MORISSET - I was shocked to see a recent story on ABC Television about the racism experienced by one of their presenters in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.
This was particularly disturbing as it is our neck of the woods. Hey that can’t be happening here!
To their credit, the local council took some action. You can find the story here, ‘Why I will never forget the day I was racially abused in front of my young son’.
The saddest thing is that this incident was perpetrated by young teenagers against a woman with a disabled child at the local swimming pool.
Maybe it’s too late for some adults, but can something positive by done to teach kids the values of tolerance and acceptance?
After all children are not instinctively racist so they must learn this behaviour from friends and families.
And there is often woeful ignorance in Australia about even our nearest neighbours, like Papua New Guinea.
I think some things can be done by starting small and local.
When we lived in Darwin my Papua New Guinean wife Rose became friends with a local teacher who persuaded her to volunteer at her nearest primary school to show the kids something about PNG culture.
She was a bit shy at first, but decided to give it a go.
"But what can I do?" she asked me.
"Try telling some stories. Show them how bilums are made. And teach them a bit of Tok Pisin," I suggested.
So Rose started a one-woman project to improve multicultural relations through bilums and Tok Pisin.
It worked a treat. The kids loved it and her and were sad when the day came that Rose had to leave.
They made her little cards saying, "We will miss you" and "We love you Rose you are our big sister".
When I saw them, they brought tears to my eyes.
So how about making good use of the many thousands of talented PNG expats living in Australian communities?
Show our local primary kids something of the richness and beauty of PNG culture, and get them making bilums! Pikinini tanem bel!