In public

  • library photo

    Vanessa, 36

    Whilst I was shopping at a book store, a lady came up to me and did the ‘slanty’ Asian look at me with the use of her fingers and muttered “Asian”. I could not believe how rude she was. I went and approached her in store and told her off. She just walked away ignoring me. I then reported her to the shop assistant and he confronted her. She denied the accusations, saying she has a Japanese adopted son and would never do that. She actually accused me of harassing her. I told her off and said her racist behaviour is not welcome and she needs to learn some manners. She didn't reply. She walked away.

  • Sean, 34

    Driving home from work one afternoon, I pulled up at a roundabout and catch a glimpse of this dirty 4x4 in my rear view. Encased in mud, complete with the usual roll bars, spotlights and adorned with stickers from one alcohol brand to another, it arrives next to me. Then I notice the “f**k off, we're full" sticker with the text inside the shape of Australia (maybe you've seen it?). I could barely contain myself from just winding down the window and saying something... but I didn’t. I drove home and made a version of the same sticker on my computer but put a big red line/stroke through the middle of it. Like a no-smoking sign, except it was a no “f**k off we’re full” sign. I used it as my profile picture on Facebook and shared the story with my friends. Several others grabbed the image and shared it, used it for their own profile pic and got a lot of talk happening.

  • Sally, 48

    public phone

    The scene: a car park with an “automated” payment machine and no on-site operator. Customer in front of me is having trouble with their exit ticket and hits the intercom button for assistance.
    Machine operator is pushy, talks fast, is impatient and unhelpful and customer becomes flustered.
    Machine operator then says... “Well it would help if you could speak English.”
    [Customer has barely discernible accent (no idea which, doesn’t matter)].
    Usually quiet and non-confrontational me steps up to machine and says politely “Excuse me – I’m the customer behind the one you’re serving at the moment.”
    Rude aggressive voice from machine says “Can you help this person?”
    Me in same polite voice: “I could help in two ways. I think it would be helpful if you just slowed down and were a little more patient.”
    Machine operator: “And the other one?”
    Me in a firmer and more intense voice:
    “CUT THE DAMN RACISM!”
    Silence for 3 to 5 seconds.
    Machine operator recommences in much more patient and respectful tones. It turns out that the ticket was faulty and the operator enables customer to pay standard evening fee and leave.
    And then:
    Customer turns to me the big smile on face and walks away.
    THE END.

  • Steven, 44

    I was watching AFL at a pub in FNQ. Liam Jurrah was playing, and man at the next table turned to me said out loud a pretty horrible thing about “lucky the lights are on...” (you can work out the rest). I said “NO. NO. That is just wrong” and turned away from him with my palm out first like a stop sign. I was expecting abuse. He grumbled something, and after a few minutes of being blanked by me got up and left. A couple next to me said “good onya”. I was quite nervous, because he was a big bloke. But it felt right to do it. Silence is acquiescence.

  • cafe photo

    Nick, 19

    I was conversing with a group of friends in our native language at a cafe, when we were 'politely' asked by a young lady to not speak in our language in public. I turned to her and said, “Oh, are we taking this opportunity to 'politely' ask others to do something ridiculous? In that case, can you please refrain from speaking in public? Oh, did my comment offend? That's because I prevented you from practising your most basic form of freewill - your right to speech and language. We have the right to choose what we say and in what language we say it in. No one, not even you princess, can do anything to change that.” With that, she left without another word. What we discovered later was that she paid for our table as she left.

  • Paula, 43

    My family moved to the Mornington Peninsula in the 1970s. We were the first Somalian family in the area. I was constantly asked by my peers why my skin was brown. I got so tired of being asked everyday so I asked my mum what to do. She told me to tell them when we were born god put us all in the oven and he left me for a bit longer and I got a little burnt! It worked a great and they never asked me again! The look on their faces was priceless!

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