Where to from here?

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Firstly, I would like to personally thank everyone who has been involved with the #benicethinktwice campaign for your likes, shares, comments and general supportive nature surrounding such a sensitive topic. It’s one that needed to be discussed and clearly still needs attention not only in Australia, but worldwide.

The most encouraging aspect of the campaign was the amount of young people who were willing to join the campaign. That tells this blogger that our society is on the right track when it comes to eradicating racism. #benicethinktwice hopes the next generation will continue to pass this message along with the same desire for change.

Our blogs have touched upon numerous topics that bring awareness to racism. Schools are currently doing a good job in bringing awareness to racism not only in the playground, but they’re providing students with workshops with how to deal with social media abuse. Furthermore, the entertainment that we watch can contribute to people becoming lax about racism. Often people can disregard a racist remark because it’s seen as a ‘joke’. We’ve also looked at racism in sport and politics and how important it is to admire a good, respectful role model! All of this can lead us back to the main tagline our campaign, Let’s remove racism, one post at a time. It’s simple, but we think it’s effective.

We will certainly continue our strong stance against racism and raise awareness to the broader community. Reaching more young people will be a great aim. Hopefully, if we continue to use the power of social media for the right reasons, and engage in healthy debate, it will go a long way to eradicating this anti-social behaviour.

To determine our next steps in the campaign, it would be great if you could fill out our simple survey. There are three questions on the form and it can be done in seconds.

Check out our survey here!

Words hurt.

Let’s remove racism. One post at a time

#benicethinktwice

JAL

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How Can You Help? 5 Simple Steps

how can you help

#benicethinktwice has attempted to show racism in many forms, but how can you contribute to making our society a more welcoming environment.

  1. Be Nice. Think Twice. Although it’s clichéd and the name of the campaign, we believe it sends a good message. If you think you’re about to make a joke or saying something racially motivated, think again. It’s simple.
  2. If you see someone being racially abused, say something! Imagine what it would be like to be in that person’s situation. You would want to feel supported. Empathize with the victim.
  3. Talk to Somone. Whether it’s in a school environment, at home, work or online, there are always people willing to help and support you. This blog included! We’re all striving for the same goal.
  4. Don’t support racist behaviour online. There are many ways to share your disapproval of racist content online. This initiative by the Victorian Government seems to be a great place to start.
  5. Be active in sharing your opinions. Whether you make your own content, share what others have to say or drop a simple like or comment for something you truly believe in. There are numerous hashtags and logos (including ours) that you can share that have a simple yet powerful message.The Government’s official campaign allows you to support the campaign by taking a photo of yourself and uploading to their website with a Racism. It Stops with Me border. Show your support here!

For more information on how you can help, visit https://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/what-can-you-do

Words hurt.

Let’s end racism, one post at a time.

#benicethinktwice

JAL

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Racism: My Own Personal Experiences Part 2

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Continuing from the previous post, the second time I have experience racism involved a comment aimed at me. I was playing rugby for my School when a racist comment was made after I tackled a player over the sideline. At first, I didn’t think the comment was directed towards me until I looked up and saw that the player was looking directly at me. Many things ran through my mind. I was surprised, then I felt proud of my tackle, then proud of my heritage and then angry that someone thought that they had the right to belittle me and my team mates.

As it all happened so quickly, I didn’t address the racism at that moment as I couldn’t find the best words. I did however, give him greater attention when tackling him and running at him during the remainder of the game. While I believe that the comment was made more towards the general ethnicity of the team, the situation has given me much greater empathy towards those who are racially abused.

Although racism can occur in all different environments, I do feel I have been extremely fortunate to be the subject of minimal racism. I can certainly see how being the victim of racism can affect someone. It can make you forget your heritage by making yourself someone you’re not. No one should have to go through that. Everyone should be allowed to be proud of their family’s past.

Words hurt.

Let’s end racism, one post at a time.

#benicethinktwice

JAL

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Racism: My Own Personal Experiences Part 1

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I have been very fortunate in my life that I have experienced racism on a personal level on only a few occasions. On one of those occasions, I witnessed a racist incident at a rugby league game in Sydney. I was sitting in the middle of a very parochial crowd with some friends when the play came close to our seating area. One of the defending players, who happened to be indigenous, seemed to trip up the attacking player. The illegal act was missed by the match officials and the players on the attacking side reacted aggressively.

This action by the players seemed to encourage an equally aggressive response by the crowd in my area. A person sitting near us stood up and yelled racist remarks at the indigenous player. While two of my friends giggled, many people around us were shocked by the comments and one person called out saying something about the inappropriateness of the racist attack. The man who made the racist comment hurled abuse in return. The next thing I remember was seeing security officers talking to the man and then escorting him away from the area.

I was very impressed with the courage of the person who challenged the racist, but disappointed that very few supported him, including me. Although I was young, to this day I feel guilty that I didn’t say anything and also that my friends found humour in the situation.

Although the incident was not directed at me, it went a long way to changing my perspective on racism and how it affects others. I’m hoping that the player was not aware of the remarks unlike Adam Goodes as they were incredibly insulting and words that should and will not be repeated in this blog.

Words hurt.

Let’s end racism, one post at a time.

#benicethinktwice

JAL

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Racism in Public

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This blog has touched upon quite a lot of sensitive racism issues prevalent in our society. This week is no different with the topic of racism in public. I’m appalled that in 2015, this is still a very real topic to discuss.

We’ve all seen the video of the Australian woman on the train impersonating the Chinese lady simply because she can’t get a seat on a busy train or when ABC news presenter Jeremy Fernandez was subjected to a racist rant on a bus in 2013. He described it as, “his own Rosa Parks moment.” These are by no means the only time we’ve seen such hateful and unwarranted behaviour take place on our public transport system as there are unfortunately more incidents that have occurred – both documented and undocumented.

So what’s the reason behind the countless videos online that all have the same “genre” as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane describes it? I believe those who upload these situations to social media are gaining awareness about racial discrimination in a way that we haven’t seen before as they can reach millions of people in a short amount of time. Part of that is the fact that these situations are all too real and can happen to anyone.

We have seen countless times that videos such as these will go viral and support will be shown to the victim. Only recently a video was uploaded to Facebook, which featured a 20-year-old man (Moise Morancy) from Brooklyn being racially vilified by a woman on a bus in the U.S. Moise has stated on his Facebook page that, “I thank you all for sharing the video and bringing attention to this injustice!” As of writing this entry, the video has been viewed almost half a million times and had many comments of support.

By uploading these videos, it encourages others in a similar position to do likewise. It gives people a voice and inspires bystanders to not simply watch, but support the victim. The video featuring the Australian woman on the train, quickly apologized after the video went viral, but what’s heartening about the situation was the amount of support that was given to victim by fellow strangers on the train.

Have you ever witnessed a racist attack in public? Let me know in the comments. How did you react?

Words hurt. Let’s end racism, one post at a time.

#benicethinktwice

JAL

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Racism In Schools: Time to Educate

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I can’t stress enough the importance of a good schooling experience. It can set you off on life’s journey in a positive manner and can give kids a great deal of confidence in moving forward. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those children around Australia who are the victim of bullying as a result of racial vilification.

According to altogethernow.org.au, 1 in 5 school students experience racism everyday. In fact, schools are the primary location for racism to occur among children, with the majority of culprits being other students. Further, children who were born in non-English-speaking countries are much more likely to experience racism at school. Deakin University research indicates that the most common form of direct racism in schools is being told, “you don’t belong in Australia”. It was also found that students are excluded by their peers because of their race, while over 10% are physically abused by their peers.

Schools are often regarded as a micro community that encapsulates the characteristics of society, and it is no different when it comes to racism. It is clear that the experiences of school students reflect the rise in racist behaviour in the wider community and many young people struggle to negotiate the tensions that they see in society. The many racial debates occurring in the wider Australian community, explains why there also exists racial divides in our schools.

Schools are a very important setting of socialisation in which racist behaviours and attitudes can either be argued against or supported. Teachers, pupils, and parents along with key figures in the local community, need to develop a united front to combat racism to build schools with a strong sense of mutual respect and belonging. Equally important is the support of great role models delivering strong anti-racism messages as well as a way of educating and empowering young people to confront racism when they see it.

Words hurt. Let’s end racism, one post at a time.

#benicethinktwice

JAL

Articles Sourced

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-31/hip-hop-helps-students-overcome-racism-in-australian-schools/4854174

http://www.smh.com.au/national/children-born-overseas-feel-pain-of-racism-at-school-20140412-36k69.html

Part 2: Racism in Entertainment

FILM AND TELEVISION

Last week we kicked off the discussion of racism in entertainment by explaining the worst racism seen on and off the sporting field. Now we’ll explore the racism seen in film and television. Forms of entertainment have long been used to reflect current social commentaries. The novel-turned-film, To Kill A Mockingbird, looked at the racial inequalities around the time of its release in 1960. It has been suggested that the novel was shaped by issues arising in Alabama around this time, the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 as a result of Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a bus and the 1956 race riots due to admittance of the first African American student into the University of Alabama.

Fortunately, Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general have for the most part, moved passed the days of films such as The Birth of a Nation, which showcased white actors in blackface in lieu of black actors. The film depicts the lynching of black people and racism in general as positive and was credited at the time with helping to revive the KKK.

However, although today’s films and TV shows seem to be more progressive in respecting all races – with directors such as Steve McQueen (African American) and Alfonso Cuaron (Mexican) winning Academy Awards for their respective films, 12 Years A Slave and Gravity and actors such as Miranda Tapsell (Indigenous) winning awards for her roles in Love Child and The Sapphires, the use of stereotypes in films are still too often used as a form of entertainment.

Hispanics

Hispanics often play the characters of maids or gardeners such as Jennifer Lopez’s character in the aptly titled, Maid in Manhattan, or the character of Consuela in animated series, Family Guy. Furthermore, the appearance of the villain, who happens to be a Mexican wrestler named Eduardo in Despicable Me 2 is quoted in the Guardian as being, “fat, big-nosed, sentimental, and wears an open-necked shirt exposing a large medallion over his hairy-chest […] He runs a Mexican restaurant.” This is racial stereotyping gone too far.

Asians

Asian men in Hollywood are often seen as nerds who don’t play sport, but are great at mathematics, technology and are often seen as non-masculine. This was a comment on the TV Show 2 Broke Girls when talking about the short, workaholic manager, “You can’t tell an Asian he made a mistake. He’ll go in back and throw himself on a sword.”

Blacks

African Americans are often depicted as vulgar, being physically violent (thugs) or lacking self-control. Often they are a supporting character to the white lead.

Key and Peele

Key and Peele was a very successful comedy TV series that provided an interesting commentary on the racial relations between blacks and whites in America. Their sketches include critiques on police brutality, slavery, an anger translator and opened themselves to racial sporting and political stereotypes.

In an article written by salon.com’s Katrina Richardson, she states, “This makes the black characters seem like fools and the result is a show that makes fun of blacks in a way white liberals will allow themselves to enjoy, under the guise of “talking about race”.

This is a strong statement about a show that aims to bring racial issues to the forefront. Is comedy allowing people to believe that racism in this form is acceptable? We all know racism is not joke and that humour should not be used for its justification. Why then is racism still permitted to flourish in film and television?

Here are a few examples from the show

JAL

Articles Used

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/21/key_peeles_toothless_post_racial_lie/

http://racerelations.about.com/od/hollywood/a/Five-Common-Black-Stereotypes-In-Tv-And-Film.htm

http://racerelations.about.com/od/hollywood/tp/Common-Stereotypes-Of-Minorities-In-Film-And-Television.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/apr/06/repressed-brits-evil-mexicans-arab-villains-hollywood-animated-movies-stereotypes