Waleed Aly did another of his 'Something We Should Talk About' segments on The Project on Tuesday, focusing on how Australia responds to racist comments, and as usual, lots of people are saying he nailed it.
Aly said that we should stop "encouraging the inertia of outrage" around such incidents -- such as Sonia Kruger's call to stop Muslim migration to Australia -- and instead respond with understanding.
"We can react emotionally and carelessly with little genuine critical thought. Or we can do something that's much more difficult than that," Aly said.
"When we're presented with something that we perceive to be an outrageous opinion, we can consider what motivated that person and try to understand their fear and then empathise with how they came to that conclusion."
A lot of people responded with big praise for The Project host and his call to 'Send Forgiveness Viral'.
— Cathy Bianchini (@cat_bik) July 19, 2016
Love, understanding, and forgiveness are the only ways forward. Keep sharing information but #SendForgivenessViral— Paul Watson (@paulmwatson) July 19, 2016
But a large number of people, including a number of Australians from Middle Eastern backgrounds, quickly criticised Aly's call for racism to be met with forgiveness.
The issue isn't forgiveness, that's easy. The problem is it keeps happening.... over & over & over again. #sendforgivenessviral— Joumana MWA (@joujoubateekh) July 19, 2016
We're all fearful. Kruger isn't more likely to die from a terrorist attack than I am. Why does that excuse blatantly racist fearmongering?— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) July 19, 2016
When Kruger unreservedly apologizes, then we can #sendforgivenessviral. Until then, I am not apologizing for calling out bullshit racism.— lydia_shelly (@lydia_shelly) July 19, 2016
just catching up with Waleed's thing earlier. at what point do we start asking racists to show empathy and understanding?— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) July 19, 2016
"You might just be angrily tweeting at someone who said something outrageous. What I'm suggesting is while it feels good to choose destruction, right now I think we need to try construction," Aly said.
Dr Niranjala Weerakkody, an expert in media and race relations at Deakin University, said she agreed with Aly that the debate around racism could do with a greater degree of understanding from all parties.
"I think what [Aly] said was really good, it was an interesting new take on the debate... there should be a diversity of viewpoints that should be expressed. I do not agree with Sonia Kruger, but I do not disagree with the fact she has those ideas and that platform," she told The Huffington Post Australia.
"We need everyone to be more objective about these issues. Just saying we have to stop migration is not going to help. We need more understanding, to be looking at all angles and aspects, and figuring out why these people are doing this."
#sendforgiveness ? What a shame that we are told by one of our own to apologise for ourselves pipe down & trying empathising with our haters— Soraya (@sjsaik) July 19, 2016
Waleed clears the social decks for consequence-free racist abuse, in the name of defending another media figure. https://t.co/X9QpEIH4G5— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) July 19, 2016
Dunno. I'm pretty done with non-white ppl constantly being told to forgive white fear & white hatred & white violence. #sendforgivenessviral— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) July 19, 2016
I can't believe anyone would ask nice people to forgive racists rather than asking racists to start being nice people. #sendforgivenessviral— Sophie Meixner (@sophiemeixner) July 19, 2016
Other experts have also weighed into the Kruger debate, with Dr Andrew Jakubowicz, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) professor and race relations expert, telling The Conversation on Monday that it was important for such views and comments to be called out and debated.
"If you're an ISIS strategist you'd think, 'What do I need to really piss off more Muslim people? I really need some rednecks to get stuck into them'," he told The Conversation.
"And then I need no one to stand up and say there's something wrong with that."
#sendforgivenessviral a feel-good faux 'solution' to bigotry that does nothing to challenge structural oppression— lana del neigh (@LanaDelNeigh_) July 19, 2016
@oz_f how does he not realise that he's basically clearing out social space for the free practice of racism and abuse— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) July 19, 2016
#sendforgivenessviral is bullshit. I don't owe empathy toward bigots.— hussky (@lathamsmp) July 19, 2016
I'm scared too, but bigotry, hatred and division is not the way forward or the example we should give children #sendforgivenessviral— Kristina Basco (@aminutewithkris) July 19, 2016
If we apply W. Aly's #SendForgivenessViral to sexism, misogyny & violence against women, then we should forgive all the perpetrators? NO.— Dr Misty-Eyed (@ChristineEwing7) July 19, 2016
I get why Waleed wants to #sendforgivenessviral. It's a nice idea. Imagine if that was honestly all it took to stop racism.— Jenny Noyes (@jennynoise) July 19, 2016