The third kid I hated was a curly-haired greasy-faced racist who once exited halfway through an English class to walk forty minutes through the 40 degree Australian heat to his family home that was locked because everyone was out.
I disliked this 15 year-old mostly because of his stupidity and Palaeolithic form of communication with his fellow human.
But most of all it was the generic racism he applied towards the indigenous population of his country. If you want to see an example of how racism is different to educated opinion, grab yourself a pubescent fool from your nearest redneck backwater.
It was upon screening the film Jindabyne to a Year 10 English class that the racism, of him and his peers, came to the fore. Jindabyne is about the fallout from a community dealing with the murder of an Aboriginal girl and the discovery of her body.
The main thing the student buffoon and his comrades took from the film was that “Aborigines are dole bludging alcoholics who hang out in parks” – albeit none of the characters in the film bludged the dole nor drank any beverages in public reserves. So clearly these visions of the indigenous race had come from the teens’ bigoted parents.
I combatted this racism by pointing out that a number of their peers were Aboriginal or of foreign background; thus at the least they were being short sighted about their own associates. This fell on deaf ears so I brought in the school’s Aboriginal Education Officer to speak with them. This was a man they respected and loved. So of course their racism cooled off when they were put in this situation. They were no longer so prepared to blow off with their small minded views. I enjoyed watching them squirm as hopefully they realised their racist remarks were ill found.
Despite this calming of the situation and hopefully a refocused approach to the discussions surrounding race in the English lessons, I was still loath to spend time in the same space as this child. Nothing gets my blood boiling more than blind racism from a youth or adult alike. The boy and his mates had seen it got my blood boiling and had deliberately gone out of their way to drop racist remarks, which led me to be so frustrated with them.
Thankfully with the help of the Aboriginal Education Officer the situation between myself and this blockheaded teenager became diffused, but if we met again I doubt I’d share my Valentine’s chocolates with him.