I know, I know, this topic has been done to death elsewhere. But a blog needs to tackle the hard stuff (eventually)...This article
by The Age (28 June 2007) is very inspiring. It talks about "ARAB, a grassroots performing arts project working with young people from Melbourne's northern suburbs. Its goal is to tap into a hunger for artistic self-expression that it says exists among youth in the region who would otherwise have limited options. And in the three years since it started, hip-hop music, dance and comedy have worked to erode cultural barriers in a way that other outlets don't."
Sixteen-year-old dancer Leah Buchannan is also a member of ARAB. She says her "Anglo" name and the fact that she is the daughter of Scottish and Filipino parents made her a constant target of school bullies. "As a person that is half-caste, I got a lot of racism and bullying. I was called a lot of names."
It makes me think that maybe my Mum is right, that our future kids will still be discriminated against for being "half-caste" despite everything. I wonder if we can ever live in a non-judgmental world. Perhaps it all starts with stereotypes.
One of the movies that I love is called Crash
, which Oprah Winfrey
couldn't stop talking about. In this episode
of Oprah, we are encouraged to confront ourselves. By perpetuating these stereotypes, or myths, are we being racist? The argument is that these generalisations arise because most Jews are
rich, most Indians are
cunning and most Asians can't
drive. They argue that it's not racism because it's (somewhat) true, and these preconceptions can 'help' us in dealing with others of different ethnicities.
Throw away your misconceptions! MOST does not mean ALL, and it's easy for you to judge others, but turn the tables around and see how you deal with being judged.
I still get looks of surprise when I meet someone for the first time and they realise that I can speak English with no accent (actually, there is an accent, an Aussie accent). For some reason this makes them think I'm more intelligent than I was before I opened my mouth. One of my colleagues was getting frustrated when she ordered fish and chips takeaway because "the guy couldn't speak English". She treats him like an idiot, when he probably did a Masters degree in China and has double her IQ. It happens so many times throughout our daily lives that we just accept it and/or ignore it. Our Lord Mayor John So
, who actually speaks very articulate English (if you listen to what he says), is told he has "20 consonants short in his alphabet"
for having a strong Chinese accent. There are more examples, such as this article
by Sam de Brito in his blog All Men are Liars
. I mean, in this day and age, you'd think we live in an accepting society.
Apparently, an accepting society starts with what we implicitly accept as individuals. How many times do we get caught up in a mob mentality where we feel discomfort about voicing our opinions because others do not share the same view? How many times do we laugh and dismiss those calls of "bloody wogs" or whatever? (like in this article
) Maybe it's time we take notice and break the habit. Seriously. We know that we shouldn't accept
any of it, but we do.
The article mentioned at the start of this post, whilst positive and heart-warming, demonstrates just how senseless racism can be. As more and more interracial couples in the world produce mixed children, their struggle to find identity in a world ruled by prejudice can be particularly detrimental to their self-esteem (as if kids need more reasons to have low self-esteem). I hope that my children won't have to go through that, but I know they will.