Australia: The Racist Capital of the World?

Posted on January 21, 2010 in GlobeScope

Sivapathan Silojah:

Racism is man’s gravest threat to man — the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” — Abraham J. Heschel

Based on someone’s ‘race’ or color or motherland, racism takes different forms from abusive language to genocide. It destroys a community’s cohesion and develops diversions in a society. It is totally opposite to the democratic policy of equality. When a group of people think they are superior to others, racism is rooted in their aggressive minds. They develop this socially constructed idea and discriminate towards the rest.

Racism is common in Australia, one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world. A study says that three out of four indigenous Australians face racial discrimination in their everyday lives and according to another study, it is said that one in ten Australians are racist. Racism is not a new concept for Australia. From the history of colonization and migration, it is clear that Australia is linked to racism from the beginning. The first settlers of Australia, British people and Europeans, dispossessed Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. From that point, indigenous people were influenced by white population.

Stories from Indigenous people of Australia

In March 2008, 16 people from Yuendumu, a remote central Australian Aboriginal community, including women and children traveled 300 kilometers to Alice Springs for life saving training run by the Royal Lifesaving Society. They were ejected from the hostel they were staying in only because some tourists who were also staying there complained that they were afraid to stay with Aborigines.

In April 2008, William Barton, a world-renowned Aboriginal composer, son of Delmae Barton, went to Kings Cross haunt Hugo’s at 9.30 pm on a Sunday to celebrate his friend’s birthday. He and his friend were refused entry and told by one of the door staff ,”You can’t expect us to just let anyone in.”

The tone of racial discrimination is inherent in the Australian State Policy. The aborigines have faced violence since decades and relinquish to such outrageous acts of discrimination such as their non -participation in the Australian Assembly.

The migration of peoples from all parts of the world led to an increased cultural and linguistic diversity in the Australian population. Prejudice and discrimination have been directed towards many groups who arrived in Australia, in particular towards groups from language backgrounds other than English. Every day, there are several incidents of racism happening around Australia.

For example, Zara, a young lady from Afghanistan was walking on a road with her neighbor and talking in her native language, rather than English when a ‘white Australian’ told them “stop talking your bloody language in Australia you both people.” When the girls asked what was wrong with him, he started using abusive language.

The recent attacks on Indian students have thrust the issue of racism in Australia into mainstream news. The Indian government has protested, and the Indian media has voiced deep concern regarding this issue. Approximately 90,000 Indian students are studying in Australia, and everyday we are hearing of Indian students being attacked in Australia.The most brutal incident was that of Sravan Kumar Theerthala, an Indian student studying in Australia, who was attacked by a screwdriver. Another student Baljinder Singh was robbed and stabbed outside a railway station.

Racism weaves its way through Australian sport with varying degrees of official tolerance, but in some codes it has equal billing with misogyny. It was there for all to see with the crude sledging engaged in during an Australian cricket tour of India. Australia proves to be racist in every field including sports, politics, and educational sector.

In addition, the UN also stated that there is entrenched racism in Australia. Thus, it is true that Australia is the racist capital of the world. Racism affects everyone. It damages communities by limiting the contributions of its members and disrupts peaceful co-existence and co-operation between groups. It damages individuals by destroying self-confidence and preventing them from achieving their potential. This social injustice must be prohibited all over the world.

The writer is a Bangladesh based features writer/correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Racism is man’s gravest threat to man — the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” — Abraham J. Heschel

Based on someone’s ‘race’ or color or motherland, racism takes different forms from abusive language to genocide. It destroys a community’s cohesion and develops diversions in a society. It is totally opposite to the democratic policy of equality. When a group of people think they are superior to others, racism is rooted in their aggressive minds. They develop this socially constructed idea and discriminate towards the rest.

Racism is common in Australia, one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world. A study says that three out of four indigenous Australians face racial discrimination in their everyday lives and according to another study, it is said that one in ten Australians are racist. Racism is not a new concept for Australia. From the history of colonization and migration, it is clear that Australia is linked to racism from the beginning. The first settlers of Australia, British people and Europeans, dispossessed Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. From that point, indigenous people were influenced by white population.

Stories from Indigenous people of Australia

In March 2008, 16 people from Yuendumu, a remote central Australian Aboriginal community, including women and children traveled 300 kilometers to Alice Springs for life saving training run by the Royal Lifesaving Society. They were ejected from the hostel they were staying in only because some tourists who were also staying there complained that they were afraid to stay with Aborigines.

In April 2008, William Barton, a world-renowned Aboriginal composer, son of Delmae Barton, went to Kings Cross haunt Hugo’s at 9.30 pm on a Sunday to celebrate his friend’s birthday. He and his friend were refused entry and told by one of the door staff ,”You can’t expect us to just let anyone in.”

The tone of racial discrimination is inherent in the Australian State Policy. The aborigines have faced violence since decades and relinquish to such outrageous acts of discrimination such as their non -participation in the Australian Assembly.

The migration of peoples from all parts of the world led to an increased cultural and linguistic diversity in the Australian population. Prejudice and discrimination have been directed towards many groups who arrived in Australia, in particular towards groups from language backgrounds other than English. Every day, there are several incidents of racism happening around Australia.

For example, Zara, a young lady from Afghanistan was walking on a road with her neighbor and talking in her native language, rather than English when a ‘white Australian’ told them “stop talking your bloody language in Australia you both people.” When the girls asked what was wrong with him, he started using abusive language.

The recent attacks on Indian students have thrust the issue of racism in Australia into mainstream news. The Indian government has protested, and the Indian media has voiced deep concern regarding this issue. Approximately 90,000 Indian students are studying in Australia, and everyday we are hearing of Indian students being attacked in Australia.The most brutal incident was that of Sravan Kumar Theerthala, an Indian student studying in Australia, who was attacked by a screwdriver. Another student Baljinder Singh was robbed and stabbed outside a railway station.

Racism weaves its way through Australian sport with varying degrees of official tolerance, but in some codes it has equal billing with misogyny. It was there for all to see with the crude sledging engaged in during an Australian cricket tour of India. Australia proves to be racist in every field including sports, politics, and educational sector.

In addition, the UN also stated that there is entrenched racism in Australia. Thus, it is true that Australia is the racist capital of the world. Racism affects everyone. It damages communities by limiting the contributions of its members and disrupts peaceful co-existence and co-operation between groups. It damages individuals by destroying self-confidence and preventing them from achieving their potential. This social injustice must be prohibited all over the world.

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  • Australia: The Racist Capital of the World? | Australia Today
  • Lisa Hogben

    Hi there Sivapathan, not only have I worked in Yuendumu amongst the very beautiful Walpiri mob, William Barton is a good friend of mine. I am a white Australian and I am constantly and utterly disgusted with the depths of racism exhibited so widely by other Australians.

    Racists are generally the not so bright Australians and the ones that really are unable to discern between bureaucratic government policy and free thought. Racists tend to be unable to comprehend anything outside their own defined and indescribably boring existences. Racists also seem unable to change…

    Now if you take the parameters that have often been foisted on people of different ethnicity to the predominant caucasian types you will see that racism will eventually die out. Survival of the fittest requires an ability to change, mutate, metamorphose into new ways of surviving the constantly changing environment…

    For instance all those Aussie red-necks, that hang out in the Northern Territory will eventually die of skin cancer… Black skin is a definite advantage in that kind of climate!

    Seriously though, the very distressing incidents of harm and indeed the murder of Indian students should be being treated with heartfelt condemnation to the perpertrators and widespread empathy towards the people to whom it is happening. On a personal level I am once again shamed and apologetic for the actions of other Australians that have acted in this manner.

    I believe that Australia must travel much further with its government policies to extinguish this kind of behaviour and that we have much to learn of tolerance still.

    I hope that this kind of dialogue is always open to allow people from every corner of the world to participate in healthy discussion. Thanks for writing this piece.

    Siddharth

    Agreed, All these arguments indeed suggest that Australis is the racism capital. Looking at the present scenario, many would be hard pressed to deny it. However, are we trying to stir up a storm in a tea cup? I have also stayed in the UK, in which some sections of the population are ignorant and racist.

    However, we have not yet looked at the real issues, the media perception and Alcohol. Anyone who has seen these attacks will tell you that all these people were driven by booze, and that too lot of it. If booze is removed out of the equation, then probably the racist attacks could reduce. We all know that countries like the US, UK and Australia consume the maximum amount of alcohol. They have beer more than water.

    Alcohol and Media Ignorance are two factors which promote racism. Why are we not focusing on that, rather than on the attacks itself?

  • Australia: The Racist Capital of the World? | australianews
  • Anonymous

    Normal people in Australia don’t hate and want to kill Indian people. The freaky people who do that are weird, sick and stupid. People from Australia want them living here as much as people from Indian would want them. That is to say, we don’t want them here either!
    I don’t understand why suddenly people from India in Melbourne are being attacked by freaks. But, I sincerely apologise for what has happened. I’d never actually heard any racism directed at India here except for criticism of Sledging in World Cricket in newspaper articles, but, then, I don’t live in Melbourne…

    Personally, I’ve met many very nice people from India here and I love Indian Restaurants and Bollywood Movies!
    Racism is so nasty because it attacks the part of the identity that is difficult, if not impossible to change…I wish it didn’t exist. Please be aware that Racism in Australia is illegal if it’s complained about and you can prove that it happened. So, if you experience this then please complain to the police because it’s important to make sure this nasty behaviour comes to an end!

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