“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.
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