One of my few Asian-background schoolmates was cast as a black character in a school play because he was "close enough"

People in Australia have been using #FreedomOfSpeech on Twitter to share their stories of racism.

As reported by The Guardian, the Australian government recently announced that it would proceed with plans to overhaul 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, effectively weakening race hate laws.

By overhauling section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the words “offend” and “insult” will be replaced with “harass”.  Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the changes were “an issue of values – free speech”.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said changing racial discrimination laws was not a priority.

In response, Twitter users in Australia have been using #FreedomOfSpeech to share their personal stories of racial discrimination. Use of the hashtag for this cause was triggered by Australian writer Benjamin Law, who wrote “To celebrate the Coalition tampering with the RDA on , let’s share stories of racism with hashtag . I’ll start.”

Law followed up the Tweet with another reading: “At the age of 10, I was at the local pool as a group of white boys held my head underwater, laughing at me for being Asian. #FreedomOfSpeech”

Law continued to share a number of other experiences including, “Last week a white Australian said about a speech I gave, “You speak better English than me and I’ve been here all my life.”

In response, other Twitter users jumped on the hashtag sharing stories ranging from workplace discrimination to physical abuse.