Stereotypes can be one of the most dangerous forces for evil in the world. They are the mechanism we use to dehumanize, to demonize the “other”: Blacks are lazy; American Indians are drunken; Muslims are terrorists; the elderly have dementia; Jews are greedy; blondes are dumb; Albanians are thieves . . . However true or untrue, these epithets become evil when used to characterize an entire people.
Australians can get very cranky at the beer-drinking, beach-culture stereotypes that circulate. We are not just a nation of beach bums and surfies. We are proud of our cultural institutions and humanitarian instincts. Our indigenous people represent one of the oldest continuous cultures on the planet, deeply spiritual and complex, distinctive and diverse. And come to think of it, we do rejoice in our beautiful beaches. Why ever not?
Small blessings: a walk on the beach. or under trees, or just down an old track.