Most Australians say racism is a problem, so whose job is it to speak up about it?

Posted by tabitha

While staying in a Melbourne hotel on a business trip, her husband Seyi, who has dark skin, was singled out by an attendant and had to prove he was a guest before using the pool. (Other guests received no such treatment.)

“People look at him differently, especially if we go to country towns,” she says.

When the Australia Talks National Survey asked Australians if they thought racism was a problem, the vast majority — 75 per cent — said it was.

Included in that number are Australians who haven’t experienced racism themselves. So how do they see the problem? And whose problem do they think it is to fix?

To find out, we spoke to four Australians who haven’t experienced racism to see what they had to say. But, first, let’s hear from Seyi.

Seyi, 38, sometimes just has a sense that people see him differently — and it’s something that can play on his mind.

“There are instances where you just know [that someone is discriminating against you]. That’s more difficult to deal with than somebody calling you a name,” he says.

He’d been staying at the hotel for days, and he’d used the pool with Renae without any problems.

“I gave her my name and my room number, but she didn’t take that and went back to her desk as other people freely walked in and out,” he says.

“Having a child has made me think about it more. I want her to be able to have every opportunity and not to have to deal with it in the same way I have,” he says.

While the vast majority of people aren’t racist, most people like to avoid confrontation — which makes standing up to racism hard, Seyi adds.

“When these things rear their head, it’s easier to sit and be neutral. And I think there is an obligation on all of us to speak up. I’m sympathetic to people, because it’s not easy at all,” he says.

Kaiya Jones, 23, was eight when she came to Australia from Scotland.

“I’m always quite shocked when I hear of open and bold discrimination going on, because I haven’t really [seen it] myself,” she says.

“I would hope that I would stand up and say something like, ‘Hey, that’s not OK’.

“There’s definitely a lot more [racism] on social media. I think some people feel more comfortable expressing negative opinions of other people on social media, which is a whole other ballgame.”

When she first came to Australia, she says other children picked up on the things that set her apart, and some made her feel unwelcome.

“I had a different accent, I called things different names and, to begin with, I looked quite different and I acted quite different,” she says.

source : abc


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