In an exclusive chat with New Idea, Josh delves further into why raising awareness of the racism his wife and kids experience or may experience is so important to him.
“I find it important to just bring awareness to it because it’s not directed at bad people who are really fundamentally racist,” he tells us.
“It’s directed at people who are otherwise really thoughtful people and care about this stuff, but maybe just haven’t been as cautious as they could be.”
He adds: “It’s really about putting yourself in the position of others, and that’s pretty hard to do when you’re living your life as a white person, walking through the world and not experiencing any of these things.”
An example he highlights is his wife feeling uncomfortable with being in an Aussie pub, feeling like she didn’t belong there, and Josh brushing it off due to a lack of understanding.
“I’d say, ‘it’s fine, I don’t think it’s bad, I don’t think this vibe is happening,’ and of course, that’s incredibly insensitive of me,” he says.
“It was completely trivialising; her instincts are based on her experiences, and they’re experiences that I haven’t had.”
It’s a theme that constantly presents itself in almost every discussion about racism, and it’s how while one person might not see how something could be racist, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t.
“Situations that seem innocuous to somebody who it’s not directed at can feel uncomfortable or even threatening to somebody that it is directed at,” Josh explains.
From making jokes about a certain culture to unknowingly turning a blind eye to racism, Josh says it’s always important to lead with empathy.
“It’s not just with race, it’s just about trying to be a better human and the whole point of the talk also is that completely acknowledging that I haven’t, and I still don’t, always get it right.
“And no one will always get it right. And we shouldn’t be sort of chastised for that, but we should all keep trying – it’s as simple as that.”
As for how he’s dealing with the topic of racism in his own home, specifically with his kids, Josh says he’s cautious not to highlight negative things to his sons.
“I don't want to make them fearful of people in general or assume that everyone’s going to be a little bit racist. I don’t think that’s true of people,” he says.
Another thing that hits close to home for Josh is his new album, To Find Happiness, which includes two songs that explore his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Explaining how it feels to release something so deeply personal, Josh says it can be scary, daunting and cathartic all at the same time.
“The way that I process that sort of grief and turmoil is to write songs about it, and that’s always been the way for me,” he says.
“There are so many people that experience issues similar to this, and maybe they don’t have the outlet that I do to write songs about it, and I’ve found that people have responded really well.”
To celebrate the release of his new album, Josh is embarking on a massive national tour – his first since 2018.
After not being able to go ahead with a tour for his previous album ROME due to lockdown restrictions, Josh was eager to get out there for To Find Happiness.
“I kind of felt like that whole element of my creative process was eliminated and I wanted to replace that with something,” he says.
Outside of music, Josh has made a name for himself in recent years as a children’s book author, with his book Family Tree selected for National Simultaneous Storytime 2022 Selection.
To Find Happiness by Josh Pyke is out now (Sony).