How racist am I? Hopefully not at all, but I’m a little confused. I’ve got two distinct groups of friends, and with one group a bit of casual racism seems acceptable, while with the other group, even mentioning race gets you into trouble.
So I grew up on one side of town, went to school on the other, and I reckon that’s a nice little analogy for my life. With my two groups of friends I often feel like two different people, but at the same time. Kind of like a hermaphrodite, but on the inside.
The friends I grew up with have mostly settled down in the ‘burbs, and are into footy, furniture and churning out the kids. Which is fine, they’re a great laugh and one day, I’m not sure I don’t want the same.
Then my other friends are into bands that haven’t started yet, bars so cool they don’t have names, as well as organic fairtrade everything and rubbish facial hair.
I’m stereotyping for the sake of humor, but I’m not too far wrong. Really, I suppose most people are a bit of both, and I definitely am. Part bogan, part hipster. Part white trash, part trendy trash.
One of the big differences between these groups is their attitude to racism. My white trash friends, well they’re often casually racist. Which explains their love of blonde tips, verbally abusing taxi drivers and tracksuits. As it’s hard to casual about anything if you’re not comfortable.
With my trendy trash friends, any mention of race is enough to get you called a racist. Like if I said, ‘On the way here, I had this lovely Sudanese taxi driver and…’ Instantly I’m called a racist.
Or, ‘That new Indian restaurant must be good, because it’s full of Indians.’ Again, racist. Even when I said, ‘My Chinese accountant saved me a bunch of money.’ I was told, ‘So you’re saying he’s good with numbers? Racist.’
Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mentioning race, it’s only problematic if you’re mean and nasty about someone based on their race. It’s also wrong to say that just because someone has appeared on reality TV, that they’re a moron.
It’s highly likely, but it’s not the reality TV that made them a moron. It’s who that person is, and they were probably a moron way before they made it to TV. If you think about it, the people you actually see on the reality shows, that’s the cream of what was available. Imagine all the morons who applied, and didn’t even make it. You know what they’re called? Studio audience.
So I worry that sometimes I’m a bit racist, and I also feel like my two groups of friends don’t properly understand what racism is, and either do I.
I’m not even sure if it’s possible to be racist to someone white. If it was, do you think I would’ve been allowed to call my Melbourne Fringe show, ‘White Trash’?
There’s no way they would’ve let me call it, ‘Black Trash’ or ‘Yellow Trash’.
Even mentioning that, am I being racist? Not sure.
Xavier Toby – White Trash at the Melbourne Fringe, Oct 6-13 (not Mon) at 6.30pm (5.30pm Sun).
Fringe Hub – Son of Loft, Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne, Australia.
Also appearing at Australia’s newest comedy competition, The Sunday Showdown.
Portland Hotel, Cnr Russell and Little Collins, Melbourne, Australia on Oct 7 and 14 from 2pm-4.30pm.