I was on Oxford St having coffee with friends, when behind me a group of people started roaring with laughter with one person saying. Oh I’ve got a better one-¦
It was only then I overheard them tell another racist joke about Aboriginal people. I wasn’t sure what to do in this situation; I wanted to speak up and say something … I wanted to slap one of them in the face … but I didn’t.
Sadly racism is a big part of our community. People still use -˜Rice Queen’ or the famous line, -˜I’m not racist; I hate everyone equally’.
You’d think that as a community that has been through years of discrimination we would be more tolerant of others who are treated poorly because of their difference.
I’m not saying I am perfect; far from it. But avoiding discrimination and prejudice in the way I treat, or speak of, others is something I want to do. And I hope it is something we could all be more aware of.
Most people think a joke isn’t a racist comment because it’s funny. The real question is, how does that joke make the butt of the joke feel?  How does it make you feel when someone says something homophobic, but then says -˜Oh, I’m only joking’?
It’s not funny. It’s homophobic and it’s racist.
The -˜Would you wear it’ campaign challenges racism in the GLBT community. As this week is NAIDOC week we can show our respect for our community members.
NAIDOC is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians. I’m a NAIDOC virgin, so I’m really looking forward to pushing my boundaries and seeing what it’s all about.
For more information about NAIDOC week visitnaidoc.org.au or call ACON’s Aboriginal Project in Sydney on 1800 063 060 to find out who to contact in your local area.
If you want any information about groups, services, organisations or community events taking place in western Sydney, you can contact me at ACON on 9206 2064 or email mvaughan@acon.org.au.

Matt Vaughan is the Community Development and Liaison Officer for the ACON Western Sydney Community Development Team.

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