Martin Luther King Jr and race in Australia

Sixty years ago, MLK declared “I have a dream”. As Australia votes on the Voice, we grapple with racism.

It’s been 60 years since Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. ascended the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., declaring that “one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers – I have a dream today.” 

More than half a century on from King’s dream, where are we in Australia on the vexed question of race relations?  

In this episode of Life & Faith, we speak to fellow CPXer Max Jeganathan, who’s recently written about the Voice and his own experience of racism in Australia – according to him, the “least racist” country he’s ever lived in.  

Max was born into a Sri Lankan Tamil family with close personal experience of the Black July riots of 1983, a government-sanctioned program of racial discrimination against minority Tamils. His family wound up in Australia as humanitarian refugees.  

While Max is very positive about growing up in Australia, he’s still experienced racism. Which provides a glimpse, perhaps, of the racial discrimination experienced by Aboriginal Australians on an ongoing basis. 



Max’s article on how the Voice is a question of love and moral imagination 

Max’s article on racism in light of the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech 

The Martin Luther King Jr. segment from For the love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined.