A lot has been said over
the last week about Adam Goodes and racism in the AFL. A lot of it has been
unwelcomed and divisive. Conversely, there’s the Fairfax social media campaign,
a call to action to unite against racism. #IStandWithAdam is the sort of thing
that restores your faith in humanity.
My early 20-something
beautician waxing literally yesterday, said, ‘I just don’t see why this is an
issue in this day and age’.
Her boyfriend plays AFL for Hobart, I
barely know what the letters stand for. But I do know a couple of things.
The AFL is ingrained in the
Australian psyche. Fifty years ago, Australian poet Bruce Dawe described the
reverence the game has in our culture.
Since that time, the feeling has only grown stronger. It’s through the lens of
Australia’s favourite game that Australia’s dirty little secret has raised its
ugly head. It’s quite possible no other medium could have done it. So we have
an opportunity like no other to challenge it.
|Nicky Winmar - in response to racial vilification on the field in 1993, 'I'm black and I'm proud.'|
Racism is still an issue
today because white people don’t want to own it. And we sure as shit don’t
like being told either.
#IStandWithAdam is the way
forward. But it’s more than a hashtag.
If you look in the mirror
and you see a white face then here are five things you can do too:
1. Recognise Australia’s first people. Australia has a black past, it has
black present and a black future. That means acknowledging our sordid history
and working with Aboriginal Australia to make amends #treaty
2. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Before making a judgement
about another, try to understand what a certain situation might mean to them
first. What matters to each of us is often culturally constructed; that doesn’t
make it bad, it just makes it different.
3. Facilitate diversity in your life. Make relationships with people who
are different from you – culturally, politically, generationally.
4. When you see racism, name it. What perhaps is most disturbing is that Mr
Goodes stood alone on the field responding to a personal racist attack and we diminished
our humanity by not standing up for him at the time. Just as Lieutenant General David Lindsay
in his International Women’s Day Conference
address of 2013 said, ‘[t]he standard you walk past is the standard you
5. And here’s what I told my beautician, own your own racism. Racism, and
the other ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ are also ingrained in the psyche of white
Australia. We wouldn’t know our own racism if we tripped over our liberal
sensibilities and face planted on it. If you look in the mirror and you see a
white face then you can bet your arse there’s less chance you’ve experienced
poverty, violence, incarceration and illness, than an Aboriginal Australian. So
next time you’re confronted by any difference, remind yourself who benefits and
that you’ve been socialised to protect your privilege. Acknowledge the thing
that raises its ugly head, name it and decide to be different.
Here’s a few of the things that
have been said that The Two Girls particularly liked: