Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can't take a (racist) joke?

I've been following with interest the stories in the media about recent racist remarks made by Andrew Johns and Mal Brown. For the most part there has been almost universal condemnation of the comments and the attitudes behind them, particularly for Mal Brown's dismissal of his comments as 'just a joke' - as if that somehow excuses referring to Indigenous footballers as 'cannibals.'

It's good to see so many commenters on the various news sites condemning the remarks. But there were enough other commenters dismissing the outcry as 'nonsense', 'political correctness' and suggesting people needed to 'harden up'. Others bewailed the fact that it only seemed to be racism when whites did it - "I get called white b8#%&d all the time but that's never called racism".

Um, that's because generally white people do not suffer institutional racism based on the colour of their skin in Australia. You're not stereotyped because of your skin colour. You're not discriminated against because of your skin colour. You're not the victim of laws based on your skin colour.

Tell you what, try spending a lifetime being put down because of the colour of your skin, and see how it feels for someone to tell you to harden up, or it was just a joke when a racist epithet is flung your way.