What Is Micro-Ignorance? The Important Message We Need To Remember This Week

Harmony Week just started on March 15 and ends on March 21 but do you know what it is? Pour yourself a cuppa, we’re going in.

Harmony Week celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. Simple. Except of course it’s not simple. Which is why you should really give a cup.

Harmony Week is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.

You see, while we’re proud of our rep as a vibrant and multicultural country, we still have to work on some of our attitudes towards one another, and Harmony Week is a great place to start.

While many of us are practicing social distancing due to the recent spread of coronavirus, there are still ways we can bring communities together in spirit and thought.

It’s all about conversation and inclusion, finding out about each other’s backgrounds, about cultural differences and similarities. With the benefits of being connected through social media and other platforms, the benefit is that can happen from the comfort of your own home.

Now, back to that tea -- did you know a humble cuppa can teach us a fair bit about diversity? Just ask T2, who have been living and breathing it since they first swung open their doors in 1996, with over 100 sourced recipes and blends from communities around the world.

And what is micro-ignorance? It’s all those everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults -- intentional or unintentional -- that we have to watch.

The ones that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to people based solely upon their marginalised group membership. You know the ones.

The videos, featuring four poets and their own experiences, are a powerful reminder that micro-ignorance isn’t going away, unless we get involved. And that, friends, is why Harmony Week is so important.

One of the four poets featured in T2's video. Image: Supplied

Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. It makes Australia a great place to live.

But micro-ignorance continues to be prevalent because the people of different backgrounds who experience it every day often feel unable to speak up, and unfortunately feel it’s something to deal with privately or take in their stride. And that’s a lot of people feeling marginalised.

According to a 2016 report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was and we identify with over 300 ancestries.

More than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia. Apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi

Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia. Image: Department of Home Affairs

See? Add gender, sexuality and religion to the mix and, well, we’re going to need a bigger teapot.

Challenging micro-ignorance is important if we want to really celebrate diversity and living the Harmony Week message that everyone belongs starts with you.

So get yourself that cuppa and celebrate the message that “everyone belongs”.

Featured image: Getty