We can all learn a lesson or two from Adam Goodes.
What began as an insult thrown by a child during a football match has turned into an epic saga, drawing in and devouring plenty in its wake. It didn’t need to be like this, but apparently over-reacting has spread like the common cold.
Goodes was the first to fall ill. During a football match, he heard insults directed at him, one of which was ‘ape’. Able to identify the culprit, he pointed her out and security removed the girl from her seat and gave her a lecture for a few hours. The media seized, the family were shamed, branded and humiliated, and ignorant people everywhere patted themselves on the back that their vitriolic revenge was justified in the name of stamping out racism in this country.
When it turned out that the young girl was a Collingwood supporter, Eddie was next to fall ill. He was immediately outraged and disgusted, telling all who would listen that he and his club would not tolerate racism. Sadly for Eddie, his ability to moderate a situation that was not yet at ‘code red’ down to a mere ‘whoops’ was either ravaged by the virus or unable to operate in tandem with any mention of race, and he was jumping on the bandwagon in full. The girl was made a pariah, and Eddie was hailed a friend to black guys everywhere…until of course, he made the same fundamental human error that the 13 year old girl had made herself. Suddenly, he was the pariah, and after coming out against ‘racism’ so strongly, he was left with nowhere to go and worse, he couldn’t claim to be underage OR unaware as an excuse for his ‘crime’.
And just what was the crime? To suggest that Adam Goodes might do well to get on board and promote a musical called ‘King Kong’. In typical Eddie fashion, he saw a way to make a buck out of a drama. Who else has done more to make apes famous than Adam Goodes in this country I ask you? It’s what I would have suggested if Adam Goodes had asked me how to climb out of the hole he was fast digging for himself at that point. Find the humour in the situation and show people that despite the controversy, you are not so invested in yourself that you can’t play any other role than the victim. Save your outrage and hurt feelings for the times when you’ve really, truly been vilified, rather than when you’re called a name by a kid as a grown man.
Who knows, if you show other people you are capable of finding the humour in things, you might not end up feeling so hurt and victimised yourself. That is a lonely life that only isolates you from others as your constant inability to forgive minor social transgressions will slowly but surely turn all but the most loyal from wanting to be a part of your life. They’ll all screw up at some point, everyone does, and the ones you haven’t driven away by a one-man jury verdict of ‘racist’ will eventually flee when they tire of your constant need to pick apart their comments like a paranoid crack addict through garbage.
Was all the hysteria worth it?
It was a 13 year old girl. A child. Someone who is entitled to privacy, and to the childhood right of making mistakes and behaving poorly at times without the entire country knowing their name, transgression, and labelling them as anything based on a few moments of their behaviour. No name she called anybody justifies the treatment she received. Those involved in the public shaming of this girl did not take a stand against racism, they frightened a child repeatedly, and made judgements about her family in public.
For what it’s worth, I’ve been called an ape, a monkey (as well as the more outdoorsy themed ‘porch monkey’) and plenty of other insults that I could easily say were used as a ‘racial slur’ against me. That does not stop me, however, from referring to myself these days - as I go through the aging process and attract more grey hairs - as ‘Silverback’. I like monkeys, I’m a hairy bloke, and I should be free to use whatever nicknames I like for myself. I tell my friends to do the same. It doesn’t mean I’m ignorant of the ‘historical context’ of hurt feelings of Aboriginal people over the years (the typical argument brought forth when you suggest ‘ape’ should not be a censored word), but that I’d rather use logic and reason instead of emotion when it comes to stuff like this. Logic tells me that when I’ve been called a name, it’s almost always because someone wanted to take a cheap shot and was angry or frustrated or wanting to appear superior, or some other powerful emotion that tends to blur our logical thought processes. Being that I’m easily identifiable as Aboriginal, the cheap shot will usually take the form of a racial slur. For others, it might be based on their weight, hair colour, appearance, religion, skin colour – it seems as humans we find a million ways to see differences in one another and separate ourselves according to those, and it would seem there is nobody who is immune from this.
As for Adam, well, in the end, I think he got what he really wanted. Before the game, he spoke of Nicky Winmar and his now historic stand against racism. As a man whose days are numbered at the top of his game, he really wants to be remembered like Nicky was. He wants a legacy. And as he inches closer to retirement from football, a job afterwards would be nice – perhaps the victim theatrics were just his way of auditioning for a job in the Industry. Viewing his performance from that angle, I give him an A++. They’re gonna love him. As for me, I can’t look up to you Adam. I’m ashamed of the way a child was used as a pawn to achieve your goal, and you should be too.