The Australian perspective pt 2

Racism, not profiling, is a genuine problem in any country. Personally, I have no time for racism, yet I do catch myself falling into some bad habits when it comes to the behaviours of certain race types. Regardless, of what I think, even now I laugh over the remarks of a Chinese girl complaining about other Chinese drivers. I am serious because this happened in a workplace where I was working for a Korean company. The comments about the Chinese drivers was about the fact that they have trouble seeing at night, and that it is not a good idea to be a passenger in a car with a Chinese driver. As I remember the remarks it was truly funny. My biggest fault is calling Italians “wogs”. I grew up with that kind of talk. I had plenty of opportunity to interact with people who had foreign accents and I am here to tell you that they are hard to understand over the telephone. At the same time, I admit that I have little time for certain other groups of people for varying reasons. I guess we are all prone to that kind of thinking. What I have mentioned here though is nothing in comparison to those who do in fact cite hatred.

I want to examine two situations (both occurred around the same time) where there was some controversy. The first example is that of the Australian historian Professor Geoffrey Blainey. (I have a disclaimer here, I admire Professor Blainey and it was my privilege as a student to listen to him as a lecturer). One needs to know Professor Blainey’s background as an historian to give context to comments that caused the left in particular to be extremely disapproving of what he had to say. Professor Blainey is one of the few who has accurately portrayed Australian history, and in particular he brought to life the history of the goldfields. It is this goldfields background that is important in this story.

Gold was discovered in NSW at Bathurst and in Victoria at Bendigo and Ballarat. There were other locations and I am primarily concerned with these three locations. After the gold was discovered people began to flock to the goldfields but this first wave consisted of Irish, Scots, English and Americans etc. When it appeared that the gold had petered out the second wave began. This second wave consisted of the Chinese who were hard working and who were prepared to dig a little harder to find the gold.  By the 1890s there was an economic downturn and Australia faced its first mild depression conditions. It was during this period that there were riots in the goldfields with the white miners lining up against the Chinese.  The Chinese endured the anger of the whites because of the drying up of the jobs market as it existed at that time.

When Professor Blainey spoke and wrote about limiting immigration from Asia it was with this goldfields background that was on his mind. He was in fact thinking about what had happened to the Chinese during those riots. However, the Chinese, at the instigation of the Leftists, were not happy with Professor Blainey’s comments and they got all offended over what had been said, even though it was never meant as implied by those Leftists. No one treated the Chinese badly because of the comments made by Professor Blainey.

However, there was a response after Pauline Hanson the former politician had been allowed to seek her 15 minutes of fame. Now Pauline did give a rousing speech when she first entered the Parliament and it was a speech that resonated with most of us for one reason or another. Even now, I continue to agree with some of her points, but disagree with the majority of her particular ideology. In particular I believe in the fact that immigration needs to be restricted. That of course, does not mean that I advocate violence, and it does not mean that Pauline Hanson advocated violence. Unfortunately, Pauline Hanson did incite some violence.

I am not prepared to call Pauline Hanson Xenophobic because I am not sure that she was motivated that way. Even so, Pauline’s words were used to incite violence against a vulnerable group of people. Many complained about being attacked on public transport.  Such attacks were in my view racist in their intent and thus the attackers need to be condemned.

Whilst Pauline Hanson remains a divisive figure, there are others who have been busy trying to stir up race troubles. There have been some riots started in black communities. The urban blacks and those who claim to be aborigine even though they are white are extremely thin skinned, and yes they try to stir up trouble.


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