On change

In which I worry about racism

I think this piece by Scott Ludlam sums up one of my real fears about what this whole debacle in the Liberal Party really means for Australia. We only have to look at what happened to Julie Bishop to understand what they really think about women (they most definitely showed us the hollow logic they apply to ‘merit’ based promotion when they didn’t promote the person with the best polling figures and probably their best-performing minister). But I feel sick at the thought of what our country is going to look like when it comes to race over the coming years. It is extremely sobering to think how superficial our veneer of non-racism actually is, as has been revealed by the United States recently.

I’ve been spending a bit of time in the last year or so examining my own racism a bit more carefully. It isn’t good enough in the current climate to simply count oneself as one of the good guys. More and more I have been realising that my passivity and inaction are themselves a form of racism. I suppose that is something I always knew, but have not fully taken on board. Anyway, one of the things that I have been trying to do is to read a lot of the comment and commentary and to not get huffy and think, ‘Yeah, but …’ and then do a bit of a ‘not all white people’. There is a particular writer I read on twitter and instagram and she is very funny, but very, very dismissive of white people like me. And I’m trying to think, ‘Well, she’s got a point,’ because she does rather than, ‘Yeah, but.’ It’s surprising how quickly it has become easier to think that way and to feel a very real shift away from it being something I’ve forced myself to do towards something that comes much more naturally.

Also, I have a couple of emails and letters I need to finish writing. It’s the 1980s Amnesty member in me. I can’t stop believing that letter-writing is where it’s at even though I do know that in 2018 it’s all about twitter. But I went back to twitter last week and while I see its value in uniting people, I’m not one of those people and honestly after ten minutes I feel so mentally bruised that I am happy to return to my own quiet little place on the internet, open outlook and begin to tap out my email.

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