be considered as mere "banter" by those involved in alleged racial behavior.

In an extract published by the New Zealand Herald, the legendary former cricketer wrote, "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.”

He added, “That has its challenges, many of which aren't readily apparent to your team-mates 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 Maori or Indian.”

The 38-year-old opined that, In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. Elaborating on his thoughts, he wrote in the book, “A team-mate 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.

"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 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,” he further wrote.

On the dilemma he faced, Taylor explained that he was wary of being accused of playing the race card. He wrote, "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?"

Reacting to Taylor’s revelations, an NZC spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald, "NZC deplores racism, is a staunch supporter of the NZ Human Rights Commission's 'Give Nothing to Racism' campaign, and is deeply disappointed Ross has been exposed to this type of behaviour. We'll definitely reach out to Ross to discuss the matter."

A giant of Kiwi cricket, Taylor represented his country in 112 Tests, 236 ODIs and 102 T20Is, scoring over 18,000 international runs.

–By A Cricket Correspondent

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