Was Nicky Winmar also overly-sensitive?
Picture this scenario: someone tells what they think is a light-hearted racist joke, and someone else of the race that the joke is making fun of gets upset, and then that first someone tells the second someone “Oh don’t be so sensitive”. Those who says that most definitely have not suffered any kind of racism or discrimination.
Unless you have lived as an ethnic minority for most of your life, you cannot fully understand how hurtful racial slurs are. Yes, you may have been called names yourselves: bastard, wanker and cunt. But these words attack your person and not your race. They are nothing compared to the words that cut deep into who you are and cannot change: chink, kike, lebbo, curry muncher and black cunt. The last of which is what many non-white players in the AFL have been subjected to. It wasn’t difficult for me to find these examples below, some from a few decades ago and some recent.
- Nic Naitanui
- Chris Lewis
- Jim Krakouer
- Michael Long
- Joel Wilkinson
- And perhaps the most famous one with the iconic picture above, Nicky Winmar
- (Dis)Honorary inclusion because he’s Asian, Lin Jong
Which brings us to Adam Goodes and him taking essentially stress leave away from the game, because of the racial abuse that he has copped over the years. Some people have said that he’s being overly sensitive and that if he’s playing in the big leagues, he should just get over it. If the abuse and booing had no racial overtones, then I’d agree with them. I will also agree with them that not all AFL fans are racist. But can they honestly tell me that he was never racially vilified and that some of the booing was not racist in nature? No, they can’t.
And to those who said that they’ve been called names too but they’d moved on and didn’t let it affect them, you haven’t gone through it on the national stage under spotlight. You hadn’t had your reaction to the racist behaviour called “provocation”. You had not been called overly dramatic for calling out a 13 year old girl who called you an “ape”. But you know what? Adam Goodes can be as dramatic as he wants about racist behaviour when the mother of that girl, the mother who excuses her daughter’s behaviour, wants him to apologise to her daughter. Him to apologise. HIM! Fuck you, lady.
I’m glad that Adam Goodes did his war dance, and that Lewis Jetta backed him up a few months later.
To all the white folks out there who wish Aboriginals wouldn’t get offended by words despite all the injustices dealt their way over a couple of centuries, here’s a bit of advice: Don’t make a complete hypocrite of yourself by getting offended because an indigenous player dances a jig and pretends to throw a spear (or boomerang).
I’m also glad that there are support from others in the AFL too, and also from the NRL.
So yeah, we will stop being overly sensitive when you stop being racist pricks.