We have a long way to go…

Racism is well and truly alive in Australia. The recent activities that occurred in an Australian Football League (AFL) match has caused huge uproar in the media and also been the topic of many conversations around workplaces and at home.

During the match, Aboriginal star Adam Goodes was subjected to a racist comment by a 13 year old girl.

Many of the comments that I’ve overheard and also have read on social media and newspapers have indicated that perhaps Adam Goodes was being a little “precious” about being called an ape. To me this shows just how ignorant our society really is, and that Australia has a long way to go in terms of multiculturalism.

To add insult to injury, Eddie McGuire made a terrible “joke” on the radio about bringing down Goodes to promote the new “King Kong” movie just two days after he was called an ape by  the 13 year old Collingwood supporter. Given what had just happened regarding the ape incident, you would have thought that McGuire wouldn’t approach the already sensitive area.

Needless to say, racism will always be a sensitive topic. The comment made by the young girl was innocent if not a little ignorant. Her attitude towards racism was probably a mixture of ignorance and misinformation imposed by her parents.

Racism is not taught, it’s bred. This statement made by Graham Goodes, the father of Adam Goodes rings true to the heart. Our attitude to racism is ingrained from our childhood years. If all our lives we grew up in a household whereby racist comments or our treatment to isolate any group of people was deemed to be acceptable, our children wouldn’t know any better. The issues of isolation and exclusion are modeled within the confines of families. Families are usually the first point of entry for young children to perceive how people see or experience the world and generally speaking this will foster firsthand the beliefs on racism.

I come from a Vietnamese background and have always been subjected to racism. I know what it’s like to be constantly subjected to racist comments whether or not the person meant it or whether they are simply making a statement. It’s always been my belief that until you have experienced racism yourself, you have no right to judge if a statement is racist or not.

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