Orange t-shirts or a whitewash?

Orange t-shirts or a whitewash?

There’s more to it than wearing orange t-shirts, right?

So much more.

If you thought Harmony Day was share plates of “international food”, orang t-shirts and big smiles, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Today, Shantelle Thompson OAM put it right in front of us: “Harmony Day is the epitome of ‘White Fragility’. White Fragility = discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality, inequity and injustice” (read the full article here). She calls for a renaming of today to “Tolerance Day”, where we celebrate the “ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions that one dislikes or disagree with”. Sounds reasonable to me.

Similarly, author Niti Nadarajah labels Harmony Day “just another version of organisations celebrating cultural days of significance and then forgetting all about those cultures for the other 364 days of the year”. We all know there’s truth in that.

The Diversity Council Australia is also asking hard questions today – why does Australia celebrate Harmony Day rather than observing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), as declared by the United Nations in 1966? As this piece points out, if we want to address racism in Australia, we have to talk about it.

Maybe 2023 is the year of asking big questions? Protests and essays in national papers raised the question marks over Australia Day; and just last week, we took the cupcakes out of International Women’s Day. Why? Because we want more. More meaning, more substance, more relevance to life.

There’s people out there asking some brave questions. It’s time to do some hard thinking.

Whose idea was orange t-shirts anyway? NO ONE has one in their wardrobe. No one.