○From page 217
Compared with some of the more bile-filled attacks Clarke recounts in this memoir – the ute driver on a sleepy suburban road who slows down to scream at her to drown her own child; the vile names she’s called by her classmates; the anonymous hate mail someone covertly slips between the pages of her school textbooks week-in, week-out for months – this example of small-minded ignorance might seem fairly benign, but The Hate Race expertly illustrates how racism is a one-sided war of attrition: “Somewhere along the line we give up counting,” Clarke writes. “Somewhere along the line, we just give in. Somewhere along the line, we stop reporting. Somewhere along the line, we die a little.”
It’s heartbreaking to read of Clarke’s school counsellor dismissing racist abuse as “a little bit of teasing”, a woman who immediately becomes more “businesslike” when Clarke tries claiming she has an eating disorder instead (the kind of issue associated with “pretty white girls”), “as if here was an actual real problem”.
But as I read, I was ashamed of the impotence, and of the indulgence, of my distress. “I don’t