‘That’ Racist Remark – Why I Wasn’t Shocked

27 May

It’s interesting to read all of the outrage being aimed at the young girl who made racist remarks about a sportsman this week. What was it that shocked people, the fact that it was said or the fact it was said by a 13 year old or the fact it was said by a 13 year old girl? It didn’t shock me that it happened, which is a shocking statement but it’s true.

The fact that the person who made the remark was female didn’t shock me. A few months back I was waiting at some traffic lights next door to a bus stop. The bus stop was scattered with school children waiting to get home. Also waiting at the traffic lights was a car with two women in it, I watched on in horror as they openly pointed and laughed at one of the children at the bus stop, a young black girl. Of course I don’t know what they were saying but I have a fairly good idea. One of them looked at me to join in the joke and seemed taken aback that I looked at her and shook my head. I felt for that girl because that is probably something she will have experienced before and will go on to experience again.

If people were shocked by the age of the aggressor, I wasn’t. Working in primary schools I was initially shocked to observe racism on a regular basis. This may take the form of a child continuously refusing to work with another because of their different skin colour all the way up to full verbal attacks consisting of the most explicit forms of racist language. The fact that this nasty little seed is sown in people of such a young age is shocking but given that this behaviour takes place in Prep classrooms I wasn’t particularly shocked by the age of this girl.

The fact that the incident took place within a Footy ground didn’t shock me either. When I first moved to Australia I thought I would try and blend in and get my head around this ‘footy’ business that everyone was babbling on about. The Footy Show seemed like a great place to start, I watched in horror as one of the hosts used the word “monkey” to describe a picture of a Malaysian man he was poking fun at. This was followed up with “that man is not long out of the forest”. That shocked me. It shocked me that this all played out on a major television channel. It shocked me that this show is supported by leading figures in the world of AFL. It shocked me that the same bloke was allowed to show up the following week and it shocks me that he gets away with that sort of thing because it’s expected from him. This is a show that is aimed at the core footy culture and that is one reason why this week’s incident didn’t shock me.

The most shocking thing about the incident for me is that it wasn’t really all that much of a shock. My expectations have been lowered. Were you shocked?


20 Responses to “‘That’ Racist Remark – Why I Wasn’t Shocked”

  1. Kassey May 28, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    Oh the stories that could be told. Our family is mixed & even within family the ignorance is shocking.
    Needless to say racism is so deep seeded in this country as with many other countries.
    Makes me sick.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 12:30 am #

      Its definitely not exclusive to Australia and there is plenty going on back in England, its a real shame. Thanks for always commenting Kassey

  2. Mrs D May 28, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    That horrid football show should have been axed years ago & Sam Newman should be permanently gagged, he’s a revolting man. I wasn’t shocked by it, but more shocked by the reactions of some people & the fact that it was (& is) an acceptable way to behave. We have a long way to go methinks.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 7:02 am #

      I don’t think its something that will ever disappear, England is a truly multicultural country but its rife their aswell. Some people just can’t accept that others are different.I just read your post on the same topic, very nicely done. I might have to pick your brains one day about a move to tassie its on our radar

  3. Neets May 28, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    We live in a sad world. Tell me, as a primary school teacher, do you think enough is done in schools on the racism front? I don’t recall it being hot on the agenda when I was at school but that was 30 years ago 🙂

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      I think it is tackled but sometimes it can be a bit of a token gesture. There is lots of discussion about other countries and cultures and then its up to the teacher to take it that step further and discuss acceptance – some will and some won’t. The kids don’t really understand the relevance of what they say but those on the receiving end probably do. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Dominique May 28, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I was really impressed by the way the footy player reacted to it. First just get her out (some may have engaged in a verbal battle), second, when talking to the press aknowledging that at that age she wasn’t the bad guy – that the fact it was in her list of acceptable behaviours was bad (cue dirty looks at her family members), third accepted her apology. Very classy and mature.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Yeah he did good didn’t he, not sure I’d have the same level of restraint – class act!

  5. Meagan @ Permanently Parenting May 28, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I wasn’t shocked either, as I prep teacher I already witness it. It’s sad that even at that age we are trying to stomp out racism.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Glad you can back me up on that one Meagan, it sounds so unbelievable. Thanks for sharing

  6. Jolene's Mumbo Jumbo (@Jolenejolene9) May 28, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I am sad that I totally agree with you. When I first moved to Australia (12 years ago) I was shocked by the cultural difference between what was deemed appropriate to say here compared to at home. Sure, the UK had racists when I lived there of course, but it was never so widely accepted. People would say that shit, but it wasn’t cool.
    I bring my children up to accept everybody no matter what the colour of their skin or their origin…but it sometimes feels hopeless, whilst so many others don’t…and it is something I feel very passionate about.
    I guess, the media bringing attention to it,and highlighting it in a negative light helps…but will never erase what children learn at home, and that makes me very sad.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks Jolene, it sucks that you can invest so much effort into doing the best for your children and then they are exposed to this sort of thing from areas that are beyond your control. Keep on doing what your doing, we need more like you

  7. Zanni Louise May 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Typically, I didn’t hear about it until I read about it on social media. By that time, it had been thrashed to death, so no, I guess I wasn’t shocked either. 13 year olds are older than they seem.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      Not much gets past social media these days does it Zanni? I have no idea if the girl knew the relevance of what she said but there are people in that culture not setting great examples

  8. Rory Mouttet May 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Good post mate – honest and it’s a sad reality.

    • daddownunder May 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Thanks Rory. I’m surprised how many people have voiced an opinion that its not a racist comment, it must have a different connotation here than it does back home.

  9. Julie May 29, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    I knew racism was there. But since Justin and I have been together I have personally witnessed and been on the brunt of racism so many times I have lost count. It is too ingrained in every culture to ignore it any more. I truly believe we as parents are totally responsible.

    • daddownunder May 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

      I think you might just be right there Julie. There’s an awful lot of confusion about what the term even means, unfortunately as you say it’s everywhere. You guys look like a beautiful happy family, strong enough to rise above the nonsense

  10. Neri May 31, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    I absolutely love watching footy, and I took my four year old to his first AFL game last week as a part of our family holiday. The stadium was great and the home team had a massive focus on families and inclusiveness. But, of course, some dickheads were shouting a few choice words at umpires, right in front of the kids.

    Then there are my own parents, who say some of the vilest things about supporters of another team; this case of a girl shouting stuff and then even Eddie McGuire got in on it on national radio! It really taints what should be a great family experience and even makes me ashamed to say I enjoy the sport sometimes.

    It really angers me that this stuff is still happening in 2013. On one hand, I want to remove my son from the footy scene so he’s not exposed to all that crap, but on the other hand, perhaps if more people like me start supporting the game and make strong efforts to teach kids right from wrong, then perhaps the next generation won’t be so ignorant and awful.

    Great post.

    • daddownunder May 31, 2013 at 5:00 am #

      Thanks Neri, glad you liked it. Again some people think that entering a sports stadium (the same the world over) allows them to behave as they wish, they wouldn’t shout those things in the street so what is the difference? I guess you can’t penalise your son for the ignorance of others, just keep doing what your doing and teaching him right form wrong.

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