Stamping out the racism epidemic

26 Nov, 2020
Unite against Racism

Graduating Industrial Design student Phoebe Lee has imagined a future Aotearoa where the epidemic of racism has been stamped out.

In her provocation ‘Racist as’ for the Good Health Design Making Methods Symposium, Phoebe confronts the systemic racism prevalent in Aotearoa from the future vantage point of 2121.

“Throughout the pandemic, the structural racism in our health system is clear to see,” says Phoebe. “I want to prompt people to view racism as a virus we can stamp out in the same way we’ve united against COVID-19.”

In 2121, Phoebe imagines our health system treating racism with as much urgency as our COVID-19 response. She has designed a health information leaflet advising “how to speak to a loved one about racism.” This leaflet also identifies the different types of racism – structural, systemic, interpersonal, and internalised – and suggested courses of treatment.

Another provocation presents hospital scrubs in skin tones, from the darkest tone labelled with ‘Surgeon’ on the chest, to the palest with ‘Cleaner’.

A large balancing scale looks at the tools we can use to rebalance the health sector, with weights such as ‘Tino Rangatiratanga’ and ‘Māori Health Authority’ ready to be placed on the scale.

“I hope Racist as sparks conversation and reflection on racism in our health system and Aotearoa,” says Phoebe. “The purpose is to open up discussion, thinking, and learning about the impacts of colonisation, and how Racism has shaped our institutional structures.”

Phoebe drew inspiration from the campaign she is part of, driven by concerned citizens, entitled 'Māori self-determination for Health.' This campaign calls for Māori commissioning for the proposed Māori Health Authority. Phoebe encourages participants to join the campaign's petition at the conclusion of her display.

Below are some images from Phoebe's display.

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