RACISM: Dummies guide to intolerance

GIVEN people of colour (POC) have had their articulate explanations of lived racism readily dismissed by those responsible for perpetuating it, this practical guide written by a white person for white people, may have a better chance of cutting through.

Pinpointing exactly where you fit into our culture of racism will help you identify what can to be done from your end as most POC are sick of having to explain it to you anyway.

Having never been burdened by the weight of racism personally, there have been plenty of instances of it being trotted out casually around me to warrant some kind of checklist for Caucasians.

So with that in mind here are some quick-fire questions to ask yourself and, once you add up the yays and nays, find the group from which you may readily identify at the bottom*:

1. Do you think you have the right to climb Uluru or Ayers Rock as you might still refer to it?

2. Do you believe Australia Day should be celebrated on January 26?

3. Do you think the national anthem's message of being 'young and free' represents all Australians?

4. Do you refer to Indigenous Australians or brown Muslims who stand up for themselves as being 'outspoken'?

5. Do you laugh out loud, giggle along uncomfortably, or say nothing at all, when your friends or family member tell a racist joke?

6. Do you refer to Indigenous Australians (or brown Muslims) who stand up for themselves or their beliefs as being 'outspoken'?

7. Does the subject of racism never get discussed with your friends or family members?

8. Do you believe First Nations peoples should just 'get over it'?

9.. When it comes to race representative do you cherry pick the 'ones' you like ie. Warren Mundine and Jacinta Price but not Adam Goodes or Waleed Aly?

10. When historical examples of terrible treatment of indigenous people is brought up, is your first response to offer a whitewashed version of those treatments ie. white children were taken too, white people were killed too?

11. Do you believe there is such a thing as reverse racism?

12. Do you ever consider people of other races to be friends or have POC in your social circles? Have any been invited to your parties or been to your home?

13. Do you understand or desire to know about some aspects of different cultures including your own country's indigenous history?

14. Do you think it's appropriate for geographical places to be named after people who are known to have committed terrible injustices/crimes towards indigenous people?

15. Did you wonder why Indigenous Australians protested during the Commonwealth Games?

16. Do you think terms like Abo are harmless, fun terms used to describe particular races?

17. Do you tend to judge an entire race by the actions of a few? ie. African gangs, Muslim terrorists.

18. Do you use the phrase 'political correctness gone mad'?

19. Do you get angry when POC call Australia a racist country?

20. Do you believe white people can be victims of racism?

21. Do you purposely use outdated racial terms to keep other races in their place?

22. Do you avoid making eye contact with people from other races?

23. Do you find yourself staring at people of other races?

24. Do you feel standing up to racism isn't your responsibility?

25. Have you ever told someone 'to go back where they come from'?

If you answered mostly yays, start from the top and, depending on the number of nays in the mix, work your way down the following levels of racism to find the one you are most aligned with:

1. Plain ol' racist. You believe other races are inferior to yours. You say things openly and proudly to people to prove your point. You are possibly scared of other races hence the bullying and vicious attitude towards other races. You think multi-culturalism is a disaster for Australia. You are at least honest about your views but you should probably get in the bin now save being thrown in later.

2. Sneaky racist. You bait people with your racist views to test the water looking for a like-minded response to reassure your own stance (see no.1). You harbour terrible views and don't have a problem with this but you are aware not everyone feels the same way which is frustrating to you and makes you angry so you jump on social media under a stupid name to try and keep your views alive.

3. Half racist. You often announce you aren't racist but.... some of your thinking and behaviour reveals otherwise. You often flatly deny it and make excuses when it is pointed out to you. You think Australia is not a racist country that it is an overreaction by a noisy few. You don't think you should have to apologise because you weren't alive when the bad stuff happened and think there is no such thing as white privilege. This group of white people is particularly annoying to people impacted by racism everyday.

4. Acceptable racism. You believe racism exists but think steering clear of it is enough. Unfortunately you are actually complicit in contributing to it by your overall inaction or silence. You know you have friends and family members who are racist but you will never challenge them because it's too hard. This is a big group of white Australia and the reason this country remains at a standstill when it comes to eliminating racism.

5. Almost not racist: you speak up and march publicly and aren't afraid to show your alliance with Indigenous people and acknowledge their terrible historical treatment but when it comes to admitting all the benefits you have gleaned, and still are, because of that treatment (ie. the stolen lands you stand on) you go all Colonial and get defensive about it. You are also shocked by the examples of racist behaviour being experienced by POC today.

6. Not racist. If you aren't in any of the above groups, congratulations you made it to a very small club of white people. But don't get ahead of yourself. You don't deserve a special award, this should be standard practice. Now go and tell your family and friends where it's at.

  • as you may glean this is a not a scientific poll.


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