deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
[personal profile] deepad
On 29th December, 2009, the burnt body of a 25 year old Indian national was found near Griffith, in Australia.

On 9th January, 2010, a 29 year old Indian was set on fire in Melbourne, Australia.

It is true, as the police say, that we do not know that either or both of the attacks were racially motivated until the culprits are caught (and even then, how do you verify the intent of a murderer?)

But minorities do not have the luxury of extending the benefit of the doubt to their potential assailants. And when the Australian acting Prime Minister describes an Indian cartoon that says as much as "deeply offensive" and Bob Cameron, the Victorian Police Minister, says, “We are a tolerant place and Victorian police are very tolerant and this business about racism is just wrong," it is very clear that they are speaking to their White constituents, who would like their outraged astonishment at being accused of racism to be pandered to.

Fire Fly has an excellent post here about the academic-industrial complex in Australia and its relationship to violence against Indian students.

People being set on fire is outragous. A comic speculating about intent is not.

ETA: A comprehensive, albeit dense article about the intersections between racism and educational capitalism in Australia.

(no subject)

Date: 10/1/10 10:35 am (UTC)
bravecows: Picture of a brown cow writing next to some books (Default)
From: [personal profile] bravecows
We are a tolerant place

Yeah, tolerant of violence, apparently.

(Not that I can say much better of my own country, ahaha.)

(no subject)

Date: 10/1/10 06:38 pm (UTC)
applegnat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] applegnat
Thank you for saying this so clearly. Many Indians criticised the broadcast media for being inflammatory in their reports of the first phase of these killings with no solid proof to back them up. Journalistic clarity is important, but not more so than this pattern of fatal anti-minority violence.

(no subject)

Date: 10/1/10 07:46 pm (UTC)
monanotlisa: Olivia Dunham in her glasses, browsing (Default)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
People being set on fire is outragous. A comic speculating about intent is not.

This.
(deleted comment) (Show 6 comments)

(no subject)

Date: 12/1/10 05:43 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I keep failing to understand why the politicians are so invested in denying racism, rather than going for another perfectly acceptable political narrative, such as Blame Disaffected Youth. It just makes them looking like they're supporting the violence. Then I think about the very few rape victims who have ever been treated with dignity in the Australian press - the Anglo women raped by Lebanese men in Sydney - and it all becomes clear.

It's very, very important for white Australians to deny racism in the face of all evidence. I've done it myself, and I know the urge to say "isolated incident!" "out of context!" "if the victim hadn't..." "probably someone the victim knew!". Any of that may be true, but it's irrevelant.

(no subject)

Date: 12/1/10 12:24 pm (UTC)
secondsilk: Mark, from the RENT film (Default)
From: [personal profile] secondsilk
I'm am so sorry.

No, no, Australia really does have race problems. Problems. Plural. They're different from the race problems in the UK and the US, but they're real. I only know that much about it. I've had that conversation several times since leaving Australia to travel.

(Even if the beatings of Indian students in Sydney were opportunistic (late night travellers, suburban trains, etc) the fact that Indian students were the ones in that position of vulnerability is the result of racist policies. Just because the attackers aren't KKK-like, doesn't mean there's no racism in the attacks or the situation of them. (This is OT, me working my way through my own thinking in public.))

And a part of me still wants to think, "I thought this was a Sydney problem."

Thank you for the links. (I came via [personal profile] coffeeandink)

Larger context of Australian racism

Date: 14/1/10 11:36 pm (UTC)
aquaeri: white cat, one yellow and one blue eye (white)
From: [personal profile] aquaeri
Yes, Australia is racist. As others have mentioned, I think it's a slightly different flavour of racism than other white-anglo places but it certainly exists.

There is this construction of white, Anglo-Irish descended Australians as 'normal', baseline Australians. Politicians pander a lot to these 'normal' Australians. Most of them aren't racist enough to set fire to someone, but they are racist enough to see themselves as 'normal' and I think more importantly in this context, get defensive and protective of other 'normal' Australians who are that racist.

I just did a bit of web-searching for ethnic composition, and it suggests to me that Anglo-Irish descended Australians are now about 2/3 of the population, as part of a gradual decline from the 1950s. Reports talk a lot about 'recent immigration policies' but of course there were no Anglo-Irish Australians before 1788, and many Asian and Pacific, particularly Chinese, Australians can trace their Australian heritage to the second half of the 1800s, to the gold rush and subsequent expansion of Australian farming and mining and thus population*. During the first 2/3rds of the 1900s, Australia had a "White Australia" policy (oh, the shame!) but many non-Anglo-Irish whites arrived during that time, particularly from Italy and Greece after WWII.

Anyway, it's very intriguing to me, this 2/3 figure. Because I believe it's the same 2/3 that has been found in studies of previously-male only workplaces: when the men drop to 'only' 2/3, they start to feel overwhelmed by women. So not only do I think Australia is racist, the 'normal' population might be suffering actual racist panic around now.

* I feel I have to include the 'Blackbirds' in this: Pacific Islanders who were captured to be slaves on sugar cane plantations.

[Personal disclaimer: I am a white Australian citizen, but an immigrant from Denmark, first arriving as an eight-year old. Because I learnt English before puberty from Australian children I have an acceptably Australian English accent and generally pass (based on accent and appearance), although I am personally aware that 'normal' Australian culture is not my culture. I think I sit in the doorway between 'normal' and 'ethnic' Australian.]

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deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Deepa D.

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