OPINION: Have we actually embraced diversity?

IT’S a harsh reality. Well, for me anyway.

Maybe I’ve been ignorant, short-sighted one could say.

But I thought our world was a little more ‘evolved’ than what it actually is.

On Tuesday, I attended the celebration to launch the new multicultural action plan which is an approach from council to help “recognise, embrace and celebrate” diverse cultures on the Coast.

The celebration was beautiful, filled with hundreds of members of the community all coming together for a common cause.

But there was something else which was overwhelmingly common in the room – the absolute need for this plan to be put into action.

After speaking to multiple attendees at the event, all of whom have arrived on the Coast within the past few years, it was quite eye-opening for me listening to the similarity of their comments.

Many commented that when they arrived they felt lost, unsure how to navigate things like enrolling their children into education.

Others commented that they felt businesses had great difficulty accepting them and nurturing them.

It blows my mind how difficult it is for those who aren’t seen to be from the ‘dominant’ culture to make a life for themselves.

And it continues to blow my mind just how necessary this action plan really is for our community.

But it’s not just our community that needs assistance.

On Tuesday, prominent indigenous Coast artist Jandamarra Cadd posted to Facebook sharing a horrifying encounter for him at the International Airport.

Mr Cadd had been overseas for NAIDOC celebrations and was returning home when the incident occurred.

The artist’s post said he had been “pulled aside” by an officer and for the next 45 minutes had everything stripped from his bag.

But there were two parts of the post which were particularly heartbreaking for me.

The first was the fact he had items he described as “sacred” out on display for all to see, with no sensitivity shown.

And equally as shocking, were two realisations he had made.

“I have never felt at ease in this country and have always felt anxiety living in this society,” it read.

“Because deep in my psyche I know there is deep seated feelings of inferiority.”

Absolutely heartbreaking. No one should ever have to feel this way, particularly in the place they refer to as ‘home’.

I honestly thought we’d come a little further than this. I guess not.

In saying this, I am proud our community is taking the step to help start these conversations and ultimately remove this sense of ‘inferiority’.

I can now definitely understand just how necessary it is.

This post was originally published by the Sunshine Coast Daily.

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