Dear Sam Frost, This Is Why Using The Word Segregation Was Problematic In Your COVID Rant

Image from Instagram
Over the weekend former Bachelorette star-turned Home and Away actress Sam Frost faced backlash for using the word 'segregation' to describe the treatment of unvaccinated people.
In a video shared to her now-deleted Instagram account, Frost explained her decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying, "I was really hesitant about doing a video or even speaking up about this sort of thing.
"But I feel like it’s getting to a point now in the world where there’s a lot of segregation, a lot of harsh judgment, and it’s taking its toll on my mental health."
It wasn't long before a wave of backlash ensued, with many people highlighting that Frost's use of the word 'segregation' in this instance was rather problematic given the historical context of the word.
Over the years, segregation has commonly been used to refer to the mistreatment of Black people in Australia and abroad. And comparing the experiences of people who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 to those of racial groups who endured 'segregation' is not only disrespectful, it doesn't make sense.
In South Africa, apartheid was a system of segregationist policies against non-white citizens of South Africa from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. It legislated the physical separation of races, where Black people were stripped of their South African citizenship, and separate educational standards were set for people who weren't white.
In the US, Jim Crow segregation referred to legalised racial segregation of Black Americans by denying them the right to vote, be employed and get an education. This lasted for around 100 years up until 1968.
In Australia, the segregation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be traced back to as early as the 1800s after the British colonisation of the country in 1788.
Government policy initially attempted to segregate and distance First Nations children from their families by setting up separate schools. The government established missions and reserves where Indigenous people were moved and confined to.
According to the government's Bringing Them Home report, "By about 1890 the Aborigines' Protection Board had developed a policy to remove children of mixed descent from their families to be 'merged' into the non-Indigenous population."
The intergenerational trauma of the Stolen Generations – thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly removed from their families by the Australian government between 1910 and 1970 – is felt by First Nations communities to this day.
Professor Jakelin Troy, who is a Ngarigu woman and Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney, said TV personality Frost's use of the word 'segregation' in her Instagram video was problematic because it's an example of "appropriating" the idea that those who aren't vaccinated are being "othered" in the same way BIPOC have been.
"It's [getting vaccination] a hot topic at the moment because, really, it's going to mean risking your personal safety as your own choice," she told Refinery29 Australia. "We don't have a choice. I can't not be Aboriginal. I'm not making a choice, this is my life, I'm Aboriginal and I'm glad."
Professor Troy said comparing the aftermath of making a decision where "you have complete freedom" is disrespectful towards "people from minority groups, whether it's the LGBTQ community, African American communities, Native American communities and other Indigenous people all over the world."
In her Instagram video, Frost described unvaccinated people as "getting separated from society" as the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions in some states, such as NSW, allow vaccinated people to do certain things while the unvaccinated need to wait until December 1.
“I want to tell those people that feel like they’re getting separated from society – well, I’m not vaccinated, and there’s a reason why I’m not, I’ve spoken to my doctor and my psychologist about it, and I’m going to keep it private," said Frost.
Professor Troy said that by again referring to a group of people being 'separated', it can be seen as disrespectful towards racial groups and their traumatic experiences in the past.
"Anyone who chooses not to get vaccinated is not joining a major political movement or becoming a rebel of any sort," she said.
"There won't be any underground railways because they'll need rescuing. There won't be any death camps for them," she continued, adding being in hospital with COVID-19 would be the closest it would get to that.
"They're not going to be charged on commissions and reserves with Aboriginal people, nor are they going to have their children stolen from them."
It's an opportunity now for Frost, along with other celebrities and social media personalities with a huge following to understand the massive influence they have, and their responsibility to choose their words wisely.
Frost, who had over 578,000 Instagram followers, has since deleted her account. Her employer Channel 7 has said she is still filming the soap, Home and Away.
“Seven strongly encourages vaccination for all our people and all Seven productions strictly adhere to the public health COVID-19 safe protocols,” a spokesman for the network told
“All Home and Away cast and crew also undertake Covid-19 testing three times a week in addition to other preventive measures. Sam Frost continues to work on Home And Away and follows the safety protocols in place.”

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