“Get off your grass mates.” Certainly he wasn’t speaking to me. After all that, I was showing my certification card and doing what I usually do before a test match: looking at the net. As a bonus, three of his white colleagues from the Australian media were also standing next to me at the Gabba that afternoon.
Only when he was in front of me and literally pulled me off the “f—ing grass” did I realize I was being chosen – that my presence was the cause of his anger I noticed. Surprised by the loudness and tone of his voice, I flashed my certification card. It took the intervention of his fellow journalists for him to relent. But as he gave me a big smile, he said, You are lucky,” he pointed to my certificate. The next morning he jumped on me again.
But when that scene repeated a year later in Gabba, I’d had enough. Different guards, same menacing tone. This time, Cole, the media manager for the Australian team, reached out to Hitchcock. So imagine my disappointment a week later when I was stopped by a group of security guards at the MCG. to others after confirming my certification.
In the past, I hesitated to talk about it. Probably because I felt safer doing so than having to confront them, I would have responded with a self-deprecating joke. It was also easy to be the one to justify it, because these are not pleasant conversations for us. Last week’s social media posts were an attempt to do just that.
Point out how it feels to be constantly looked down upon. Expect to be constantly asked to accept that some people have the right to disrespect you, and laugh with them in the name of a joke.
The negative nature of some of the responses to my tweets further demonstrated the crux of the matter. A thoughtless denial that discrimination of this nature no longer exists in Australian society. Also why is it so hard to stir a pot and then bring it out without being immediately accused of it. Even Usman Khawaja you still wear the Australian team kit.
I acknowledge that I have been treated with the same fairness and respect as any Australian journalist by every player I have met in the five years I have been here. I was also very touched by the support and love from the media fraternity, including a famous former cricketer who came to Melbourne last week.
But if you’re one of those who think racism is gone, just listen. This is not just a problem for cricket ground security guards. A certain perspective in Australia means dealing with it on a daily basis.