Something we're hearing a lot as Australia Day approaches, with the attendant debates on whether it's appropriate to celebrate given what the day means for Indigenous Australians, is "come on guys, we're all equal! Why can't we all just get along?"
Here's why not.
Saying that race doesn't matter and we've moved on sure sounds plausible to the sort of people who believe that unless you're spouting off on Facebook that Aboriginals are all drunken layabouts that trash the palatial houses the government provides them, you're not racist. But in fact insisting we're all equal is perhaps the very definition of white privilege. It's denying the racism that is still a very real factor in the lives of black people in Australia today.
How do I know this? From reading and listening to the lived experiences of black people. And they're under no obligation to present those experiences in a warm and fuzzy way to alleviate whitey guilt. They have a right to express their truth however they choose, with no obligation to educate us or keep us on side. We though have an obligation to listen. And there's something about watching white people deny the experiences of black people and tell them off for being angry that makes me a little bit sick and ashamed.
Listen. If you don't see race, realise that's because you have the choice to not acknowledge racism as a factor in society today. You have white privilege. Check your privilege and listen to what the people who actually do experience racism have to say about it.
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