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Boo Adam Goodes And You Boo All Of Us

13/09/2015 11:21 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Paul Kane via Getty Images
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Adam Goodes of the Swans looks on after being defeated during the First AFL Qualifying Final match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Sydney Swans at Domain Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The booing of Adam Goodes doesn't just hurt him. It doesn't just hurt his team mates. It's not even just about Aboriginal people. It hurts all of us.

We've all been in a scenario when you're in a crowd of people and someone says something racist or sexist or homophobic. We all know how uncomfortable that feels.

Any Indigenous person could tell you a story or two (or more) about a time when they've been vilified. I've got a few of my own.

I'm an avid Swans supporter. When I'm in Sydney I go to every home game.

One night after a game at the SCG I went for a celebratory beer at a pub in Surry Hills with a group of friends.

I noticed a man standing on his own (I realise now that there was probably a reason for that). I asked him if he wanted to join our group so he wasn't drinking on his own.

He was one of us after all, he was wearing a Swans jumper.

After about 10 minutes he asked me why I was so tanned, I told him it was because I was Aboriginal.

Without missing a beat he said that the only thing Aboriginal people are good for is target practice.

To my face. After I'd just invited him to join our group.

Instead of being offended or walking away I felt like it was my duty to try to convince him otherwise.

My friends were understandably very upset. And so was I but I really wanted to make him understand why that wasn't a very nice thing to say.

And I wanted to convince him that target practice wasn't all that we were good for.

This is how we're taught to deal with racism -- explain to people why it hurts and hope that it goes away.

Despite experiencing this sort of behaviour throughout our entire lives Indigenous people are gracious enough to try to explain how it hurts and why we shouldn't do this. But it continues.

This is what I see with the Goodes incident. Here is a man who is booed by thousands. There are even reports from yesterday's qualifying final against Fremantle of people making monkey sounds at him.

And despite this, despite the fact that he has already explained that it hurts, he continues to be graceful and conduct himself with dignity.

There are no longer any excuses.

We should no longer mince our words on this. This is racism.

We can't continue to pander to people who choose to paint it as anything other than this.

We've had so many explanations about how it affected Adam Goodes and the way it made him feel.

We ALL know now how it's perceived.

After the booing incident in July coach of the Fremantle Dockers, Ross Lyon, said "If you continue to boo Adam Goodes, well you're a racist and you're a bigot".

The AFL has condemned it, the players have condemned it.

So why does it keep happening?

What more can we do to get these people to understand that what they're doing hurts?

We live in a country that has the longest continuing culture of anywhere else in the world. A beautiful culture that promotes inclusiveness, family, environment and spirituality at the core of its values.

And the people who are a part of that culture are generous with their knowledge, their lands and their traditions. So much so that when people think of Australia, it's one of the first things that springs to mind.

Doesn't that sound like something we all should and could be proud of?

Imagine if we as a nation could be free of the burden of racism.

How good would it feel to not have to carry around the guilt of knowing that the person sitting next to you at the footy is about to boo, or even worse, make monkey sounds at one of the country's greatest ever football players?

If we have to go to the football and feel worried or anxious about what the person sitting next to us is going to say when Goodes gets the ball (which is a lot, he had 25 touches yesterday) then this is all of our problem.

This is why it's not a blackfulla problem.

It's a problem for all of us.

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