Tuesday, January 26, 2021

On social inclusion

Reading Time: 2 minutes

What it means to be ‘Australian’ is an ever-changing concept

Australia Day has just passed, and, for many of our readers, it ended on a happy note, to see our Men in Blue finally claim the sole victory in the ODI series.
In the lead up to 26 January though, we saw the usual soul searching that the occasion typically brings for many Australians. It is the time of the year when the discussion centres around what it really means to be ‘Australian’. One social media discussion concluded that we should call it ‘Austral-vasion-vival’ Day, and commemorate all of its varied connotations!social inclusion.indianlink
Indeed, the headlines in the past few days have been screaming ‘selection by omission’ in many walks of life, not only here at home but overseas as well.
Internationally, Hollywood is leading the charge and speaking out about the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars shortlist with the hashtags #OscarsSoWhite and #SoWhite trending on Twitter. The tremendous power Hollywood exerts in contemporary life is undeniable, and to see the “whitewashing” of the ballot in the acting categories, for the second consecutive year, suggests that perhaps the real world is not correctly represented in the industry. On the other hand, the #OscarsSoRight campaign is pushing the argument that the Oscars are all about talent, not race.
Actor Viola Davis hit the nail on the head when she suggested that film-makers themselves – producers and script-writers and casting agents – can help with social inclusion in their particular roles.
Closer to home in Australia, it is heartening to see many attempts at increasing diversity in the workplace, not only by the government but also the large corporates. Diwali last year was a wonderful opportunity for many organisations to organise Indian-themed events and initiatives. No doubt there will be more of the same when the Chinese New Year comes by shortly.
Such occasions to get a glimpse of another cultural perspective only serve to highlight the underlying commonalities between us.
Even television is slowly but surely jumping on the bandwagon. While we still have the Rhondas of the AAMI campaign, we also saw Indian-origin Gurinder Sandhu being your typical Aussie cricketer in the Optus ads. And new shows such as SBS’s The Family Law go a long way in proving that all families, whatever the cultural background, experience the same ups and downs, the same anxieties and the same pleasures. As Twitter would say, #SameSameButDifferent.
What it means to be ‘Australian’ is an ever-changing concept. Our nation is a marketplace of ideas; we should pause to consider the different sides of each argument when it comes to social inclusion, and judge each by its merits. We should all have the maturity to at least listen to each perspective, adopt the most salient points,  and integrate the best ideas in order to create a workable proposition to better our society.
And for those of us upset at the lack of inclusion at the Academy Awards, perhaps the silver lining will be this year’s host Chris Rock, who, you might expect, will not hold back!

- Advertisement -
Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


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

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

  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

  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

  "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

  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

  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

  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

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