Following his retirement from international cricket earlier this year, Taylor wrote in his new autobiography Ross Taylor Black & White that the sport was “a pretty white sport” in New Zealand and that he had encountered racism inside dressing rooms, which was probably perceived by those involved as “banter.”
“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 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 Māori or Indian.
“In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. 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.
“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?”