Ordinarily I consider myself to be anti-racist. I always question and confront people making overtly racist comments. In general my political views are firmly to the left of the centre.
A few days ago I saw a woman on television who I found quite attractive. When I found out she was part Aboriginal I was surprised – not that she was Aboriginal, but that she was attractive. Subconsciously I had thought that all Aboriginal people are unattractive. While I would never have stated such an opinion verbally, that does not excuse it. I may not be an overt racist, but obviously, some of my views are prejudiced and incorrect. Indeed, the evidence contradicting my prejudice was right in front of me – the woman I saw on television was both attractive and Aboriginal.
Yesterday Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, apologised to the members of the stolen generations. He apologised to everyone whose families were ripped apart, to the parents who lost their children, and to the children who grew up without their parents.
With this apology, the fight against racism in Australia has won a great victory. The government itself is no longer racist. Now it is time to continue the fight against the overt racism of others, but it is also the time to fight the inherent racism and prejudice within ourselves, within myself.
I am racist and I am sorry.