• During a recent senate debate, Pauline Hanson complained that she’d “had it up to here” with her own racial tolerance. (AAP)Source: AAP
Australia's happy go lucky, larrikin way of life is at risk if Pauline Hanson's concept of 'reverse racism' persists. People from all cultures and backgrounds should be entitled to a 'fair go' if the 'she'll be right Australia' actually exists.
By
Ruby Hamad

7 Dec 2016 - 3:05 PM  UPDATED 7 Dec 2016 - 3:05 PM

I have to hand it to Pauline Hanson. During a recent senate debate, The One Nation founder perfectly, if entirely accidentally, demonstrated what I’ve spent years trying to articulate in print.

In complaining that she’d “had it up to here” with her own tolerance, Hanson highlighted the contradiction at the heart of the racism debate that ensures racial minorities just can’t win.

That so-called tolerance she is sick of showing is not, as you might assume, acceptance of racial diversity, but the mere thought her views might be challenged.

Let’s backtrack. Once upon a time, waxed Hanson nostalgically, immigrants such as Greeks, Italians, “and other ones” used to cop extraordinary racial abuse, or as she likes to call it, “The Aussie way.” Rather than complain, they “just got on with it” and so became assimilated.

We cannot seriously be expected to keep tolerating such abuse. Nor should immigrants or Indigenous communities be expected to give up their own languages, religions, and cultural dress.

Let’s not mince words: Hanson is clearly and unequivocally saying it is not only acceptable but expected that immigrants be bullied into silence and supplication by the dominant majority.

Any objection to this is, in her mind, “reverse racism.”

The reason the word “racist” has come to be regarded as a worse slur than actual racist taunts, lies deep in the foundations of Australian society, one in which the white majority – having overpowered and supplanted the Indigenous population ­– came to regard itself as the authority and rightful owner of the land.

All is right with the world as long as its demands are being met, and its preferred way of life is regarded as the Aussie Way.

Without even realising it, Hanson admits that racial minorities who are vocal in their criticism of the white majority are justified; that we have indeed been on the receiving end of what should be intolerable abuse.

Why is it so much worse to be called racist than actually be one?
When did the right to offend trump the right to take offence?

Her conclusion, however, is not that this abuse should end, but the very opposite – that we stay silent.

When we do vocalise our rage and our refusal to accept racism any longer, it creates a cognitive dissonance, a reminder that the myth of Australia’s creation – the fair go, the happy go lucky Aussie larrikin, the she’ll be right attitude, and so on – is in fact just that: a myth. Our creation is instead one of subjugation, extreme violence, slavery, oppression, and forced assimilation.

Across the colonised world, many white societies have built themselves on this same racist foundation; that the white race is superior and the one to which all else must submit, even if we don’t look white we must at least act white.

Speak English. Don’t wear hijab. Ban Halal certification. All of these demands betray an insecurity that subconsciously acknowledges that “Australia” did not come about peacefully and organically, but was imposed through violence and assertion of white, European authority. As long as white remains right, then this history does not have to be reckoned with.

Hanson is clearly and unequivocally saying it is not only acceptable but expected that immigrants be bullied into silence and supplication by the dominant majority.

We cannot seriously be expected to keep tolerating such abuse. Nor should immigrants or Indigenous communities be expected to give up their own languages, religions, and cultural dress.

Non-Christian religions are not, as Hanson imagines, intrinsically incompatible with the so-called Australian way of life. It is perfectly possible to be Muslim or Sikh and be Australian. Multiple identities are not contradictory and many of us wear them with ease. Just ask Daily Life’s new Australian Woman of the Year, Muslim advocate Mariam Veiszadeh.

But, in a former colony that violently imposed a mono culture these are regarded as an explicit threat, exposing perhaps, the suppressed fear that the white majority may one day be treated the way it has historically treated everyone else.

All is right with the world as long as its demands are being met, and its preferred way of life is regarded as the Aussie Way.

Pauline Hanson has without even realising it, shown that racism does and always has existed in Australia, that it is an attack on racial minorities by a majority that regards its way as the only way, and that what it calls “reverse racism” is merely any challenge to this domination.

I’m sorry* to say but Hanson is in for a disappointment. We won’t stop objecting to racism and we certainly won’t stop calling it what it is. We cannot undo the past, but we can build a future that embraces rather than fears diversity.

*Not sorry.

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