I’m planning to submit this to the school newspaper (after some extensive editing) and I was wondering what y’all thought about it. My google-fu has failed me and I was wondering if any of you could point me towards people who have said this better (I know Angry Black Woman has a great post up about political correctness). My main concern is whether I should go into depth about the history of racism in Australia or whether I should just leave it short and sweet.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend at this school in which racism is seen as something cool, new and edgy. This makes absolutely no sense when you consider that our entire culture is steeped in racism, even if we don’t have an official White Australia Policy. Our television shows feature all-white casts, Muslims are vilified in the media and beige crayons are advertised as skin-colour. Racism isn’t new, it is as old and mainstream as you’re likely to get.
Some of you will be nodding your heads at this, having grasped the concept that racism is bad. But racism is everywhere and you just might be a racist. A racist isn’t an endangered monster, easily identifiable by tusks. Racists are human beings, people you might even like, people that are funny and smart. If you stereotype based on race, you’re racist. If you make a racist joke, you’re racist. If you laugh at that racist joke, you’re racist.
The “just a joke” defense gets a little old. You may think you have a right to laugh at the expense of others. So what? The fact that you find racism funny says far more about you than it does about the people who don’t like hundreds of years of brutal oppression being minimised. Your jokes create a hostile environment for people of colour. When it comes to jokes involving race, err on the side of caution. Losing a few laughs is an easy price to pay for not being an asshole.
Yes, this school is tolerant and more diverse in comparison to some of the surrounding schools. It is better than those schools in the same way that a broken arm is better than a broken leg.
Don’t accept racism. Speak up about it.
I wrote the article mainly because I needed to do something. If I do something, I want it to be effective, helpful and not inadvertently clueless. So, what do y’all think?