fbpx
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Constantly learning

If there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it’s that there’s a lot of work to be done. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Blacklivesmatter

When we popped champagne bottles and toasted to a new decade back in December, none of us expected 2020 to go this way. We’ve gone from bushfires in Australia, riots in Delhi, and the beginning of a pandemic to hoarding groceries, a recession, and who-knows-what’s-to-come.

After 2019 was the unspoken year of protests, the momentum returns this June – #BlackLivesMatter is trending around the world. For many of us even with the best intentions, these protests come and go like waves. We take to social media, drop nuggets of wisdom in conversations, and eventually move along.  ‘Systemic change’ and ‘mass mobilisation’ are trending words with a seemingly short lifespan.

- Advertisement -

Even more noteworthy, we see our beloved Bollywood stars stepping up to the plate, joining the trend of ‘Black Out Tuesday’ and posting empowering messages like ‘all colours are beautiful’ (looking at you, Disha Patani). Truth be told, it’s a refreshing change from just two decades earlier when we saw them merely as entertainers.  

But it’s also difficult to look at their messages without at least a tinge of cynicism. Remember SRK promoting a fairness cream for men? And Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor enthralling us with their fair, lovely (cough) complexions in television ads?

Call it a colonial hangover or anything you like; the fact remains that we’re still coming to terms with the colour of our own skin. In his latest video, Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj tore into this obsession amongst the South Asian community, like our go-to jibe of “kaalu” (dark-skinned).

‘But it’s just business!’ you might cry out, and on that front, you’re absolutely right. For these stars, brand endorsements are a small part of a much larger business portfolio. (Priyanka Chopra even acknowledged her commercial’s problematic nature in an interview a few years back.)

Many corporations, too are stepping up in big ways. Just last week, Ben & Jerry’s issued a powerful message in support of #BlackLivesMatter. I’d gladly eat a Chocolate Fudge sundae knowing the corporation has the right intentions… though I might be wary of companies suddenly taking on political stances.

There are so many messages, so many issues, so many debates, but so little time. It really can feel like posting a tweet is all we can do. Some brave souls have managed to convert support into action by planning countrywide protests. As long as they’re wearing masks, implementing necessary health measures, and hopefully isolating afterwards, go forth, I say. (Is there ever a ‘good’ time to protest anyway?)

While #BlackLivesMatter might seem like an American trend, it’s far too easy to shrug off our own country’s issues in the same breath. In Australia, they’ve picked up the mantle to add Indigenous Lives Matter. Perhaps we should change our tune to Muslim Lives Matter, Dalit Lives Matter, and add, of course, a necessary chorus of Migrant Lives Matter in the mix.

With the world wide web at our fingertips, we have a unique position in history to read, learn, and unlearn. Kids might seem a little too precocious these days with some of their ideas (#guilty?), but in learning how to be good allies even if it means acknowledging our own drawbacks in the process, maybe they’re on to something.

READ ALSO: America burning

- Advertisement -
Rhea Nath
Rhea Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer, editor, and content creator studying at the University of Sydney.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Podcasts

Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

0
  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

Dr anand naidoo OAM and family

Australia Day Awards 2021: Dr Anand Naidoo OAM

0
  "I am pleased and honoured," Dr Anand Naidoo of Coffs Harbour NSW told Indian Link, about his Australia Day felicitation this year. He added laughingly,...

Australia Day Awards 2021: The late Dr Amarjit Singh More, OAM

0
  As a proud Sikh and a proud Australian, Dr Amarjit Singh More was deeply passionate about both identities, serving both communities with unwavering commitment. "Our...

President hails farmers, scientists and soldiers in Republic Day speech

0
  On the eve of Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity, outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution, are...
aboriginal flag

Indigenous Australians, living without conciliation

0
  I am a citizen of Australia and yet I am not a citizen of the nation I reside in within Australia. This anomaly affects...

The night we fled our home in Kashmir

0
  “26 January is coming up, memsaab,” the milkman I had known for years said to me. “Maybe you should put up a black flag...