Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Good Lesson Learned..

IMAGE : ADELAIDE NOW | A Good Lesson Learned
It's very easy being "white", isn't it? Seriously! Give it some thought because really, we don't usually need to. We drift ignorantly through our lives never truly giving any thought to how our God - given features are perceived by the outside world on a daily basis. I was fortunate enough to switch TV channels at the perfect moment last Friday night - just in time to witness the devastated reaction of indigenous Australian AFL player Adam Goodes when a young female spectator hurled the word "ape..." at him as he neared the boundary line. I say fortunate because in that split second I felt something a little life - changing. I felt that (like Adam Goodes) I too had been hit by a bolt of lightning. I watched as he turned and pointed an accusatory finger directly at the young female culprit (equally as shocked by her youthful demeanour as all of us) in order to have her removed. Then I watched him deflate like a man - sized balloon suddenly jabbed violently by a giant needle. I felt the humiliation and a lifetime of discrimination come to head in a moment. And I watched despondently as Adam promptly left the ground, unable to celebrate a win at the final siren.

I don't know about you, but there's no one in my circles that I would consider to be a 'racist'. Along with my friends and family, I was brought up to accept all people as equals regardless of race, colour, or creed and my children share the same views learned from me and my partner. So for a thirteen year old girl to shout such a degrading slur at a grown man speaks volumes about how racism still infects our society through the influence of upbringing and an individual's environment. She's obviously heard such degrading, vile remarks as part of a family's ethos or twisted mission statement - she must have. How else does a child believe that lashing out at someone who is different to her is appropriate? Did she do it believing someone would be proud to see that she shares their hatred for someone who's different to her? Did the relative sitting next to her perhaps give her some quiet encouragement? It saddens me greatly that little babies are born with such a clean slate of acceptance for all which over time gets easily infected by the simple words of cruelty and self - righteousness from those around them. 

My heart breaks not only for Adam and other indigenous Australians who have put up with this their entire lives, but also for the girl herself who really knows no better.  I feel fortunate to have witnessed a man stand up for his race so publicly, teaching the appropriate lessons to those who need to learn.  I hope this girl feels the impact of her words and can perhaps look inside her own circles and see that there's a more tolerant, respectful way to function in her coming years as a teen and adult.

1 comment :

  1. Interesting, comedic side-note: search out her mother's surname.