InternetNZ says sorry for “institutional racism”
New Zealand ccTLD registry InternetNZ has apologized for its “institutional racism” following a probe instigated by its reaction to a YouTube video last year that incited violence against Māori citizens.
“We acknowledge that InternetNZ has institutional racism built into our culture and structures. These systems, and the way people have acted within them, have caused harm to Te Ao Māori,” the company said in a statement last week.
“We unreservedly apologise for the harm to Te Ao Māori [the Māori world],” it added. “We know that from here, it is our actions that will right these wrongs.”
The apology follows the publication of a report into current and historical structural racism at the company by Māori language advocate Hana O’Regan, commissioned by the InternetNZ Council last year.
The review was ordered after two council members, both Māori women, resigned in protest at InternetNZ’s inaction when a masked individual reportedly uploaded a video to YouTube encouraging the massacre of Māori people.
It seems many believed InternetNZ should have publicly condemned the video, which stayed online for more than a day, as well as used its political clout to encourage YouTube to delete it.
The company apologized a few days later, saying it had not wanted to inadvertently draw attention to the video, perhaps inflaming matters, but said that was with hindsight the wrong call.
O’Regan’s report is more wide-ranging than the 2021 incident, however, delving back into InternetNZ’s roots in the mid-1990s and finding long-term resistance to the asks of the Māori people.
Māori had to struggle to get the second-level domain maori.nz created, while geek.nz sailed through approval, the report says. There was also resistance to enabling internationalized domain names, which would allow the macro diacritic used in the Māori language, it says.
The report also criticized InternetNZ’s decision-making structure as failing to embrace Māori cultural practices, and its membership for failing to be sufficiently diverse.
The company says it has in the last year or so appointed a C-level Māori cultural advisor and created a committee to advise on Māori matters. It is also working on a “comprehensive action plan” it intends to publish early next year.
The 35-page report can be found here (pdf). It’s written for a domestic audience, so if you’re not Kiwi, you’ll probably need Google Translate to follow it. And if you’re an American conservative, it’ll probably pop all your aneurysms at once.
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