Speech by Mehreen Faruqi in the Australian parliament.
Well said!https://www.theguardian.com/australi...-senate-speechThe reality is that my presence in the Senate is an affront for some. They are offended that people of colour and Muslims, have the audacity to not only exist, but to open our mouths and join the public debate. Some politicians call us cockroaches. Some say we are a disease for which Australia needs vaccination. Some, if they had their way, would ban us from making Australia our home. So it is with great pride I stand here before you unapologetically - a brown, Muslim, migrant, feminist woman. And I say unapologetically because if there is one thing people with stories like mine are asked to do constantly, it is apologise for our presence because we are not quiet enough, not respectful enough, not thankful enough, not Australian enough – for some, we will never be Australian enough.
The existence of racism, sexism and other discrimination is not new. But what has changed is its legitimisation, normalisation and encouragement in the media and politics. Political leaders, in addition to their old habit of racist dog-whistling, are now comfortable outright fanning the flames of racial conflict.
You can’t condemn racism and then use dog-whistling and race-baiting as an electoral tactic.
We might shake our heads when migrants are said to have the amazing ability to simultaneously sit on welfare our whole lives and also take up all the jobs that ‘true’ Aussies are entitled to, but far too little attention is paid to the implications this political racism has for our lives, our mental health, and our families. We cannot be expected to ignore sustained abuse or be told to hide the fear and gut-wrenching pain that it causes. If we receive death threats and speak out about it, as my son did earlier this month, we are told we have a victim mentality and this is all part and parcel of public life. Well, we will not be silenced.
Instead of being accepted, because this is our home, we are asked to apologise for every action of someone who looks like us. We are subject to rules that white people never will be. We don’t have the luxury of mistakes or of slipping up, because as soon as we do, we become a case study to validate existing stereotypes. We don’t have the luxury of individuality, because we are considered a monolithic mass who operate as one. Even our responses to racism are policed.