532 Words on: Having a bad name

“The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers” – Marshall McLuhan

Right. Ok. Here goes. The time has regrettably come for me to carelessly piss away the vast army of loyal followers this blog has painstakingly toiled to amass – with blood, sweat and tears – over the past three long months. It was lovely knowing both of you, but I’m afraid I can’t help myself. I’m simply going to have to strike at the very essence of everything you hold dear.

The name ‘All Whites’. I’m sorry, but it’s got to go.

Is it offensive? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not the best person to judge, being all white myself. Although as a lily livered pinko commie liberal I would prefer to err on the side of caution.

Is it a stupid name whether it’s offensive or not? On this question I think I’m slightly more qualified to judge, and I’m going to have to go with yes. Yes it is.

Shall I elaborate? If your answer is yes, read on. If your answer is no, click here.

Dealing with the second question first, because that’s how I roll, I’ll begin by asking you this: If we could wipe the slate clean and choose a name for our men’s national football team, having never heard the name “All Whites” before in our lives, is that what we would seriously pick? Is the limit of our imagination really “All Blacks is taken so let’s go with All Whites”? Say it ain’t so.

Team names should be aspirational. Chiefs want to be leaders. Warriors want to win battles. Black Caps want to… I dunno, write angry emails in bold with the caps lock on? Whatever. The point is what do All Whites aspire to be? Literally a pale imitation of a rugby team and as ethnically diverse as the Orewa Rotary Club?

Because arguably, in the finest traditions of ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘dogs look like their owners’, we unfortunately are a teensy weensy little bit true to our name – living in the shadow of the All Blacks and… a couple of notable exceptions aside… whiter than the White Album.

We should look at this through a lens of cultural sensitivity too, by talking with people to whom it may be offensive, or even just eyebrow raising. White people, especially older white males, should never be the sole arbiters of what’s racist. Let’s do some research to see if the name is a barrier to football becoming more diverse – be it consciously or subconsciously. Because if it is, what do we gain by persisting with it that outweighs the loss of good people we may be alienating?

And here’s a radical thought: do we even need a nickname? Call me a boring old sod, and I probably am one, but I don’t really see what’s wrong with calling it… you know… New Zealand…

Ok, Socceroos does have a nice ring to it and maybe, just maybe, we could find something similar that doesn’t make me want to die of cringe. Socckiwis anyone?

HANG ON!! I’ve got it.

The Kickāpōs!

Seriously. Give me a job in marketing.

No, actually, don’t…