At the moment in my english class we’re doing a unit on prejudice. Today we began the lesson by discussing whether certain statements were racist or not. Soon it turned into a full blown, well, almost argument, on what racism is. I was utterly astounded at just how ignorant most of my class mates were when it came to other countries. I’m in one of the advanced year ten english classes, and some girls were (seriously) referring to Asia not only as a country, but as a language as well. Ironically, one of their friends (and a girl who was doing a lot of it) parents grew up in Iran. They also didn’t know what the Ku Klux Klan were, but I won’t hold that agaisnt them.
We eventually moved on to talking about Aboriginals, and most of the class just couldn’t grasp the concept of how hard life is for (a lot of) them. There were outrageous statements being thrown around like:
“They need to actually make an effort and get a job.”
“They don’t deserve their own health care.”
“It’s their fault, not ours that they’re like this. Why should we have to deal with it?!”
“They get to go to my friends private school for free. I should get to go for free, I’d actually turn up!”
“If I see a white kid hanging with an Aboriginal, I automatically assume they’re derro. I mean, they wouldn’t hang with them if they weren’t!”
And so on.
As one of my friends put it, “they’re poor little upper-middle class girls who think the world revolves around themselves and that the problems they’re dealing with are the only ones that matter”.
This lesson opened up my eyes, and I realised just how ignorant teens of today are. They’re not racist, as such, as they don’t hate/abuse other races, they just aren’t aware of anything to do with them. I think it’s so sad. Especially as we live in Australia, one of the most multi-cultural nations in the world. We need to get past our silly stereotyping and generalizations and learn about the nations our fellow citizens have previously called home. We need to start looking at them as equals, not, as one girl in my class so nicely put it, ‘damn chingers’. And in regards to the Aboriginals, well, we obviously need to up our support and education on their issues. They were the original Australians. We need to get past the bad labels a few of them have seemed to give the entire population, and truly learn from them. Instead of looking at them like they’re good-for-nothing drunks, we need to accept their culture, and give them the place in theirs that they truly deserve.
frangipani princess xoxo