Mick Gooda in SMH: Real people affected by racist taunts
Excusing comments that put anyone down on the basis of their race is not ok. It is irrelevant whether the joker or the immediate recipients are not offended.
What matters in this case, is that the Australian Indigenous population is largely offended.
The general public needs to know that, however unintentional, however seemingly inoffensive their defenders say they are, jokes and offensive descriptions that perpetuate stereotypes actually hurt Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Real people are affected by these incidents each time they happen. Like invisible tentacles, the jibes, the put downs and the stereotypes extend to other levels, ensnaring participants along the way – in the schoolyard, in the workplace, in shopping centres and in neighbourhoods around Australia.
Anotehr good SMH article by Sean Gorman : Ignorance lies at the heart of ‘innocent’ racist gibes
That sportsmen are not aware of their offence is part of the problem.
IT SAYS a lot about racism that a man such as NSW State of Origin assistant coach Andrew Johns can go through his entire professional and personal life and not understand that there’s something wrong with calling indigenous Australians, Maoris, or Torres Strait Islanders black c—s. Or that former Richmond player Mal Brown can describe Aboriginal players as ”cannibals” and say it is ”all in jest”.
Johns’s blustering quasi-apology made him appear somewhat anachronistic and, dare I say it, stupid. Perhaps we should be thanking Johns for the simple reason that due to his status as one of the all-time best rugby league players, the issue will be given oxygen and the conversation commenced once more.
This is the core of it. The intent of the sledgers doesn’t matter. Whether the sledged players who are on the field with them decide that it’s no big deal doesn’t matter. How it affects other people who look like those players because of the attitudes it appears to endorse – that’s what matters. That people could remain so ignorant of how a continuous low-level background of racist taunts is a horrible burden to place on people they call mates is what matters.
I wonder whether white middle-class Australia would have been so ready to accept the authoritarian NT intervention (which has yet to charge a single indigenous person with any paedophilia offences, despite how it was sold to the voters) if negative stereotypes of indigenous people weren’t emphasised and reinforced by the unexamined racial slurs that are seen as so acceptable to use when “just mucking around”?
Categories: arts & entertainment