'I’ve been hiding the racist trolling I receive as an Indigenous early childhood consultant. No more.'

Every new notification or alert on my public social profiles has to be approached with caution. 

It could be a harmless comment, but it’s just as likely to be a disgusting piece of racial hatred, posted publicly by trolls who hide behind fake profiles and cowardice.

As an Indigenous woman, business founder and mum, I’m tired of pretending racism doesn’t exist. The kind of attacks that caused Stan Grant to step down from his high-profile role are just the tip of the iceberg. Any Indigenous person with a profile or a platform is a target.  

It’s depressingly predictable that this kind of abuse increases when it comes to significant dates in the calendar. This week it’s National Reconciliation Week, but other key dates like NAIDOC Week, National Sorry Day and even January 26 seem to be open invitations for the trolls to start their attacks. 

 Watch: Stan Grant on racism in Australia. Post continues below.

Video via The Ethics Centre.

If you’re reading this and thinking you’ve not seen the abuse happening, it’s probably because we do a good job of hiding it.

Not because we’re trying to protect the trolls, but because we’re trying to protect the people in our online communities and audiences who trust us as a safe space to engage, learn and connect. They don’t need to see abusive, ignorant or racist comments. 

My skin has grown thicker over the years, but that doesn’t mean the thousands of people who follow my business online should have to cop it, too. 


The majority of abuse is from fake troll accounts that have been set up with the intention of spreading racist abuse online. And sadly, even when I report the abuse, the feedback from Facebook isn’t supportive or helpful. They say the comments don’t infringe on their community guidelines, but how is racism not in breach of community standards? 

Over the weekend, the First Peoples Assembly in Victoria started a petition calling on Facebook to do better when it comes to dealing with trolls. We need our communities online to be safe spaces, where people won’t be subject to abuse. 

A few days ago we shared a post about National Sorry Day (May 26), to which one person responded that it should be called National ‘Get Over It Day’. This kind of comment cuts deep.

We wouldn’t expect any other person or group who’d been impacted by trauma to just ‘get over it’. So why should we expect people who’ve had their children forcibly removed from them, or who are living with the impact of racial vilification and systemic abuse, to ‘get over it’? Instead, we should be responding with empathy and understanding. 

I’ve had enough of pretending these trolls don’t exist, and hiding their poisonous commentary online. 

Listen to Mamamia's daily podcast The Quicky and this episode on the Stan Grant pile-on. Post continues below. 

So how can we all do better?

The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week is 'Be a Voice for Generations', and it’s an important reminder of how we can all use our voices to create a future nation that’s a safer, more supportive and more understanding place for our children to grow up.


As a mum to a daughter, I’m determined to be part of positive change in building a fairer, more equitable Australia.

Past generations didn’t have a voice, but today we do.  

Education plays a big part. We know that supporting and including First Nations children and their families in early years education settings is the key to helping them thrive within the education system in primary, secondary and tertiary learning. Helping early childhood educators become more culturally aware is about empowering them to better support Indigenous children and their families, while also embedding cultural understanding and teachings in their daily practice. 

When I started my business to help early educators respectfully include Aboriginal perspectives in their program and connect with their local Aboriginal community eight years ago, things were different. Cultural awareness was a tick-box exercise, done maybe once or twice a year to tie in with NAIDOC Week or Reconciliation Week. 

In that time, I’ve seen a broader shift. It’s more common now for cultural awareness to be embedded into the everyday. But we still have a way to go. 


When it comes to healing the centuries-old wounds of our country, we can all play a part. If you want to be an ally and advocate, there are many ways you can get involved. 

 This Reconciliation Week you can: 

  • Ask your children’s school or early childhood centre if they have a Reconciliation Action Plan with the Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program.
  • Ask your workplace if they have a Reconciliation Action Plan in place. 
  • Elevate First Nations voices, ideas and businesses on your own social media or within your own sphere of influence. Attend and support Reconciliation Week events in your community.  

Most importantly, try to think beyond Reconciliation Week. 

How can you embed positive change and support in your life, your work, your family and your business so that’s a year-round effort, not just a one-off date in the calendar? 

We all need to be aware of the reality of racism in our country, if we’re going to create a country we can be proud of. 

Jessica Staines is an early childhood teacher, speaker, author, advocate, educator and advisor. As the founder and director of Koori Curriculum, and a proud Wiradjuri Woman, Jessica has played many significant roles nationally and internationally in building cultural understanding, reconciliation and harmony, including as an Indigenous understanding, reconciliation and harmony, including as an Indigenous advisor to ABC's playschool.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

Calling all Shopaholics, Retail Therapy Enthusiast & Glamour Gurus ! Take this short survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!