White Girls Guide To: Navigating Race
Words by Elaine Jackson
Australia is a pretty multicultural place — the melting pot of various races and ethnicities that have come to these shores in search for a better life. Sure, we turn away refugees seeking asylum, steal land from the Indigenous population, and deny basic human rights to people of colour. But we pretty much accept everyone? SUCH a melting pot.
And USyd is no exception. From huge European and American Studies departments, to the ‘Mediterranean-inspired’ menu at Courtyard, USyd is so woke.
I Don’t Even See Race!
So, you left your high school, and all of a sudden, there are people who don’t need to fake tan every week in your tutorials (crazy, right?). Suddenly, you don’t just have one token Asian friend, and your lunchtime social circle sitting on the law lawns looks like something your ethnically homogenous private school might put on the front of their year book to showcase diversity. And the best part? You don’t even see race! Sure, your friends might bring fun food, but you don’t have to make fun of the smelly aromas anymore — remember, liking ethnic food makes white people interesting at uni!
Yes, your good intentions are there, but saying you don’t see race actually weirdly isn’t productive (?!). Even if you don’t see your BFF’s skin colour, other people do – and Australia might arbitrarily hate them, as it has done in the past, simply because of that.
It’s OK, I have a Black Friend!
You also don’t see race when you’re drunk AF on the dancefloor. The music’s pumping, the DF is packed, and everyone is having a great time. Suddenly, you hear “we’re gonna escape to one song, and one song only”, and immense fear washes over you. Jay Z’s banger N***as in Paris is playing, and you’re a white girl who’s six vodka lime soda’s deep. Uh oh. You’re surrounded by other white people, so you can get away with saying the n-word, right?
Honey, no. Don’t fucking do it. Just… don’t do it. Seriously, it’s that simple. This is why God invented Macklemore.
OMG I Just Love the Culture!
Ever since Gangnam Style and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, you’ve been obsessed with Asian culture. From the food (so flavourful!) to the neon lights (so bright!) and the nightlife (they smoke in clubs!), Asia just looks like so much fun. It doesn’t really matter where in Asia, because every country has their Bali equivalent — stick to tangential experiences like ordering a Pad Thai in Koh Samui, or learning to say “Arigato” getting fucked up in Niseko on ski vacay.
Maybe you want your Winter Break travels to be more impactful, and actually make a difference in people’s lives (and your Instagram stats). Two words, boo: 40K Global. Pay a few thousand dollars, fly to India, and spend two weeks expanding your WORLDVIEW. Be sure to take some pics with local kids, and post it to IG with the caption “Made some new friends today #legends #love #India”, and wait for the praising comments to roll in. Bonus points if you use SnapChat filters with locals and put it on your story with the geofilter!
Everyone Is Just So Sensitive These Days!!!
I know, I know. Between not saying the n-word at a Kendrick Lamar concert, to voluntourism, to pronouncing people’s names correctly, it’s just all so hard these days! How are you even meant to survive?
Good news, it’s not that hard! Just be respectful of others, ask questions and value human dignity and relationships over your own ‘understanding’ of political correctness.