The fine line between cultural education and subtle racism.

Everyone, whether they realize it or not, has been both the victim and perpetrator of subtle racism. In the more global society we are faced with today, cultural education has has the chance to grow and bloom, with university students specifically open to a variety of global experiences. International students dominate the college scene, and I’ve found myself being exposed to a variety of different cultural experiences.
However with this comes a hidden side effect that slips mostly unnoticed. Subtle racism is for the most part a subconscious action, which represents the disjointed nature that we still apply to multiculturalism. It comes from a mixture of cultural limitations, misunderstanding and even sometimes when simply intending to be helpful. When talking to a college of my who had recently arrived in Australia from China, she asked me to slow down my speech, as she was only just coming to terms with the English language. Dumbstruck, I did as she asked, but found it hard to speak at a pace that was both understandable and not patronising.
Here in lies the problem with subtle racism. Most of the time we don’t realise we’re doing it. When discussing what activities we were going to run for our “Ireland” Stall in “Global Highways” I found my organisational committee automatically falling back to act on stereotypes of the Irish people, with no actual research or background into Irish culture. The result of this would be us perpetuating stereotypes to the younger generation, to be carried through as “fact”, thus allowing cultural ignorance to continue.


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