The Only Thing Worse than Racism is Imagined Racism

7 October 2022

2.6 MINS

I have taught my black children that the only thing worse than racism is imagined racism. Actual racism can be confronted and dealt with. But imagined racism — where racist undertones are presumed in every interaction — is a bondage from which you can never be freed since the chains exist entirely in your own mind.

It is for this reason that Labor MP Anne Aly’s insistence, reported last month, that a proposed code of conduct for politicians should focus on “racism and micro-aggressions towards people of colour” is alarming.

In a submission to the committee charged with creating the code for parliamentarians and staff, the federal Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth wrote:

“I have witnessed instances of subtle racism and micro-aggressions towards people of colour in commonwealth parliamentary workplaces and have experienced them myself.”

Looking for Trouble

Notice Aly does not complain of racism but of “subtle racism”. She does not allege aggression towards people of colour. She claims, rather, to be aware of “micro-aggressions” in the parliament. I would have thought this was cause for celebration. Whatever racism does exist in parliamentary workplaces, it is evidently so subtle as to be barely perceptible.

That is, after all, the definition of a racist micro-aggression. It is an act of racism so infinitesimal that you must look very hard to find it before you can claim to have been traumatised by it. I would suggest that if you have time to inspect something very carefully to work out whether you are offended by it, taxpayers are probably not getting value for your wage. But I digress.

Aly’s submission continued: “No code of conduct that seeks to change workplace culture would be complete without acknowledging that these behaviours (micro-aggressions) exist in our workplace.” The MP is right that acknowledging micro-aggressions will change workplace culture, but not in the way she thinks and certainly not for the better.

Focusing on subtle racism and micro-aggressions will only train people to pore over the minutiae of every conversation and to sift through the entrails of every interaction in search of hidden racism. It prepares a small group of people to be always ready to take offence. And it trains everybody else to go through life always fearful of giving offence. As a result, everyone is worse off, though nothing has actually happened.


If my adopted Ethiopian sons end up working in parliament, no one will ask them where they are from for fear what they will hear is that, because they are black, they can’t be Australian. Subtle, isn’t it?

So no one will ask them where they are from, and they will assume it is because people aren’t interested in them because of their colour.

Aha! A micro-aggression. See how this works? Talk of micro-aggression reduces staff to micro-people incapable of ever being normal thanks to the all-seeing microscope of race-obsessed micromanagers.

Everyone is diminished by the experience. Everyone, that is, except for the ever-expanding team of consultants required to train staff to spot subtle racism and micro-aggressions since they are so subtle and so microscopic that they can be seen only with the aid of taxpayer-funded training.

I told my son the other night it was time to turn off the TV and go to bed. Straight-faced, he replied: “Why? Because I’m black?” A smirk slowly formed across his face and we both burst out laughing. So-called micro-aggressions are harmful to my son, but only because he might split his sides from laughter.

If racism is imagined in every conversation, and presumed to be embedded in every interaction, then people will imagine themselves always as victims, even when they’re not. And that is worse than racism since there is no remedy for it.

So I’m pleading with Aly and the parliamentary committee: you won’t protect my black children by institutionalising the thing I am trying to protect them from.


Originally published in The Australian.
Republished from The James Macpherson Report.

Subscribe to his Substack here for daily witty commentary.
Photo by Yan Krukov.


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One Comment

  1. Kaylne Emery 7 October 2022 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    As one in who is in recovery ( it takes a lifetime) from the victim mentality so abundantly pushed by the elites and their minions in the greens and other ideological cults I can only say thank you and Amen .

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