Sunday, 27 October 2013
You never really get over it when you’ve been the victim of racism. Westerners will tell you to “build a bridge and get over it” and you find a way to move past it, but the experience never really leaves you. During your most private moments, when you’re not busy and your mind is left to wander, it comes back to haunt you and you spend those moments asking why it happened and whether it’ll happen again today, or tomorrow, or the day after. Sometimes you literally need a distraction to make it through the day.
It seems I’m not alone in this: Sydney Swans’ Adam Goodes hasn’t gotten over the racist attack he suffered at the hands of a teenaged girl.
The thing that grabbed me about the story is this photo: one man defiantly pointing out the racist while the crowd looks and stares. This, to me, is the essence of what’s so difficult about pointing out racists in Australia, and why it isn’t spoken out about more often: every time you point out a racist, there’s a crowd of onlookers who stare blithely at you. Some of them have no idea what’s going on, some of them think you’re being unreasonable, or they think you’re making a false accusation, or they just want to see someone make a scene. Apathy, ignorance and complicity all rolled into one.
Of course, they’re all entitled to think whatever they want. But in the context of speaking out against discrimination, it feels like you’re challenging not just the actions of the racist, but also the views of everyone else who’s there. And take my word for it, the vast majority of these things don’t end like “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
It takes courage to do what he did. I hope he can find a way to get over it because his example is one that more should follow.