Event: Identity—Yours, Mine, Ours at Immigration Museum.


It’s not often an exhibition is created based on racism in Australia.

Either we ignore it, or we sport t-shirts and bumper stickers saying “Fuck off, we’re full”.

Well, a groundbreaking new exhibition at the Immigration Museum on Flinders Street has changed that, entitled Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours, part of general admission ($10 for adults, free for concession and children).

The first part of the exhibition deals with preconceived notions about people based on what they look like, what they wear, which cultural groups they (seemingly belong to), amongst other factors. While the exhibition has been designed with the utmost involvement with those who are featured in it (Kat Clarke, the Indigenous, hoodie-wearing teen poet and songwriter, for example), it’s the second half that really piqued my interest.

It begins with a simulated tram ride in which a white businessman hops on and expresses disdain and what can only be described as covert racism to an African man speaking in his native dialect on the phone.

There are then depictions of the abovementioned “Fuck off, we’re full” t-shirts, which leads into a timeline of racism and discrimination in Australia and around the world. There’s a lot of reading in this section, so my advice is to allow at least an hour and a half for the exhibition, and don’t take a heavy bag!

Towards the end there are displays of discriminatory and downright racist toys and food, such as golliwogs and Creole cream biscuits. Even Gwen Stefani’s range of L.A.M.B. perfumes are called into question! There are also videos of Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech and Kevin Rudd saying “sorry” to the Stolen Generations in February 2008.

A lot of complementary content can be found on the Identity website and blog.

I’m not sure how long it’s on for, but if you’ve got a spare $10 and a couple of hours, a visit is well worth it for the novel experience of an exhibition based on racism in Australia. In this day and age, it’s sad it is so novel…

Elsewhere: [Immigration Museum] Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours.

[Immigration Museum] Identity Blog.

Event: FuckWalk—The Floodgates Have Opened.

SlutWalk seems to have opened the gates for a whole host of Walks, the latest being FuckWalk, a protest at Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station “in response to the government’s proposal of permanent legislation for on-the-spot fines for indecent, offensive or disorderly language,” on Saturday 25th June between 2pm and 3pm.

This is all well and good, as I think the legislation is bogus and the cops have a plethora of other illegal behaviours to worry about, but I worry that a Walk for any little movement that people happen to take issue with could undermine the larger issues Walks have been beneficial for, ie. SlutWalk. (So I might be a little biased… So what?!)

At the end of the day, as I have written before, words are just words. Fuck, shit, dick and in some cases, even cunt (though I know for most, it’s still a loaded one) have lost most of their meaning, and are mostly just said for added effect or emphasis.

It’s the “backwards and extremely offensive views that go along with” the words that we should be walking against.

Related: Event: Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Event: SlutWalk.

Image via Frederik Hermann.