Stop. Think. Respect.

Beyond Blue is an Australian organisation dedicated to providing services and raising awareness surrounding depression and anxiety. This week, they launched a new campaign targeting passive racism against Indigenous Australians. The television ad, titled “The Invisible Discriminator”, depicts a number of Indigenous people encountering racism in everyday situations, wherein the offending person may not seem to realise that their actions are racially motivated and they certainly don’t realise the effects that their actions have.

The ad in itself is incredibly powerful, and lends a perspective towards racism that people often overlook or do not consider. For me personally, it wasn’t so much the fact that these people were being discriminated against because of their race. What struck a chord with me was that these people were being singled out or rejected or treated differently because of something they have no control over.

I have a real issue with people being made to feel bad about themselves for no reason. Admittedly, I wasn’t the most model student in high school and I engaged in acts of bullying that I am absolutely ashamed of now. And yeah, I was bullied myself, which is why I hate seeing people getting treated like crap for no reason. I know what it feels like and I know how it affects people.

The thing that grabbed me and that I can’t seem to shake from this ad is the older man on the bus who moves his bag so the lady can sit down, and she doesn’t. Honestly, it hurt to watch. Not only does the guy do the polite thing and move his bag off the seat, but he looks genuinely happy to be offering up the seat and being able to sit next to her. He looks at her smiling the entire time she walks up the aisle, and you can see how shattered he is when she turns away. I can’t seem to adequately articulate just how that scene made me feel. I just felt so terrible for him, he looks so disappointed. I know how it feels when you’re being genuinely nice and somebody makes you feel like crap for it. It’s absolutely one of the worst feelings in the world.

I just felt like I needed to talk about this because it’s something that so many people don’t even realise is a problem. I apologise for the somewhat lack of coherency in the middle there, this turned into more of a rant than I had intended. The whole purpose of the campaign is to highlight how such small, seemingly insignificant actions can have such a huge impact on somebody. The message here is clear and so strong: “Why should anyone be made to feel like crap, just for being who they are?”

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4 thoughts on “Stop. Think. Respect.

  1. Oh god, that poor man on the bus! Thanks for posting this – I’ve been fascinated with Australia’s relationship with it’s Aboriginal culture, since I visited my brother in Sydney earlier this year. It has a long way to go towards equality and posts like this can only help. I read a great book called ‘Riding the Black Cockatoo’, about Aboriginal relations in modern Australia. I can recommend. Fascinating, and very revealing.

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