Normal human beings develop or learn negative attitudes or feelings about others, including members of their own family. One can be prejudiced about almost anything or anyone. I, for instance, will not eat beetroot because of its colour. Colour prejudice? Yes! Racist? No!
Some time ago, a brown-coloured Aussie accused a brown-coloured visiting Indian of uttering a racist remark against him. The Indian probably said something in his own language; it might have been quite innocuous. That a member of a team known for its great skill in sledging (whispering denigrating remarks intended to diminish the concentration of the opponent in a sporting game) should make such a claim was seen by the press to be interesting.
But, how could any comment by a coloured person to a fellow coloured person be deemed to be ‘racist’? Skin colour was the basis of racism, initiated by white colonial ‘races.’ What does racism mean today, since there is no agreement as to what a ‘race’ is. Are the ethnically-mixed British or the Chinese a race? Or, is it a political definition?
To confuse the issue, the Australian Government once had a policy of ‘managing multiculturalism.’ This led to some ethnic empowerment, mainly of successfully settled Europeans. Ethno-cultural immigrant communities (all the others having blended, integrated into an Australian people over time) were encouraged to hang on to their cultures with pride. Where Aboriginal people had to put up with both prejudice and overt discrimination for two centuries, all of a sudden, some ‘ethnics’ began to claim suffering from the words of others (while equal opportunity was available).
Discrimination is quite a separate matter (to be discussed in later posts). Like preceding posts, this post is restricted to words reflecting prejudice or negative attitudes, and not actions.
Now, we have racial discrimination legislation. This limits free speech. For what benefit, and to whom? But then how is it possible to discriminate with just words, without any act to damage involved? Removing S.18(c) is opposed by certain people purporting to speak for others. How did these spokespersons come to be so qualified? Did they carry out surveys, and so on?
The powerful State of Israel surely does not need protection from any critics of its policies through ‘racial’ legislation in Australia. Immigrants with pride in who they are do not need protection from the unavoidable ‘ignoramus’ in Australia. Can the Aborigines benefit from racial legislation, assuming they can gain access to it? Who else needs protection from silly throw-away words?
The word ‘race’ is meaningless in reality, and the way it is used in the law. How about human rights legislation, even if that is opposed by the Catholic Church? That cannot happen the way we are ruled.
Ingrained ignorance, reflected in bias, is difficult to erode – except through a moral surge!