If there was ever any doubt in your mind about whether or not racism exists in Australia, I’m here to tell you that it does. It’s here, it’s ugly and it was directed at my two-year-old. That’s right, a toddler.
We are a proud adoptive family, my youngest son Hendry is originally from Vanuatu and we were enjoying our first family camping trip on the Central Coast since moving back to Australia.
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My 10-year-old daughter, Caja, was minding her own business walking hand in hand with her little brother as an older chap came out of the bathrooms.
He took one look at little Hendry and shouted across to some other campers, “Hey, I just went to the toilet and look what came out,” pointing right at him.
Taken aback, Caja told us what happened. She was more confused than anything. At 10, she didn’t really understand the underlying racism of his words, but she knew she didn’t like it.
I was absolutely furious. As the mother of a black child, I expected that day to come. I had prepared, researched, talked to black parents, and even had a calm thought-out response planned.
But when confronted with it in broad daylight at a family-friendly campsite with my little man still in nappies – I realised I was anything but ready.
I was shaking with rage while simultaneously crying my eyes out, but the one thing I knew was that it was not ok, it is never ok and that silence was consent. I had to fight for him, to teach him that no matter what or with who, he is worth fighting for.