Sometimes, What We Say Is Not a Joke. It Hurts – Hope 103.2

Sometimes, What We Say Is Not a Joke. It Hurts

Sarah was shocked to discover African immigrants said Australians can be "casually racist". She wants us to think more carefully about the words we use and our Aussie joking manner.

Listen: Sarah and Glenn Grant speak with Ben McEachen about speaking better to each other

By Ben McEachenFriday 10 Dec 2021Hope AfternoonsLifeReading Time: 2 minutes

We all know it is “un-Australian” to question something that seems undeniably Australian.

Like our love of joking with each other. Teasing. Banter. Giving someone a hard time, you know, because we’re mates.

Sarah and Glenn Grant live in the Snowy Mountains with their kids.

During lockdown, they did what you were doing. They spent more time online than usual.

Sarah went down a few rabbit holes of comment threads. One stood out to her. The one where African immigrants to Australia were calling out “casual racism”.

At first, Sarah was taken aback. But then she thought more about how these newcomers to Australia were hurt, insulted and disheartened by the “just joking, mate” culture they entered. Especially when it came to comments directed towards them which they took as being racist.

Sarah, Glenn and their kids already had spent a lot of time speaking with each other about how they could speak better with each other.

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Their family dynamic, as well as Glenn’s childhood experiences, led them to really work on their communication. Their Christian faith also informed a passion for thinking through what they said, how they said it, and how it’s heard.

Discovering those comments online fired up Sarah to again consider the power of words – the power of calling out the way we can excuse our words as jokes.

“Take the words in the Bible seriously,” Sarah said about first steps to changing our speech.

“There are so many passages in the Bible where God asks us to consider our words before we speak.

“To use gentle language. To present ourselves with meekness and humility to the people we meet.

“To be tender-hearted and to be compassionate; to understand the effect we have upon others.”

Listen to the full interview with Sarah Grant on Hope Afternoons in the player above.