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It has been a while since I posted anything, so I hope I’m not too rusty…
With Australia day looming, I thought I would write something about what seems to be a popular subject currently, Australians and racism.
We didn’t really need Dr Charles Teo to tell us that racism is alive and well in Australia, one only has to walk around with eyes open.
For those who missed the stories on Dr Teo’s words, below is a link to the story in the Herald.
I do however applaud Dr Teo for having the guts to come out and say it openly. Considering he is going to say it as part of the NSW Australia Day speech shows not only great courage, but also shows that racism has clearly impacted his life. When the brain surgeon tells us that his young daughter has been told to “Go Home”, because of her Asian heritage, by drunken Aussie revelers, and that this happened while she was out celebrating Australia Day, which is the national day of the country in which she was born, is nothing less than a disgrace. But you know what? I probably wouldn’t care too much if it was an isolated incident, but the fact is, it’s not…
Much of Australia’s racism is brought on by ignorance and fear.
Of course this ignorance is not helped by politicians pandering to the fear merchants…
Idiots like Tony Abbott suggesting that Australia break international laws and turn around asylum seeker boats that are in Australian waters, or just plain bastards like Scott Morrison complaining that the government wasted money flying a young child to the funeral of his family, after they were killed in the Christmas Island tragedy. I mean, how low do we really have to stoop?
Ignorance can be helped by education and experience. I find most people who have racist tendencies have not travelled much at all, particularly abroad. It would be nice if everyone had the opportunity to travel, but I am somewhat of a realist. With that in mind, more needs to be done to educate the next generation of leaders in our schools, however it is going to take more than that to get over the fear aspect.
Thankfully, Hollywood seems to be doing the right thing for once. Television shows like Big Bang Theory, Terra Nova, and The Good Wife (I mean what is there to not like about Archie Panjabi?) seem to be trying to paint inter-racial relationships as the norm, in terms of both friendships, lovers, and partners. Amazingly, it is being done quite well and not coming off corny either, unlike like the old token black characters of old. I do wish we could see more of it on Australian television though.
Hopefully this will have an impact if it is kept up. I believe it will, as like it or not, most of us absorb what is pumped into us by the networks, usually without realizing.
The problem is though, there will always be elements of society that are racist, it cannot be stopped unfortunately. You can’t fight history….
Those who think that the racism issue in Australia is exaggerated, might like to plan a family holiday to Brisbane in April. There the whole family can enjoy the Neo Nazi Festival that is going ahead despite cries of protest. I would provide a link for the event, however I don’t want to promote this sort of ignorance and blind hatred, even unintentionally…
But instead of hating the racist elements, maybe we should pity them. It must be awful to live your life in such fear.
Racists, being so fearful, are clearly the weakest link amongst us. Weak in many different ways, they seem to only act on mass (think Cronulla riots), they seem to be suckers for peer group pressure (hating others because their mates do), they think understanding another culture is too hard (easier to reject it), if they can’t understand something they put up mental barriers (I don’t get it, so I don’t like it).
However, they don’t want to appear weak, so they put up the tough image with the Southern Cross tatts, and the “Fuck Off We’re Full” car stickers.
Although these things are a blight on our society, and although we may be ashamed of their behavior, for now I think we will just have to put up with it, as while most of us hate it, there are those who will continue to encourage it.
To those who do encourage it, I say “Australia has always been a multi-cultural nation, love it or leave it”. Weakness is not a virtue, being a racist does not make you more Australian, in fact, quite the opposite.
There is however one part of this debate that seems to have gone overboard and off the rails a bit. It centre’s around some of the extreme views being vented by some individuals who seem to believe they are representing our indigenous communities.
Just because somebody is born here, is white, and does not spend their entire life apologizing to the indigenous community, does not make them a racist. With this in mind some of the more outspoken activists out there need to take a step back, we all know that you mean well, but think before you speak. Abusing people to gain respect is not unlike fighting for peace, or fucking for virginity, it is a wee bit futile. Apologies for the language, but I wanted to emphasise the point…
I’m not going to mention any names here, but I think we will have all seen them… On TV, Facebook, Twitter, in chat rooms etc… I usually commend what they are trying to achieve, it is just sometimes the method…..
Nobody has a say in where they are born, or what color they are born, so we need to show some restraint. I mean, if I had been given a choice it would have nice to have been born in the Bahamas’ with Bill and Melinda Gates as my parents, but hey……
I know a lot of people who don’t know much about Aboriginal culture, and celebrate Australia Day not to celebrate any invasion, but because they love where they live. Again, this does not make them racist.
I think most of us agree that more needs to be done to ensure that the indigenous communities are given assistance where needed, and supported in their decisions of how they would like to see their communities run. I am all for the hand up, rather than the hand out approach. However people need to understand that abusing someone or calling them a racist, just because they have not followed the events, or do not understand the issue, is not going to win someone over and make them agree with you. Using that line of thought and logic is like saying we are all born racist and as we grow up we learn not to be. Utter Crap.
Racism is more about lack of respect than anything else.
If somebody is not politically active, and does not fight for indigenous rights, but instead offers respect and some understanding, then I for one am happy with that. I think that if more people showed respect for each other, regardless of race, we would be back on the path to being the friendly country we fondly remember.
That would truly make us the Lucky Country.
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