The following is a letter to the editor written by Caroline Dixon and was originally published by the Huon News on Wednesday, 3 April 2019. Republished here with permission.
It was interesting to read, in last week’s Huon News (Diversity in the Huon, Huon News, Wednesday, March 27) SETAC CEO Tracey Dillon’s perspective on Harmony Day.
As a privileged white Australian, I have always viewed the day as one to celebrate our multi-culturalism, the great variety of faces that surround us, the amazing authentic food that we have on our doorsteps, and the cultural events that we celebrate alongside our friends and neighbours who have joined our community from other parts of the world. Events like Chinese New Year and Festa Italia, Oktoberfest and Alliance Francaise.
But Ms Dillon seems to be saying that we are celebrating too early, when there is still so much work to be done to stamp out racism and intolerance in our community. Perhaps calling it Harmony Day is a mistake? Why have we sugar coated the name, when the United Nations has already clearly labelled the day as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination? Why don’t we call it what it is?
I apologise to our indigenous community members, and all other minorities, for using this date to pat myself on the back for my tolerance, when I should have been using it to call out all the inequity, intolerance and baseless hate that still abounds, not only in Australia, but all over the world.