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A new campaign is attempting to counter rising racial intolerance.
In Australia, you could almost get used to being called a ‘wog’. But rather than vicious abuse, it appears more frequently as casual racism –- an issue as dangerous for a society as a verbal attack.
If you read one thing today, make it this.
Brendan McDermid / Reuters
'Compliments of the 2 Aboriginals sitting next to you on Table 26.'
It's an easy mistake to make, confusing people who look similar. And while the intention is usually not openly racist, it is very often lazy. It implies that you didn't care enough to take the time to really look at someone as an individual. And that is a very real problem for people of colour all over the world.
It would be both naïve and problematic to think that we, as Australians, are 'colour-blind' or somehow 'post-racial.' We aren't. But affording those without a mainstream voice an opportunity to speak about their experiences of racism in Australia, without the issue being co-opted, denied or dismissed, is as good a place as any to start a real conversation about the impacts of racism in Australia.
The fact of the matter is, if someone is offended by your racist "joke" it makes no difference whether you intended it to be hurtful or not. "I didn't mean it in a racist way" or "I didn't mean to upset you" doesn't excuse ignorance.