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Another Delta storm in a teacup

By Dilan Thampapillai - posted Monday, 20 May 2013


In other words, don't complain.

Delta had not intended to cause offense. The guy in the photo had probably not intended to cause offense. They were just thoughtlessly insensitive. We are all human and we will all offend somebody at some point in time. When that happens a simple apology should suffice.

But it's a bit much to try and take away the right of somebody to just say that they're offended. Much less to shout them down for saying it.

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A casual slight is still a slight. And to be frank, when it comes to racism most people are more likely to be affected by things that happen casually in our broader Australian culture and in their every day lives than by the odd aberrant instances of 'serious racism' like the recent incidents of abuse on public transport.

Freedman suggested that, "using words like 'racist' to describe the retweeting of this photo diminishes and dilutes the power of that word."

There are varying degrees of racism and the word does not lose its power or meaning just because people are talking about it in a number of different contexts.

Freedman's attempt to end the conversation more or less amounts to pressuring others to put up with a lack of respect. Freedman wrote, "It's too important an accusation to throw it around so carelessly." On the contrary racism is too pervasive a problem to let it slide. Literally anybody can be subjected to racism, subtly or unsubtly, so in a globalised and diverse society silence isn't really an option.

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About the Author

Dilan Thampapillai is a lecturer with the College of Law at the Australian National University. These are his personal views.

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