‘It Was Really Humbling To Be Corrected’: Celebrities Discuss Racism And Ignorance In Camp

On Sunday night, celebrities discussed the ways in which language can be used in ignorant ways.

While speaking about her experiences growing up in Adelaide, Poh Ling Yeow told some of her fellow celebrities that she often becomes irked when “really minor things are getting conflated into the word racism when it’s not necessarily racist”.  

The celebrity chef continued, adding, “I think ignorance... is different to racism... Systemic racism is what happens to Indigenous people, it’s like horrific.” 

The term ‘systemic racism’ is used to describe how racist attitudes and behaviours have infiltrated every level of society.  

Derek Kickett weighed in with his own experiences saying, “Aboriginal people, they fear every time they go into the shops because they know eyes are watching them... they know eyes are watching them all the time. 

“The media don’t help as well,” Derek continued, “because there are no good stories about Aboriginal people. It’s all bad stuff... you take the sport out of it and then what’s the story about? There’s no story. There’s no good story.” 

For Poh, having the opportunity to get to know Derek during their time in the jungle has been invaluable. “He's really active in his community so all the issues that he really likes to talk and educate people about are important issues and I really enjoy soaking that all up.” 

The conversation then shifted to ignorance when it comes to language, as Poh told the group how she had been called out for using the word ‘walkabout’ in conversation. 

“You know how you’re saying your Aboriginal friend allows you to say walkabout,” Derek explained, “when you say it around other people, other Aboriginal people might get offended.” 

Shocked, Poh asked if the term was derogatory, to which Derek explained how it has been perceived by non-First Nations people, and when used by non-First Nations people the term’s connotations can change. 

“It was really humbling to be corrected about that, and know it was inappropriate for me to use,” Poh later reflected. “He did it in such a nice way and such a kind way. 

“It was really good to be able to apologise and know that, to just be a little bit more careful when I assume that I can use words that my Aboriginal friends use,” Poh continued.