I can feel the racism of Perth, says UK anti-racism activist

I can feel the racism of Perth, says UK anti-racism activist

March 19, 2010

Leading UK anti-racist Viv Ahmun told the National Symposium of Racism at Murdoch University that Perth had a veneer of normality and that he could feel the racism.

Mr Ahmun, who set up the first young person’s drug help service in the UK, said he was made fun of in a racist way for the first time in over 20 years upon his arrival in Perth this week.

“I came into this environment and I can feel the racism, I turn on the TV and I can feel it, I feel the pain of the Indigenous people.

“For me their plight is like the unspoken elephant that has been unacknowledged globally. That’s going to change.”

Mr Ahmun is Director of Equanomics UK and launches a Black Manifesto upon his return in a bid to lower dysfunctional employment and health gap figures between blacks and other UK cultures.

He said that listening to Aboriginal rights campaigner Daisy Ward talk about her family’s fight for justice following her cousin’s death in custody had been profoundly distressing.

It’s not enough to be an activist in your own country, he added, it has to be international as the same issues were global - arising in different countries over and over again.

Local Aboriginal social justice advocate Maurice Agale, a presenter on Noongar Radio and National Native Title Tribunal employee, also spoke about the cultural divide in Perth.

Mr Agale compared the use of Indigenous names for WA prisons where Aboriginals were incarcerated, to the use of Anglo-Saxon names for hospitals where people went to get healed such as Sir Charles Gairdner and Princess Margaret.

“They want us to think that our home is prison,” he said.

“We have been on the margins politically, socially and financially. We need to place ourselves in the centre.”

Mr Agale said he refused to be labelled or stereotyped as an Indigenous or Aboriginal person.

He said he’d like to see an Aboriginal family move into Neighbours, but couldn’t see it happening.

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