When it comes to casual racism, Australians don’t need any help from the government.
We’re already pretty good at it, so it makes no sense the Turnbull government is looking to make it even easier to fling barbs at people who don’t look like us.
They want to tinker with racial discrimination laws by replacing the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” with “harass”.
It’s a move that will make it so much easier to be casually racist. That’s because the casual racist isn't about harassment, they’re not constantly going after a specific racial group over and over.
Nope, casual racism is about throwing out an insult here and there, using words that have a real potential to offend or humiliate. And those three words – insult, offend and humiliate – are the very ones the government want to remove.
The only benefit I can see from this is that it makes it easier to racially abuse people.
A few years ago I read a comment piece from Robbie Blowers, an American living in Australia trying to come to terms with the racist remarks directed at Adam Goodes.
He concluded that racism in Australia is like America’s problem with guns – both are so ingrained in the culture that many are unable to see it as a problem.
That is so true. Just look at the response to the Adam Goodes issue, or any other time someone labels something as racist.
The response from many Australians is to claim it’s not racist at all, then they dismiss the complainant as lacking a sense of humour, tel them to stop being so sensitive, or that “my mate is [insert racial group here] and he’s fine with it”.
They bend over backwards to get away from that word – “racist”.
It’s like they recognise being branded as a racist is bad, but are incapable of recognising that their behaviour is, in fact, racist.
The last thing we need is to make it even easier for them to be racist.