I love living in Australia, it’s a bloody good country in a lot of ways. But as a general rule, we’re a bunch of racists. Not necessarily outright racists who abuse non-whites for merely existing, but a lot of Australians are “casually racist” in that they don’t really like other races very much but claim they actually do while bitching about “bloody abo’s” or getting angry over the “problem” with boat people flooding our country.
It’s something that’s mostly glossed over, people make a remark that’s kind of racist and people just ignore it. I admit I have, because sometimes it’s too hard to confront someone about it or you just don’t have the time/energy to start a debate on what’s considered racist. A lot of the time these comments are made by people who don’t even realise they’ve said something racist, they’re just saying what they’ve heard a lot of other Aussie’s say and don’t see it as a problem. And because people never really point it out to them, they go through life not understand just how offensive their casual racism can be.
There’s been a lot of media attention on a 13 year old girl who called an AFL player an ape recently. While it seems like an obvious racial slur, the girl insists she didn’t mean it as such and has apologised profusely for yelling it out. But she’s now become the “face of racism in Australia” and has potentially had her young life ruined because the player in question, the AFL as a whole and the Australian media are portraying her as a racist, conveniently forgetting she’s only a kid and has already apologised. She’s more than made up for her silly comment with the aftermath of this event, and I think it’s horrendous how she was treated.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m defending this girl after claiming most Australians are mildly racist. Well, in my opinion this little girl is being used as a tool to prove we don’t tolerate racism, and unfairly so. Aussies are so keen to prove they’re not racist by vilifying others when they really ought to be looking at themselves. I’m sure most white Australians can think of something they’ve said or thought that’s far worse than calling a man an ape, so to harass this little girl is absolutely hypocritical of us to do. Even if you haven’t said/thought something like that yourself, think of all the time you’ve heard someone make a racist comment and not spoken up. It’s not exactly the same, but just because you’ve not vocalised such comments yourself doesn’t mean you’re any better than that little girl.
I think casual racism is a big problem in Australian society and every time we ignore it, insist it doesn’t exist, or blame it all on the one person who was caught saying the wrong thing, we are only making it worse. Silence implies consent. If you don’t tell someone they’ve been racist, how will they ever know? I’m as guilty as the next person of turning a deaf ear to racist remark, and it’s something I’m working on (so not only will I be a shouty feminist who berates anyone who makes a sexist remark, I’ll also tell you off for being racist, mwahaha). Next time you hear someone mention complain about some race for doing something they don’t like, let them know it’s not on. You don’t have to be an ass about it, a polite reminder will hopefully stop them. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least you tried. You can’t change the world in a day, right?
To conclude, I am going to leave you with something that’s very painful to watch but relevant to what I have been saying. The woman in this video is NOT representative of all Aussies but she’s definitely not alone in her horrible, racist beliefs. But her vitriol isn’t the only bad thing in this video. That bus has a lot of other people on it and the only reactions she gets involve some other bogan laughing along with her, someone filming it and the bus driver asking her to stop. That poor kid had to endure that abuse alone, and I was ashamed. Silence implies consent, so as far as she knows, she didn’t actually do anything wrong. Anyway, see for yourself. WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE.