Thursday, May 30, 2013
Journalist Brooke Boney: racism - especially during NRW - causes hurt
This week I’m grateful I have people around me who truly care about Indigenous Australians and the issues we face. So many have been considerate and kind, but then there were the others.
We’ve seen the best and the worst come out in the public arena this week after, firstly, a young girl called Adam Goodes an ape. Then, to make things even worse, Eddie McGuire comes out and says Adam Goodes could be used to promote King Kong the musical in Melbourne. Yep. This week. National Reconciliation Week.
Having one of our national sporting heroes called an ape is hurtful, but it’s not the worst part. It isn’t for me, anyway. I can’t speak for everyone. It’s the discourse that followed; people telling me what I should and shouldn’t be offended by. People trying to tell me what racism is, and insisting that, even though they think it’s OK to call someone an ape, that they themselves are not racist.
This morning my Mum called me, very upset, saying they were talking about it on her local FM radio station, Power FM. They were laughing and making jokes and no one, not a single caller, had phoned in to support Adam Goodes or support Indigenous people who might also have been hurt.
And that made me think. Racism causes so much hurt. Not only for the three people involved in this particular situation, but for the entire country.
It hurt every one of my friends who got into a cab/bus/train this morning and had to defend their identity and culture because someone said Goodes should “suck it up”. It hurt every single person who tried to explain via Facebook or Twitter how offensive being called an ape is, and for my poor Mum who has to listen to people laughing about it on the radio.
I’m sure Eddie McGuire doesn’t feel too good today either.
I can’t help but to think about the energy, emotion and time that is spent when we engage in this sort of unhealthy discourse, and how that energy, emotion and time could have otherwise been spent. Imagine if all those negative Facebook comments, retweets, statuses, likes and favourites were about something positive, like reconciling our past. I’m sure we’d be a lot further along that path than what we are now, if that were the case.
It’s a real shame this had to happen this week but I somehow think it must happen this week so we can begin to change the way behave and think about each other.