Racist Without Knowing It

I highly recommend reading this article by Waleed Aly on racism in Australia.

He rightly points out that every country has racism and that, compared to some countries, Australia is relatively benign. However, he also rightly points out that we routinely fail to address the racism that we do have, precisely because it is the more benign type, if it is possible to call it that. Here are a few highlights:

Racism isn't always obvious

"That is what bothers me about all the fuss that surrounds these occasional racist diatribes.  It puts the focus overwhelmingly on the most exceptional  kinds of racist behaviour. But are we capable of recognising racism when it isn't gobsmackingly obvious?"

Yes, we most of us aren't like that bigot on the bus, but does that mean we never discriminate, even on a low level? 

Racism isn't alwasy intentional

"But that's the thing about racism: it goes beyond intentions.  The most  insidious kind is just so ingrained it's involuntary."

Yes, we most of us ndon't intend to hurt our neighbours, but is intention a get out of jail free card? You know what they say about roads to hell.

Racism isn't always someone else's problem

"It's easy to point at the barking racists on the bus precisely because they aren't us. They allow us to exonerate ourselves; to declare that if we have a problem with racism, at least people like us are not responsible for it. It allows us to escape self-examination of the racism we all probably harbour to some extent or other. That self-examination is crucial. Without it we have nothing to fix, and only other people to blame."

Where would we be without our media scape goats? Maybe we'd have to look deeper at ourselves. May we be repentant and always repenting.

One thought on “Racist Without Knowing It

  1. Both articles here are excellent. The one on Australia reminds me of a vacation I took to Miami here in the U.S. The Miami area is a South American melting pot of culture, with Cubans, Haitians, Colombians, and many more all living together. It really adds to the city’s beauty, but in another way, it creates a level of “benign racism” as well. I never thought of it until I read this, but it’s very true. As a non-Spanish speaker, I felt as though I were constantly disappointing the waiters, clerks, etc. who I encountered. Spanish was always the go-to language for most exchanges, and I immediately was perceived as an English speaking outsider. Moreover, my lack of Spanish skills forced others to communicate to me in English, which is a 2nd language for many.


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