December 12, 2005

Racist Oz

As an Indian i am happy to say I have never felt il-treated or unwelcomed in the UK, infact people in UK are very open to people from all cultures no matter what the newspapers report on, I believe this to be true. The same can be said of S.E.Asian countries, which are also tolerant of different races and cultures

However, the one country where I have received negative vibes is definetely Australia. At times it just gets ridiculous. While arriving, they wouldn't let us in unless we confirmed that we paid for our returned ticket with cash, they wanted my dad to confirm he had a job and even insisted on seeing his pay slip, it was absolutely disgraceful. In the country it was the attitude of the bus drivers, and the general segregation of society . My friends in Oz tend not to hang out with white folks, they just dont feel safe.
As a result it is no surprise to me that the australians are now behaving disgracefully against any one that looks remotely middle eastern


Let alone the lack of any common sense, hard to expect anyway from racist hooligans, but beating up innocent people in a country which apparently prides itself on multiculturalism – thats just sick.

Australia has the toughest immigration laws in the industrialized world, it refuses to rescue people dying near its shores since it will only encourage more to try and cross over even though it can easily afford to give these people with no hope whatsoever a new start to their lives, and now its anti-terror laws are appaling…. one can only hope the australians learn the British or Candian way sooner.

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  1. From what I've read it was very difficult of a person of color to become an Australian citizen until the mid-late 70s. And still from other people's experiences, if you're a person of color wanting citizenship you've got to make sure you're a) very rich or b) highly qualified.

    New Zealand is so much friendlier and a better place to live than Australia. I would't settle in Oz even if I was handsomely paid.

    12 Dec 2005, 14:44

  2. I totally agree with you, they don't like anybody who doesn't have white skin generally unless u are skilled (engiineers for example) or rich. I prefer NZ anyday

    13 Dec 2005, 07:01

  3. Your painting a huge country by one fell swoop of the paint brush there. I'm not saying your not right about some parts but it's bigger than Europe and you wouldn't assess the whole of Europe based upon a trip to say Yugoslavia. Just out of curiosity where were you in Australia?
    It's also right Oz has tough imigration laws but they apply to white people as well. It's easy to look at it from Britain and see white people emigrating get it easier, but with many white people having long lost relatives living over there it tends to make it easier for them as it's a head start. I'm sure if you were standing in America trying to get in then the playing field may seem more even.
    But is it any surprise a country founded for the purpose of ridding Britain of undesirables (i'm guessing that's not the British way you talk of however) has some of this segregation attitude built into it?

    13 Dec 2005, 16:18

  4. I don't disagree with you Udayan, but I also agree with Colin there – perhaps you're being a little hasty.

    First of all, no matter what is said here, it's still an ignominious thing for the majority population of a country to turn on the minority. I read that 5000 youths were involved at one stage.
    Anyway, remember that Arabs/North Afrcans have very poor reputations across Europe too – the South Europeans I know by and large are not very fond of them, and while the racist elements in those countries are greater than a lot of places, they don't seem to mind as much, say, South Asians or Chinese people.

    The reason is, the vast majority of Arabs/North Africans in these countries and the targets of these Australian crowds are/were poor, ill-educated Middle Easterners (in Australia's case, Lebanese), whose children are more likely to stir up trouble. Clearly, this is not a racial or religious pathology – it's socio-economic. The fact that they are Muslims/Lebanese is just the first frame of reference the rioters can think of…the average age of these rioters is about 20, after all.

    But I agree that the Aussies are by and large more aggressive than most…

    14 Dec 2005, 01:59

  5. Well I know what u mean Colin (and Ankit), but unfortunately I have found this behaviour to be true in most of australian cities (i have been to 5 of them – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast)..... Take for example Sydney, which is where the riots are, I found sydney to be by far the best of the lot, In Sydney there are lot of non-white (for lack of a better word) people and yet they were not as close as in say Canada. I think its got a lot to do with the attitude of the people, In Canada immigration is welcome, people respect immigrants and they like the multicultural feel of their cities. As a result they are much more sensitive to the different cultures.

    I know i am in no place to judge the whole of Oz, heck I am in no place to judge any body but these are just my views. A country's openness has to be judged with their policy on immigration and frankly Australia's is shite. they only let u settle in if u are needed (like the recent drive they had for 25,000 skilled workers) they don't want u there if u are running away from a government bent on killing u for your values, they don't want to help u if u drown trying to escape for a better life. At least in UK the government is MORE open to people who have escaped from Zimbabwe for example. After all the policy is a wider reflection of the views of the majority of the people.

    I think the main problem there is that as Ankit said that the people from Middle easter backgrounds are supposed trouble makers. But that is only half of the case. Australians want all immigrants to be just like them and respect the same values. That I find ridiculous!, if Oz needs these people for their skills then the least they can do is to allow them to be individuals. Yes they must on the wider plane accept australian values or in the least respect them, but if they do not have freedom to practice their own faith and values then it is unfair towards them. i am sure i don't know the full extent of the problem, but I believe this is a major issue.

    And lastly No I am not on a level playing field as a white person while applying for a citizenship in US, even though in principal I might be,.....

    14 Dec 2005, 03:11

  6. Why shouldn't Australians expect immigrants to respect the same values? Clearly not values like fukin off to the beach, havin' a 'barbie' and getting rat-arsed, but liberty, respect for property and openness?

    The British (used to) allow different communities to do roughly what they like(d) and it worked for a lot of communities, but not for others, if you get me…
    That, I believe, is 'multiculturalism'. Some communities just take more time to adjust to liberal values, if at all.

    14 Dec 2005, 19:02

  7. As a side issue,
    You know, in these cases I'm a little uncomfortable with the use of "[x country]'s values]". This kind of talk is all around, I found it most after the terrorist attacks in London in July. I usually find it to be rather nonsense talk. This goes along with talk of "being united against/for [n]". No one has told me what my values are, what am I to do? I suspect that governments would be rather uncomfortable with some of the values of most of their citizens. I am not party to the British values of the money cult, implicit racism, unionism, monarchy, and a whole load of other things. The sooner politicians and the media stops trying to treat nations as small old-fashioned communities, the better.

    15 Dec 2005, 02:36

  8. You r right Vincent, it has gotten rather out of hand these days, and i would say a lot of people feel the same way about the british values u mention…

    Ankit- I did say they should respect those values, nobody in Australia is against liberty or openness (respect for property?? do u mean property rights?)
    But what i did say was, you cannot force the immigrants to forget their own culture, their own identity, like going to a temple, or not drinking alcohol or arranged marriage or any such stuff….

    15 Dec 2005, 04:43

  9. I know that when we talk of a "country's values", it seems as if we are saying that the values are exclusive to that country – which is clearly never the case. The principles of liberty (economic, personal, expression) are found in many modern nation-states and older civilisations (the Incas, India, France).

    HOWEVER, it is frequently important to make clear that immigrants MUST follow domestic threads. Udayan, I am not sure whether you are aware of the issues position that Muslims occupy in the UK, but let me tell you. I live in the North, as you know, in a town where the Muslim population accounts for almost 20% of the population – that's almost 30,000 of them. And let me tell you, almost every Muslim woman/girl I see in the streets has a 'letterbox' on (entire face shrouded except eyes) and yesterday, for the first time ever, I saw one with her ENTIRE face covered! Even the eyes!! That's clearly an exception, but you get the idea.

    Then there's the spectre of 'honour killings' going on right here, in the middle of London, Leeds or Birmingham! It's not as rare as you would think, and the government has set up a special directorate for it, so you can imagine… I think we all agree honour killings can not be excused on grounds of being 'culture' for anybody – it may be the way things were done, but it is not acceptable. We have to make clear that 'liberal' (as in this case) values are not to exist side by side with, say, differing values all the time – SOMETIMES, 'western'/liberal ideas are simply BETTER and must take precedence over other cultural values. Christians used to burn 'witches' (usually misinterpreted mental conditions) at the stake and perform exorcisms, but with greater understanding they were done away with. There is no justification for things such as honour killings and while again it's a minority, the crucial thing is that the message sent by people saying "whatever their culture, they should be allowed to practice" is that 'some' people think such acts are acceptable.

    This is precisely the debate over multiculturalism why should it be much different in Australia?

    15 Dec 2005, 15:57

  10. "you cannot force the immigrants to forget their own culture"

    No, but they cannot expect their culture to fit exactly with that other the values of the society they wish to take advantage of. It's not enough to say everyone is free to have their own cultures if it undermines the stability of society. Ultimately the notion of countries and states happens because people share a lot of the same values and work towards more-or-less the same goals. If people don't want to live within the values which created the benifits which they have sought to take advantage of then why are they there?

    Also in relation to
    "And lastly No I am not on a level playing field as a white person while applying for a citizenship in US, even though in principal I might be,....."

    I badly worded it but I was actually meaning if you were an American trying to get into Australia then the playing field would be more level that a Brit getting into Oz.

    15 Dec 2005, 23:14

  11. Ankit – are u saying Muslim women covering their faces is a bad thing???? I hope u realize that this is an essential part of their culture, I am not sure you are right to judge one as being better than the other. Yes honor killings are inherentyl "bad" to us, I don't think they should practice it in UK if it is illegal. But on the other hand suicides are still considered an honorable way to die in Japan… as u can see cultural differences are not easy to handle
    P.S. – have u done the lord rootes stuff????

    Colin – u are right, they can't expect the culture to fit and they must sacrifice a good deal themselves. But as to why people go to Australia or any other developed state – it is to escape extreme poverty, unemployment or just to earn a better living…..u will find that it is mainly the second generation children who are the ones upset with their lives…....they are confused and angry as well as ankit pointed out – generally of a poorer background.

    16 Dec 2005, 12:10

  12. This is exactly what I am saying – we cannot let people hide behind culture! Are French expatriates allowed to give their children (occasional) alcohol in the USA because it is part of their culture and doesn't harm anybody else? No, they are not! Honour killings are illegal EVERYWHERE in the world. There is no excuse ever for that sort of thing.

    I personally am not fond of this face-covering business, but I still think they should be allowed to do so. I only mentioned that to illustrate the way Muslims frequently lead parallel lives in the UK - the pathology of isolationism was there to see well before 7/7…you'd be shocked if you ever came up North.

    Crucially, while my opinion is that certain things are wrong regardless of location, they are really inexcusable if done in a country where it is not condoned.
    Cultural differences are thin ice, my friend. Do you remember the tradition of sati? Where the widow was supposed to sacrifice herself on the funeral pyre of her husband because she was not to go on without him? Imagine yourself as a British officer 200 years ago saying "well, it's their culture, why should we interefere?". (You saw Mangal Pandey, right?)

    There's the case of female circumcision in Africa, but if I remember correctly there is no consensus on how detrimental it is, while most cultures' 'common sense' would dictate it cannot possibly but be wrong. In this case where there is plenty of evidence to suggest it may not be, so we can say it is ambiguous.

    But honour killings, for example, the oppression of women in so many parts of the world and especially (that I have seen) by Muslims is unambiguously wrong. Forget about culture, it is a relic of a bygone era, time to move on.

    P.S. LORD ROOTES MF - I started the last point on that sheet a couple of days ago – but remind me what exactly you are doing and I have to do.

    16 Dec 2005, 14:54

  13. U have a valid point, certain practices are just wrong….

    Lord Rootes – ask Ayesha, I only know whayt I'm doing

    17 Dec 2005, 03:27

  14. .

    That said – the UK is not an easy place to get into, even on a temporary basis as an Australian. 30mins of grilling about why they should want to come into this country.

    I personally loved Australia and would go back to there within a moment.

    18 Jan 2006, 20:04

  15. nicole

    This is ridiculous! I’m a white Australian and I was absolutely ashamed to see the cronulla riots. However i am more ashamed at how they were shown. My family is from Cronulla (the suburb/beach where the riots occured) and it isn’t a racist or unsafe place. Sydney is a hugely multicultural society, and for the most part people get along. But sometimes unfortunately there have been outspoken people from the minority groups (eg. muslim, lebanese) who have made comments in the media that are appauling…more than one person of arabic descent has suggested Australian women who wear skirts etc. are “eligible” for rape. It’s sad because this misrepresents the attidudes or opinions of many immigrants in Australia, but this makes other people feel anti-semetic sentiments. This is definitely not isolated to Australia. There have unfortunately been some anti-arabic/muslim sentiments all over the world since 9/11 and the “imminent threat of terrorism” which is apparently inevitable. Although it seems the hype and war is more frightening then the reality.

    Apart from the Cronulla riots I don’t feel that Australia has a racist vibe. Among my closest friends there are people of all backgrounds; Indian, British, African for example. And i can count several languages including Afrikaaners, Danish, Spanish, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian and Russian.

    18 Jan 2007, 08:46


    i agree with you to some exstent, i am an Australian and i have lived here my whole life, my parents parents are Australia, and i think that a large majority of our population is racist. Thats the best way to explain our policies and the crap we put imigrants through, its not fair and its sad. I think that our governments should just admit to being racists pigs and save everyone the debate

    26 Apr 2007, 00:51

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