Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

Blog Post

Tear down Australia's racist wallpaper

Posted 17 Aug 2018 11:00AM


Tear down Australia's racist wallpaper

Fatima Measham, Consulting Editor of EUREKA STREET

  • 14 August 2018


Racism can be like wallpaper. It is just there. Accentuating the space, defining its partitions. In how many ways could a pattern be described?


I would rather not write about it. I am as tired of it as others might be of hearing from me, and people like me, about it. This is the claustrophobia it engenders.

It is true that not everything is about race; there are class and gender. Words are still only words on the scale of bad things that happen to people, and there are arguably more pressing issues than majority-minority panics about (white) identity. I would prefer not to lend racists attention.

The planet is burning. Life is unacceptably precarious: for children in detention, women in violent homes, disabled people on welfare, homeless teenagers. The federal government handed almost half a billion dollars to a foundation with six full-time staff, unsolicited and without competitive tender nor due diligence. These are things worth attention.

But this is how racism works: it displaces focus from material problems to imagined threats. It reframes complex problems for political capital and sometimes violent ends. That is the point when it stops being just wallpaper but also the scaffold. Not decoration, but a cage.

For the full article by Fatima Meacham published on 14 August 2018 in Eureka Street, click HERE