Research to Interrupt Racism and (In)equity (RIRI)
While the terms racism and equity are increasingly commonly used, action that meaningfully addresses racism and eliminates inequities is less common. This programme seeks to uncover how commitments to equity and ending racism are undermined, ‘non-performative’ or symbolic only, and how they may need to be reconfigured in the context of Aotearoa to align with rangatiratanga. Understandings of racism and (in)equity are strongly shaped by contextual factors and dominant, frequently changing discourses. These in turn influence assumptions and logics underpinning research questions, methods, datasets, analytical frameworks, indicators and interventions.
In Aotearoa, these understandings often de-centre Indigenous worldviews, limiting the potential to realise transformation of colonial conditions and Māori aspirations for wellbeing and flourishing. This research programme will consider racism and (in)equity from Māori worldviews, and challenge universal and imported definitions that fail to recognise the complexity of Māori historical and contemporary realities and our aspirations for rangatiratanga.
The research seeks to challenge the power dynamics within our society, how current policies and research discourses are framed to create ‘vulnerability’ within Māori communities and thereby frame equity in ways that limit potential for Māori transformation. Interventions that are anti-racist and anti-colonial need to also work at breaking down the artificial borders and binaries that exist in research, including the policing of boundaries between the academy and other communities. The de-valuing of particular types of knowledges and the division into disciplines are epistemic and methodological forms of racism. They also act as a barrier to solidarity and praxis across spaces. This research programme aims to unsettle boundaries to work in more collective and collaborative ways across different disciplines, institutions, and settings.