Well, anti-racist Australians may have utterly failed to prevent our government from consigning men, women and children to the fourth circle of hell on Manus Island and Nauru (are we still only up to the fourth circle? surely we must be getting close to the ninth by now), but at least we can hold our head high in the knowledge that we made those German racists over at Aldi withdraw their racist Australia Day t-shirts and apologise.
And I should think so, too. They don’t know their market. Australian racists are resourceful folk quite capable of producing their own racist t-shirts, as we saw at Cronulla all those years ago. The Germans didn’t come up with anything as catchy as “No Lebs” or “Ethnic Cleansing Unit”. When it comes to racist sloganeering, Australians don’t need discount rate foreign imports.
Personally, I don’t think that Aldi’s apology goes nearly far enough. If they really want to show contrition, they should submit themselves to the hardships of the Kokoda Trail. That was the penance undertaken by the teenage Muslim boy who urinated on an RSL club’s Australian flag in the wake of the Cronulla riots. We should expect no less of the CEO of a multinational corporation.
Racism is the raison d’etre of Australian Day. Protesting when a supermarket doesn’t get its microagressions micro enough is entirely beside the point. I guess we have to take our victories where we find them, given our utter failure to halt the more macro, in-your-face forms of racism that Australians and Australian governments continue to propagate, over two centuries after the first Invasion Day. Perhaps instead of basking on a futile small success, we should focus on the more depressing task of addressing our sweeping and comprehensive failures.