Society and Culture

Australians School the World on How To Not Be Racist

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Folks, Christmas is right around the corner. Unlike my awesome, totally not annoying friend on Facebook who has had a daily countdown to Christmas going since like, October (I shit you not), I am kind of freaking out right now.



Oh come on, like you aren’t. Gift buying is hard.

However! Despite the stress of Christmas money-spending and family-schmoozing, there is some holiday time awesomeness happening in the world this week.

And it’s happening in—wait for it…




The land of terrifying spiders and other freakishly large insects is setting a really great example for the rest of the world this week, as they respond to the hostage crisis that’s currently unfolding in Sydney.

In case you haven’t been following the news, Man Haron Monis, an Iranian political refugee, held 17 hostages at gunpoint inside a Lindt Chocolat Café in downtown Sydney early Monday morning. After 16 hours, Australian police stormed the café.

Three people were killed—Monis being one of them—and four were injured. Monis had an extensive prior record with law enforcement in Sydney, and officials currently believe he acted alone.

This is a terrible, awful thing that happened in Sydney, and I think it’s safe to say that our hearts are collectively with the hostages and their families.


The people of Sydney are handling this tragedy remarkably well. And I mean like, really, REALLY well. People of the United States—and actually, the whole rest of the world—take note.



Here’s what’s happening.

Muslims in Sydney were feeling understandably concerned about their safety in the aftermath of this hostage crisis. In countries like the U.S., every time Muslims are in the news, for literally any reason—whether it’s a terrorist attack or an innocent debate about where to build a new mosque—anti-Muslim hate crimes increase.

So, to recap, whenever Americans are reminded that there are Muslims among them, they start attacking them at significantly higher rates.

Seriously, guys? This is some racist bullshit. Stop it.



But, in Sydney, they tend to handle things a little better. Or, you know, a LOT better. Instead of attacking Muslim Australians or vandalizing their homes, businesses, and mosques, non-Muslims in Sydney decided to step up and protect their fellow residents.

A Twitter hashtag, #IllRideWithYou, started when a single, non-Muslim person offered to walk with a woman wearing a Hijab who presumably felt unsafe.

Tweets started to follow, as other non-Muslims throughout Sydney started to post their commuting routes, offering to ride with any Muslims in religious clothing who were concerned about their safety.  

The hashtag has since gone viral, and that’s really fucking awesome.

The people of Sydney are using social media to let Muslims in their communities know that they’re safe in their homes and on the streets. No need to fear retaliation in the name of this hostage crisis—the people of Australia understand that the actions of one disturbed human being don’t translate to an entire religion of people who have nothing to do with him.


In short, Australians are responding to the Lindt hostage crisis by doing the opposite of what many Americans would do.

They’re being actively anti-racist.

So, people of Sydney, we salute you. You’re restoring our collective faith in humanity today. Keep being awesome.

Everyone else—let’s follow Sydney’s example, mmkay?

Hannah R. Winsten
Hannah R. Winsten is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow. Contact Hannah at



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