Racist attack leaves disappointment, anger

News that a visitor to our city was subjected to racially motivated harassment is disheartening, disgusting, and embarrassing,.

It has been revealed that a professional dancer, who was in Launceston to compete at last weekend’s Tasmanian Open DanceSport Championships, was verbally attacked by a stranger on the street.

The stranger spat a tirade of racially fuelled insults at the dancer, who is of Asian appearance.

This man, a visitor to our city and state, from Victoria, has had what should have been an amazing weekend in Launceston, tainted by the outdated and backwards behaviour of one individual.

While it is upsetting to hear of one person’s experience, and how profoundly it affected them, it is further upsetting to think how many similar incidents occur that we don’t hear about.

There’s that age-old saying – for every rat you see, there’s 50 you don’t – is it naive to hope the phrase doesn’t also apply to racist attacks?

It’s not the first time Launceston has displayed such examples of low character.

Earlier this year, a Sri Lankan family was humiliated, abused, and threatened in an hour-long attack at one of Launceston’s inner-city bus stops.

It left the family – a teen girl and her parents – feeling unsafe and scared. It left the Launceston community feeling angry, and ashamed, that such behaviour has gone on in our city.

Launceston prides itself on being a city for everyone – in 2013, it was voted the most family friendly city in Australia. What sort of family friendly city has seemingly random racially motivated attacks on its streets?

Absolutely, this sort of unacceptable behaviour is definitely in the minority. But that is where the majority of us come in.

We must stand up when this sort of behaviour occurs, for many reasons.

To show the perpetrator that this is not acceptable behaviour in modern society. To show the victim that we support them.

And to help society move forwards into a better place, where acceptance is second nature, and there are no exceptions to the rule.

At a time when war and terrorism threatens the world, and our politicians brazenly mock religious and cultural minorities, it is more important than ever that individuals be the change and the good that they wish to see in the world.