Anthony Mundine: ‘I’ve had racism all my life’
ANTHONY Mundine has detailed the racism he says he has experienced since childhood.
And the controversial figure, who calls himself 'The Man', revealed how he and his friends had guns drawn on them by police officers when they were teenagers.
"I had that (racism) growing up all through life," Mundine explained in the jungle camp on I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
"You're just being judged … coppers always pulling you over. I am hanging out with the boys in Redfern or Waterloo, that is like an Aboriginal neighbourhood. We are getting drawn guns on us when I was 16 and 17 just because we were in a group and I had a couple of fancy cars. It is black and white, that's it."
The former rugby league player turned professional boxer is understood to have fathered seven kids and said he teaches them to believe in themselves.
"I tell them there is good and bad in everyone," he told fellow celebrities in the jungle camp.
"It is not so much the people, it is the system and the powers that be. I just try and empower them and have their self-esteem high. I was lucky, I am very rare commodity when it comes to self-esteem and believing in myself. I am mentally strong.
Mundine, 42, explained that when he was a child, his father took him to Kings Cross and had those less fortunate tell him their stories to deter him from following that same path.
"A lot of brothers aren't like that. I've had heaps of brothers that had as much talent as me in basketball, boxing and footy but because they weren't mentally strong, they made the wrong choices and went down the wrong path."
Mundine is known for controversial statements on issues like homosexuality and contraception, but the discussion provided somewhat of a breakthrough in understanding with his fellow campmates.
"Anthony talking about his experiences of growing up, my heart softened so much," comedian Fiona O'Loughlin said. "I saw the boy in him."
Retired AFL player Josh Gibson was born in Australia but his father is originally from Barbados. He too has experienced racism.
"The stuff that I've had to deal with is nothing on the level that Anthony has but I have an understanding and an appreciation for what he's saying being also of darker skin," he said. "It does give you an understanding, but at the same time I will never know how hard Anthony has had it himself."
* The journalist is in South Africa covering I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! as a guest of Channel Ten.