A Perth man’s generous response after overhearing a racist conversation in a caf has gone viral on Facebook.
In a post that has been “liked” more than 9,000 times, Jarred Wall described how during lunch he overheard two elderly women speaking about Aboriginal Australians. He suggested their conversation was “less than distasteful with words like assimilation thrown around willy nilly.”
Instead of confronting the pair in person, Wall became the living embodiment of Michelle Obama’s now-iconic advice from the Democratic National Convention in July: “When they go low, we go high.” He bought the two women a nice pot of tea and included a short but effective message on the receipt: “Enjoy the tea! Compliments of the 2 aboriginals [sic] sitting next to you on table 26.”
“Maybe these ladies will be a little wiser and think before they speak. Hopefully there won’t be a next time!” he wrote on Facebook.
Wall, whose family are Wardandi and Bibbulmun people from southwest Australia, said he shared the note on Facebook just for friends at first, but made it public when he saw the impact it was having.
“They were elderly ladies, I didn’t want to humiliate anyone or cause conflict,” he told Mashable. “Whether they took it in and really had a think about it I’ll never know, but they were at least a little shocked and might think next time they speak out loud.”
He explained that in light of recent events in Kalgoorlie, after protests in the West Australian town turned violent following the death of 14-year-old Indigenous boy Elijah Doughty, he wanted to respond in a positive way. “I thought people could learn there are alternative ways of dealing with conflict … and those types of views,” Wall said.
The story has been warmly received on social media, and Wall has been praised for handling the situation with kindness.
“It takes class to suffer ignorance and smile,” one woman wrote. “Good for you. Hopefully, your kind gesture might have a positive outcome. If not…well there are other people in the world to focus your positive energy on.”
“Well done on taking the higher ground! English breakfast tea can melt the coldest hearts,” another wrote.
Wall’s story comes as Australia continues to struggle with its historical and ongoing mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians. Last week, the Australian Press Council chose not to rule on a cartoon in The Australian newspaper that many found highly racist.
The image, created by cartoonist Bill Leak and published in August, shows a man drinking while telling a policeman he cannot remember his son’s name.
It suggests Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers don’t know their own children and appears to blame them for their high rates of incarceration. It came after the ABC’s Don Dale revelations, which exposed the extreme mistreatment young people, including the use of solitary confinement, in a largely Indigenous juvenile detention centre in Darwin.
In a powerful rebuttal of Leak’s ugly stereotype, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and children shared family photos on social media, sending #IndigenousDads trending across Australia.
The hashtag was revived on Sunday, Sept. 4, which was Father’s Day in Australia.
UPDATE: Sept. 11, 2016, 5:04 p.m. AEST Comment added from Jarred Wall.
Originally found athttp://mashable.com/