CONTEXT: On this episode of the show Studio10, they were discussing accusations that controversial columnist, blogger and TV host Andrew Bolt made about Sydney Swans player and Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes for being divisive in his speech. As Joe Hilderbrand said in the clip, the perception is that Bolt would prefer it if we could just be united and not be separated by labels, including race (he has also added sexuality to the list on “One Plus One”).
Now, I read his columns and blog pretty regularly as well as watch his show and, from what I have seen and read of his, I take his word that he isn’t homophobic or racist. On this issue, though, I disagree with him on the “melting pot” theory.
People, especially children and teenagers know almost by instinct, whether they fit in or not. In the context of sexuality, for example, when twelve or thirteen year – olds start noticing the opposite sex, people who don’t usually know it ( strangely for me, it was a few years later). In that situation, you can ‘t just become part of a “melting pot” and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It’s impossible to truly fit in, when in reality you don’t, whether it’S because of your ethnicity, you ‘re disabilities, your gender identity or sexuality. Differences can’t always be ignored, and if at all, only for a very limited time.
Secondly – discrimination – it exists in Australia, even if we don’t want to admit the extent to which it goes on (I should point out that Bolt says that racism does exist in Australia, but argues that Australia isn’t a “racist nation”. He says he doesn’t condone it either). However, does it occur here more than we like to admit? I have heard to that the Aboriginal youth, along with LGBT youth, are over represented in youth suicide statistics. Note: Like I’ve said before, I get suicide is often complicated, but it makes you wonder.
Discrimination exists and it hurts. And it isn’t a successful way to force someone to assimilate. Let’s acknowledge that discrimination exists, accept that diversity exists, let’s learn from what we know happened in the past and try to move forward.