Allan Takes Aim Blog

Racism Rots Societies

Posted on: 19 August 2009

First Published 11 August “The Chronicle” Canberra.  

Some politicians and other influential people played down the seriousness of the recent violent incidents in Sydney and Melbourne that involved Indian students, claiming the incidents were not racially motivated.

As exercises in self-deception, their claims are hard to beat.

Sadly and too often, many Australians indulge in such self deception as much to protect their own image as to protect the mental image they have created for themselves of Australia as the world’s only tolerant, non racist country, where good sportsmanship reigns supreme, a Utopia, where everyone, regardless of colour, religion, race or ethnicity, is treated equally.

Unfortunately Utopia the dream does not exist – no country in the world treats everyone equally. Indeed, to a degree, every country is tainted with racism particularly countries like Australia whose Aborigines were treated as inferior by large numbers of British arrivals who brought with them habits, customs and languages its native Aborigines found strange and difficult to accept.

Physical friction arose between the groups particularly when the British found it difficult to accept that the Aborigines did not welcome them with open arms.

The result: a discriminatory pattern of behaviour that is still with us. And when non British with different habits, customs and language arrived, they too, were caught up in the friction.

However, with the passing of time and without Australia ever becoming a homogenous society (nor should it), all of the groups managed to live with each other if not in total peace then in mainly peaceful agreement from which all benefited.

Unfortunately while most people in the groups managed to live and work together, some didn’t, sadly, an ongoing situation. Put simply, those who didn’t are racists.

Racists in Australia  are easy to recognise.

They are the people who, head in sand, will never own up to the fact that not only are all people regardless of colour equal, but that they are beneficiaries of the skills and talents of all everyone living in Australia.  And while one might hope otherwise, it is also unlikely that these people, who see themselves as superior members of the human race, will ever own up to being racist.

Unfortunately, too, unless they recognise their condition, there is little chance that it will ever be cured. However if Australia is ever to reach that stage the language used to describe people will have to change; not doing so will help keep racism alive.

Media in particular has an important role to play in bringing about that change.

 Journalists should establish the status of the people involved when reporting incidents.

By this I mean establishing if the people involved are Australian.

Inconvenient as this might be establishing such facts may go a long way towards preventing further violence. A need for status to be established is important because when reports describe people as Lebanese, Asian, people of middle-eastern appearance, et al, the impression created is that not only are they not Australian, they reinforce the opinion of racists that to be an Australian one must be white.

In effect such reporting gives comfort and confidence to those Australians who hold the view that the White Australia policy should never have been abandoned.

In a nation where nationality can not be attributed to skin colour, such attribution can lead, disturbingly, to creating animosities about religion, dress, education, morality, ethics, and personal relationships that, in turn, create animosities which encourage racists, not necessarily white, to assert that some people will never be Australian.

To prevent any escalation of these animosities it seems to me it’s about time that those Australians wearing rose coloured glasses changed them for new pair and started to live up to the egalitarianism of which Australia boasts, a view they think shared by the rest of the world.

Unfortunate as it is, many people in other countries do not share that view.

Putting it bluntly, many people in many countries see Australia through dark glasses.

But perhaps more unfortunately for Australia many people of status who hold positions that allows them the opportunity to sway public opinion, express support for egalitarianism simply to protect their status and hide their own racial prejudices.

Australia would benefit greatly if they could be rooted out.

For the best of Canberra’s comunity news get The Chronicle. Published every Tuesday.


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