Patriotism and Nationalism can sometimes mean the same thing, however, there is one additional element to nationalism that sets it apart from real patriotism.
As an article on the website of the Merriam-Webster dictionary explains:
“the definition of nationalism also includes ‘exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.’ This exclusionary aspect is not shared by patriotism.”
There is a particular brand of nationalism (though they’d like to pretend it’s patriotism) which is based on a racist world view that promotes the time of White Australia Policy as the good old days.
This world view completely ignores (and in some sense seeks to displace) Indigenous Australians as the native people of this land. It also rejected anyone who isn’t white (and often white & Christian, or for some white, Christian and male). This brand of nationalism claims people who have been here for generations, not to mention the very many first generation Australians who immigrated here from around the world, are not “real Australians”.
When the flags come out on January 26th, many of these nationalists wrongly see it as a sign their particular brand of nationalism is acceptable in Australia. They have, in their heads, given their own meaning to our national symbols like the flag. Feeling they have more support than usual, these nationalists then start to abuse people they decide aren’t Australian enough for them. That includes abuse against Indigenous Australians, first generation Australians, and Australians whose ancestors may have been here generations before the nationalists own ancestors, but who simply don’t match their racist made up idea of what an Australian should look like.
These nationalists are a real problem and have an impact on public safety, particularly on January 26th each year. The incitement online by these groups leads to real harm both online and in the public streets. As Australia’s only charity dedicated to addressing the harm from online hate, we are working to prevent this growing problem. That’s a cause we hope most most Australians can support.
We’re currently fundraising towards a target of $2,000 for a campaign to tackle the rise of racism on January 26th. These funds will be used to:
- Add an online reporting tool configures for reporting racism (see this one we setup to tackle Holocaust denial and antisemitism)
- Promote anti-racism messages and positive messages of Australian values that unite us (see e.g. these images from some of our past campaigns)
- Monitor the activity of online nationalist groups on the day
- Reporting on racism in online nationalist groups to raise awareness of the problem and push back against it (see e.g. this article showing content in the lead up to 26th of January 2018)
Thank you to everyone who has already donated to support our campaign against racism. In less than a week we have raised over 25% of the needed budget and we’re hopeful that with your support we’ll reach our goal.
If you haven’t donated, please join us. Every donation, regardless of size, brings us a little close to our goal. Just as importantly, it shows that people are willing to take real action to combat racism. Likes and shares are very welcome (click the floating button to share), but even a small donation makes a far more powerful statement. Visit the campaign page to donate.