“Indigenous
Comedy //

August 2014: Acceptable Racism Dies Of Heart Failure

Bennett Sheldon reports on the death.

Image: Mark Hillary, via Flickr. Image: Mark Hillary, via Flickr.

Walter Lockheart Jeffreys III, 109, passed away this past week, and with him the world lost the last remaining beacon of endearing racism. Being brought up on a farm, in a different time, in a different context, without the same education, awareness, or attitudes as people today, Walter’s casual racism was just kind of allowed to fly under the radar.

Responding paramedic Alison Choi reported that despite the team’s best efforts to revive him, there was nothing he could do. “When I arrived he tried to ask for a doctor who spoke English,” Choi said. “I know I should have been offended, but he was remarkably old.”

Marie, 46, an avid Greens supporter, said that her grandfather would be remembered in their family for “his smile, his generosity, and his service in the war”, somehow failing to mention his distaste towards immigrants and integrated water fountains. “He used to say some of the silliest things we’d ever heard, we just tried not to take him out in public much.”

Others, however, described Walter as dead but long forgotten, as his family had supposedly made the conscious decision to ignore him at Christmas dinner since 1997. “Of course we didn’t like him talking about stealing jobs and ruining ‘Australian culture’, but if he wouldn’t notice us rolling our eyes and coughing uncomfortably at the table, what were we supposed to do? You have to understand he was too old to be told off, it was just kind of his thing. Essentially we were playing out the clock.”

Professor of Sociology at The University of Melbourne Sanjay Thakur has been unable to understand the acceptance of racism in such circumstances, but since the Walter’s death has noticed an instant shift in the social climate. “That was it, he was the last one of ‘that generation’” he commented. “There’s not any less racism unfortunately, but at least people aren’t getting away with that shit.”

Walter’s will has proven problematic, as the bulk of the groups he left his money to are now illegal or inactive since the 40s.

Great-grandson Andrew Jeffreys-Zhang refused to comment.

Filed under: