AUSSIES IGNORANT

BBC News picks up on the recent blackface kerfuffle:

This week another drama erupted amidst the Australian Opals women’s basketball team’s preparations for the Rio Olympics. Opals player Alice Kunek posted to Instagram a photo of herself going to a party dressed as rapper Kanye West in blackface make-up.

The picture drew a heated response from Australian team-mate Liz Cambage, a player of part-Nigerian descent, who tweeted that it had “shocked and disturbed” her.

While a reportedly mortified, and now enlightened, Kunek has apologised, it appears change on this particular matter comes slowly in Australia, if at all. There appears a lack of recognition that blackface make-up hurts and offends black people because it evokes historical mockery. Campaigners say excuses that blackface is less potent in isolated Australia than in the US sound increasingly hollow in a global society.

Cue an academic, University of Sydney associate professor Catriona Elder, to elaborate:

“A lot of white Australians grew up in families or communities where casual racism is accepted, so there’s an ignorance to racism there.”

“There’s a resistance from some white Australians that says they won’t stop saying or doing these things that are hurtful and racist, because they think it’s harmless and funny. That’s the racism – a general lack of respect for another culture.”

So, racism has been reduced to a “lack of respect” for another culture. Perhaps Elder should communicate this to Elizabeth Cambage, who was outraged by Kunek’s naive blackface getup: Cambage, you see, lacks respect for old white men and older white women:

Shame!

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