Sunday, 2 June 2013

Racism is alive and well.

Racism is alive and well.


Watching Glory Road, a story about a basketball team in the US who play predominantly African Americans, the first team to do so made me stop and think. It caused me to reflect on racism in Australia; more specifically racism against Aboriginal people. Over the last week or so we have seen two separate racist incidents direct at Adam Goodes; one by a child the other a well-known TV presenter and football CEO. While the incidents are of course upsetting for Adam Goodes, the timing cannot be better. I increasingly hear, that Australia is not a racist country. That there is no racism against Aboriginal people, that “I am not racist”. These statements cannot be true in the wake of the incidents against Adam Goodes. These two incidents were covered heavily in the media but what about the incidents that are not covered. Almost everyday I hear that someone I know who has been the subject of racism. And the days that I do not, it doesn’t mean it has not occurred.


As an individual I can do very little about it, however that does not stop me from doing and saying what ever I can to counter the racism. On a personal level, I live my life in a way that shows that Aboriginal people are not the stereotypes that continued to be maintained. I am well educated, well spoken and career orientated, yet I am still Aboriginal. I work for an Aboriginal organisation, I respect elders, my land and my people. I believe that Aboriginal people are strong and proud, as I am a strong proud Aboriginal woman. I believe the little bits that individuals make contribute to a bigger movement.


Beyond defying the stereotype’s, I look to work toward a future where Aboriginal people can just “be”.  The career path I have chosen is not about the money I could make but working to promote a future where Aboriginal people are afforded all the opportunities this “lucky country” has to offer. This country has and sometimes continues to, deny Aboriginal people opportunity. There is nothing “lucky” about that. Therefore I fight for the people who cannot fight for themselves. The people who have suffered more than they can handle and their ability to fight has been extinguished. I fight for those who do not know how to fight and for those who are too young to fight. I fight for those who are too tired to fight. I fight because things do not change on their own. We need to be the agents of our own change, because no one will hand it to us.


We live in a time when racism is more covert. Where people hide their racism because racism is no longer PC. Where people who do not experience racism believe it does not exist. Complacency will only hurt us, which is why even though Adam Goodes is hurting, the racism he has suffered is what we all suffer as Aboriginal people and now Australia has not choice but to see.


So when people question me on why I fight for Aboriginal people. That is why I fight. Because if those of us who can fight do not we will continue to live under the cloud of racism. And the gains the generations before us made will slip quietly away.


Summer May Finlay


  1. Well put Summer, I often say to participants in my workshoips that racism is not something we as Aboriginal peoples or peoplesof many other minority groups in this nation, have the right to think abouteach morning, we know it is there and we know if it doesn't smack us in the face today it sure will tomorrow. Racism is something that the majority population have the basic right to consider each morning as they roll out of bed and continue on with their days. They can choose whether to take part in the abuse, or to sit on the 'fence' and let things be (which is in essence no different to being personally involved) or they can chose to stand up and fight against such issues. It is only with the support and the voice of the majority that racism will subside and discontinue having the detrimental impact it does on minority gorups throughout Australia.

    1. Thanx Clinton, I think sometimes Aboriginal people choose to site on the fence as well which compounds the issue.

      Though you are right, Aboriginal people can not do this alone, the majority need to be also stand up against racism toward Aboriginal people before things will start to move in the right direction.The issue is that the rcasism is no longer as obvious as it once was making it harder to put your finger on at times.

  2. Nice blog Summer! Racism is alive and well. I find myself continually outraged, especially across social media. Some of it is ignorance but most of it is malicious. Although it feels like an uphill battle, I do believe as a nation we are making progress. Although there have been setbacks such as the rise of Hansonism in the late 90s and the ongoing and shameful asylum seeker debate, I think there is cause to be optimistic.

    We can all make a difference in our own small way.

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  4. For what it is worth (probably not much) here's my blog on racism in Aus.