Tackling racism will take some work

Tackling racism will take some work

Okay, maybe John Howard doesnt really know about the underlying racism in this country. After all, he didnt know about children overboard, WMD, Cornelia Rau or what happened to the 353 people who drowned on Siev X when our patrolling aircraft didnt see them. (Whatever became of that inquiry?)

People like the Aborigines have known about racism. So have the Chinese. Every ethnic group in this country has experienced some form of racism or xenophobia.What happened at Cronulla was something that should have shamed every one of us. It wasnt the Australian way of doing things, though Im not too sure what that means anymore.

What we saw was a disgrace. It doesnt have to be this way.

Im sure weve not forgotten the Sydney Olympics and how it brought us all together. And the win against Uruguay was more than just a game of football. I imagine that many of us were quite emotional at the sight of multicultural Australia celebrating the victory of our team. Our piddling, insignificant differences were forgotten in that moment of euphoria. That was how it should be.

Of course theres fault on both sides. A minority of some groups display an aggression that just isnt on, though they were matched by a mob of alcohol-fuelled ugly Australians in that disgusting spectacle at Cronulla.

If our laws are broken then the police and the courts should uphold them and leave no doubts in the minds of the offenders what the penalty will be. And for our part we could try being a bit more welcoming and understanding of cultural differences while theyre adapting to our way of doing things.

This governments human rights record is not something of which we can be proud. Howard and his team have let us down by not strongly denouncing racism when theyve had the chance. Now our cricket spectators are sledging the South African cricketers with racist taunts. What blatant hypocrisy when you consider that Australia also practiced apartheid.

Weve got too good a country to stuff it up now. But weve all got to work at it.

Barry Walsh

Lismore


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