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Byron Shire
September 23, 2023

Is the Echo showing racist tendencies?

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I felt sick when I read last week’s letters comparing the practice of renting illegal dwellings in the shire to what the writer describes as ‘Nigger huts’.

A quick google of the term does not come up with any definition. Only an assortment of racist websites where people of African heritage are denigrated.

I agree with the writer’s concerns about unfair rental exchange in the shire.

I just don’t understand why it was necessary to use such a offensive term to highlight these housing issues.

While this situation is exploitative, comparing it to something as horrific as slavery is insulting to the millions of people kidnapped and kept as slaves to work from dawn to dusk, treated as property, branded and so on during the transatlantic slave trade.

A week later the Byron Shire Echo jumps in with an apology assuring people that the use of the word was not in fact racist but used in a historical context, to make a fair point and so should not cause offence.

Newsflash.. if a word is generally used to denigrate another race then it IS racist.

For this reason it should not have been printed.

Also offensive is the apologist jumping in to defend and whitesplain that the term wasn’t meant in an offensive way. Whenever race comes up in the media you can be sure a bunch of white men will jump up to explain away racism.

The only way we will end racism is to call it when we hear it.

Oh and on a practical note. The rental tribunal is the first step if you are concerned that you are being taken advantage of. If you don’t have a lease they will still act on your behalf.

Sharon Gibson, Mullumbimby






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