5 things you can do about racism

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.  And the tides of life will be the tides of the home-team’s fortunes – the reckless proposal after the one-point win, the wedding and honeymoon after the grand final …Life Cycle (for Big Jim Phelan), by Bruce Dawe
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 Morrison AO in his International Women’s Day Conference address of 2013 said, ‘[t]he standard you walk past is the standard you accept’.
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.


What can you do?

Here’s a few of the things that have been said that The Two Girls particularly liked:

Booing Adam Goodes:Australians must unite against racism, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 August 2015
Adam Goodes’ booing ordeal a test of who we are, The Brisbane Times, 1 August 2015


Here’s our post on racism in Hobart, The not so loveable bit about living in Hobart.

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