This Week Australia Showed That We Have A Long Way To Go With Racism

Politicians and reality TV have shown us how people try to ignore issues of race.

Australia has a problem with racism. And as much as people may try to ignore it, it’s a very real problem that needs to be acknowledged and rectified.

In school, whenever we would learn about Australian history, we always learned about white history and how great it was that the British landed in Australia, and that we should be proud of our history.

Of course, this was just the version of history written by the victors – i.e. white settlers.

The history that we were taught didn’t tell us about the massacre and genocide of the Indigenous people in Australia, and slavery was only ever discussed in relation to America.

Politicians Don’t Seem To Understand Racism In Australia

So if that was my experience with Australian history in the education system from 2004-2016, I can only imagine how much worse it would have been when older generations were at school.

I guess that’s why Scott Morrison legit said that there was no slavery in Australia. (BTW dude, you’re the Prime Minister of Australia – maybe go and learn about what actually happened here before opening your mouth.)

ScoMo isn’t the only politician to ignore issues of race in our own country. Population Minister, Alan Tudge, used the racial diversity within this season of Masterchef to try to say that Australia isn’t a racist country. In an interview with Sky News, he said:

“Even when you look at pop culture, some of the most successful and popular people have got a more diverse background. Such as on MasterChef at the moment, which is the most popular TV show, where one of the judges is Chinese, or has ethnic Chinese background, and many of the contestants, who are hugely popular.”

And ICYMI: Tony Abbott was awarded a Queen’s Birthday Honour for his contributions to the Indigenous community and border control efforts during his time as PM. He was also ScoMo’s special envoy on Indigenous affairs. I’m not making that up – a white guy was the envoy on Indigenous affairs, and he got an award for keeping asylum seekers out of the country and spending a week per year in Indigenous communities.

If these people are going to hold high positions within the Australian political sphere, surely they should have at least a basic understanding of Australia’s long history of gross mistreatment of BIPOC.

Issues Of Race Still Exist Even When It Isn’t Shown On TV

Over the past week, a bunch of people on Twitter have pointed out the fact that reality TV has been highlighting issues of race.

In The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, people of colour don’t typically make it to the finals, and often act as filler cast members who we don’t get to know very much. And now in the revamped season of Big Brother, the first three eliminations were of POC – a Fijian-Australian woman, a Chinese-Australian man, and a Korean man.

This seemed all too convenient for many viewers.

But this sort of thing happens every day whether it’s seen by the public or not. Do some people only care about racism when they can physically see it happening?

During the coronavirus pandemic, there was a number of both physical and verbal demonstrations of racism within Australia, and around the world. This racist bullshit was only fuelled even further by the sheer number of people who believed that it was an Chinese disease, resulting in the unfair targeting of anyone who appeared to be of Asian descent.

Why is it that these cases went by without much discussion from the general public online, but it’s only when it’s seen on TV that people start talking? Is there a ‘it has to be seen to be believed’ type of thing happening here?

When politicians are dismissive and ignorant about the history of their own country, it erases the experiences of those who suffered. Slavery happened in Australia; people in Australia are racist and discriminate on the basis of race; and reality TV is only showing a small piece of that racism. If you’re going to be outraged by the racism demonstrated by our politicians and on reality TV, you should also be outraged by the cases that aren’t given a prime-time spot on TV.

Image Source: Instagram (@bigbrotherau)

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