Racism is a fundamental component of human socialisation. I believe it is homo sapiens’ psychological version of biology’s differentiation of species. A eucalyptus does not sexually interact with wattles, just as bees do not with flies: differentiation results from evolution and results in diversity.
Yet eugenics, such as cross-breeding and splicing, has resulted in Great Danes, Russian Blues and bananas. I myself am the genetic result of a wide variety of different races cross-breeding which, through the centuries, have been murderous enemies. In contemporary Australia, however, the English language indicates an on-going theme of segregation, and one which could easily be ended with education.
There are steps in social evolution which may be listed as:
- not aware of the problem
- growing awareness and resistance
- attempts to resolve the problem
- backlash of the privileged
- resolving to end the problem
The 230+ years of racist and genocidal practices in Australia by both government and individuals is continuing but is gradually diminishing. The shameful Liberal-National coalition, from Howard to Morrison, embodied ‘backlash of the privileged’. The huge swing to support Labo(u)r, Independents and the Greens last election indicates ‘resolving to end the problem’.
This indicates that most Australian citizens are becoming aware that a resolution is not just possible but is now likely. I certainly hope so! There are a few phrases in common parlance, however, which indicate a deeper racism in our unconscious attitudes:
- ‘Coloured’ people: the default is white. This is a continuation of Western superiority and white superiority. When you notice this phrase, please restructure your attitudes
- Where are you from? How many times has this been asked of a white person? I’m never asked. It annoys me: I want to chat about my ancestry! I want to explore your history!
- ‘Ethnic’ people: the default is clear = white. I am ethnic? Can a white person be ‘ethnic’? If I deny the socio-cultural and linguistic diversity, the clash of cultures of the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, various versions of religion and nation, and deny my identity as an Australian-born person, then yes, I am not ethnic. If I identify with American hegemony and the singularity of the English language, then yes, I am not ethnic.
Racism has biological precursors and is a function of human cognition. Differentiating this from that is a basic function of our minds. However, it is not given, not law, and certainly not required, that we imbue differences with superiority and privilege.
I choose to explore my history, not as a ‘white’ person, but as human. I choose to follow the threads back in time. I’ve discovered that ‘white’ is used as the default, and that, currently, TUSA occupies that position. I’ve also discovered that I have zero allegiance to a foreign country with a foreign language, foreign values and little awareness of or interest in my heritage.
‘Australia’ is my default. This includes all people born here over the past 70,000+ years. ‘White’ people have ethnicity although some of us may struggle to accept this fact. Everyone is ethnic.