Mamamia wrote this post today about actress Miranda Tapsell on Win’s new show “The Verdict”. She was talking about racism to host Karl Stefanovic, in which she admitted that she didn’t “feel like an Australian”, causing her not to celebrate Australian Day on January 26 (known as Invasion Day by some Aboriginal people). Tapsell identifies with the Larrrakia tribe, the traditional owners of Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. However, she did also open up about being bullied and being labelled “half – caste” because her father isn’t Aboriginal.

Tapsell is the third Aboriginal person to open up about racism in recent months and how it’s affected them. The spark that started the fire and debate about racism is former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes, who first caused debate when he called out a then – 13 – year – old Collingwood supporter after she shouted a racial slur back in 2013. This year, he was in the headlines again after constant booing from the audience forced him to miss their next game against West Coast on Sydney’s home ground.

In the midst of the debate, at the end of July, former National President for the Labor Party, Warren Mundine, also Aboriginal, opened up on ABC’s “The Drum” and admitted that he’d been to therapy due to psychological distress caused by racial abuse.

See a pattern here? Are we getting it through yet? There are sections of our community that are negatively affected by racism in this country. Frankly, I don’t think people like to admit it. But maybe it’s time we stop being defensive, shut up and listen and work together with people who feel like they’ve been victimised because of their racial background, particularly people of Aboriginal heritage and people who are bi – racial. Maybe we do need to stop shouting people down who open up about this issue.

Now, when talking about Goodes in particular, critics have said that there are many Aboriginal players in the AFL who are respected and not booed. Good for them. Hope it stays that way. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen to Goodes. I’m cure not ALL Aboriginal people in any field feel this way, but the fact that some do. And it’s WRONG! It is wrong for people to be victimised in the country they call home because of their ethnic heritage or the way they identify their race.

It’s not just verbal abuse that many Aboriginal people face. It’s well known that average life expectancy for Indigenous people is more than ten years less than Anglo – Saxon Australians. Other stats from the site Creative Spirits include:

  • Aboriginal youth are 10 times more likely to be a victim of proven abuse or neglect compared to Anglo – Saxon peers
  • Aboriginal children under 5 are 4 times more likely to die as a result of assaults
  • Aboriginal babies are 1.8 times more likely to neglected or abused than Anglo – Saxon babies
  • Aboriginal babies make up 40% of all hospital admissions in the age group 0 – 4 who are admitted for assault (keep in mind that the percentage of people who identify as Aboriginal is around 3%)

I could go on with health, safety and education disparity between Aboriginal people compared to Anglo – Saxon Australians, but I think you get the idea.

I’m currently studying Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care and one of the modules is “Working Effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People”. One theme that I realised at the start of my study of this module was how at the beginning, there is a lack of trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Anglo – Saxon people due to history and negative personal experiences. It’s something that has to be developed over time. No matter how we may rationalise it, how much we may criticise people of Aboriginal identify for being “sooks” or whatnot, it’s the reality that many still face. Even in 2015. So I think it’s about time that we come together, shut up and listen and then work together to make sure that no one feels like this again.

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