15 March 2011

merely an observation

Since moving back to Tasmania there is one thing I have really become aware of.  Something that I overhear or 'see' in conversation that I haven't been aware of in any other state I have lived in.

I am referring to the fact that people seem to feel it necessary to highlight a person's nationality/colour/religion when retelling a story.  For example:  "I nearly got sides-wiped by a car today being driven by a Muslim woman"  or " I dropped my purse and a nice black man picked it up for me".  (these are made up to show what I mean).
I never hear " A lovely Caucasian fellow helped me with my bag".

Why is it we need to highlight the non-caucasian?  Often it is used in cases of anger as if stating this person was 'different' justifies the anger or the derogative language being used.  Perhaps by saying the other person was black/red/asian/Muslim automatically makes the speaker the innocent party in some eyes.

I don't think I do it, but then again maybe it is something that is just done sub-consciously.  Why does colour, caste, religion or ethnicity matter?  Aren't we all just men and women making our way through life the best we can?


Tanya Wade said...

so very True.........

ClaireyH said...

I met a lady from Tassie at a market the other day, she was telling me about her previous client, you, know, one of those "new Australians" from around here. She was referring to the Italian community in my area, who have been here since the sixties! I thought it was her age, maybe it was the Tassie in her.

PS I am half Taswegian.

Happy Elf Mom said...

Well, on the good side, it sounds like ethnicity is used as a descriptive adjective. A "nice black man" and being sideswiped by a "Muslim woman" could be rather the same as "the blonde lady over there." All in how it's used, I'd say. :)

Anonymous said...

Ugh that is SO true. I noticed it because I lived in QLD for 6 months and met many beautiful people of different nationalities, nobody asked where anyone was 'from', everyone treated each other with mutual respect, especially at our playgroup.

Then when I moved back down here I really noticed that a lot of people in Tassie are grumpy, ungrateful and racist.

We live in a beautiful place, one of the cleanest and safest places in the world by my standards and people here are so close-minded about life and how truly lucky they are to live in such a place.

It sickens me, it really does.

The other day I heard someone laugh and make jokes about the crisis in Japan. It was sickening.

We don't generally have many disasters in Tassie and instead of feeling lucky, a lot of people just don't care.

Fieona said...

At the risk of being labelled ( and there are many labels you could put on me, eg. single mum, fat, Mormon, Qlder) none of which bother me by the way. Back to the issue, I wonder if it is a cognitive impairment?? or developmental issue?? I mean it IS that type of discription that you hear in kindergarten. I once had a very heated argument with a friend about racism, he just couldn't accept there is one race - the human race!