Monday, November 8, 2010

not a definitive definition

At yesterday's rally to end the mandatory detention of refugees, I encountered a chant which goes 'refugees are welcome, racists are not.' This chant, and many others like it, are predicated on the belief that racists are easy to spot, and that their racism is obvious. And it's incredibly unhelpful.

"I'm not a racist," thinks an hypothetical bystander (or someone saying the chant). "I think we should end mandatory detention." Woo, we're all okay then! OR ARE WE. Statements like this deny the insidious nature of racism, the institutional nature of racism. Just wandering through the crowd, listening to the comments of people chatting before the rally, I can tell you for a fact that there were people who certainly fit my definition of holding racist beliefs. Being racist isn't always about turning people back from our shores, it's about a whole lot of other stuff that everyone reading this probably already knows, because that's 101.

That's not to deny, of course, the incredibly poor turnout of the rally, and how much of that is due to racism, unconcious or not.

In other news of things that are racist when people think it's not: unchill azn bro. My non-azn friends, even if it is a joke being made by an Asian person, it's still playing on racist, offensive stereotypes! So don't go around saying how obsessed you are with it.

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