Why Are We So Afraid of Another’s Culture – and why do we have to be so immature about it?

Fiona Katauskas' cartoon 'The Goodes, the Bad and the Ugly' portrays various situations of Aboriginal people being victimised then being blamed for acting like victims
(Fiona Katauskas |  04 August 2015: http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45125#.VcHPKPmqpBd)

I’m talking of course about the problem a lot of people seem to have with Adam Goodes and how proud he is of being Indigenous. They also dislike how willing he is to call them on their bulls—.

Look, I know some of those booing him may well have done so because they think he’s a tosser or whatever generally. But the fact remains that many of those booing do so for racist reasons, whether they admit that or not. Also, due to past circumstances – related to how proud he is about his culture – Adam Goodes feels the sting of those boos as racism. In these situations, I believe it is the feelings of the injured party rather than the perpetrators which need to be honoured. He says he feels it’s racist – so it should be treated as such.

I stand with Adam Goodes because I feel that he has a point. Australia has a shallow underbelly full of racists – usually white middle-class men who need to check their privilege. It’s not just Goodes and Indigenous people who are being swiped at either: Muslims and refugees and others too. The government aren’t exactly helping, either.

These racist white men (and some women, to be fair) think that other people should all be “just like us” and everyone who isn’t – who dares to belong to a different culture and is proud about their heritage – well, that’s just unacceptable. The “offender” is classed as Other, treated as Them, who are Not-Like-Us.

These people need a reality check – like those who go on that SBS show, Go Back To Where You Came From. Remember, it’s cultural relativism not ethnocentrism that we need.
Of course, some are too set in their ways to change, which is a pity. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call them on it – it means we should call louder. Discussion is always good and who knows, we might convince the person sitting next to them.

I am sorry, but while I value free speech, I do believe that there needs to be acknowledgement that completely “uncensored” free speech can be hurtful and detrimental to society. As I’ve said before, it’s one thing to be a bigot; it’s quite another to discriminate or harrass someone based on our own narrow-mindedness.

Do we really want this sort of thing to be something we’re known for, for instance? I say, heck no!

By the way, casual “accidental” racism is still racism, in part because it masks the more sinister, vitriol-spewing type. So think before you speak or boo, yeah? Don’t be afraid either to call out the ignorant ones, even if that’s just reporting them to security or whatever. That’s the only way we’ll get the chance to shut them up. We want to create a society, surely, that builds up others – not breaks them down.

Think about it.

References from others more eloquent than I:
The Age articles, especially from Saturday’s great issue with its wrap-around support banner.

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