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Blog // Thoughts
December 8, 2005

Some More Racism In Australia

When people meet me, one of the topics that invariably comes up is why, as someone who grew up in Australia and has an Australian Passport, do I choose to live outside Australia. Most people who have not visited Australia, or only spent a brief time there are suprised to hear that racism figures highly […]

When people meet me, one of the topics that invariably comes up is why, as someone who grew up in Australia and has an Australian Passport, do I choose to live outside Australia. Most people who have not visited Australia, or only spent a brief time there are suprised to hear that racism figures highly in my discomfort with the country. I usually follow up by saying, in one form or another, that after close to 30 years of being told to “f&#k off back where I came from” I have found it hard to feel a deep sense of belonging to the place.

With this in mind it was fascinating, if depressing to read a news account of Racial Conflict in Cronulla, forwarded to me by Damian. I grew up in the Sutherland Shire, which is mentioned in the article and the beaches of Cronulla played a big role in youth. Therefore, it was an all too familiar tone that I could hear in this quote from the article,

“I saw a group of ethnic people come down as usual and try to start a fight…”

But what was interesting was that if we re-read the article in a more chronological form, we get the following plotline,

1. “…she had received an email asking locals to come to the beach this Sunday. “I got an email this morning saying that all the [Sutherland] Shire people should come down on Sunday and we should reclaim the Shire.””

2. “…yesterday’s violence started at 4.20pm when three local youths made a comment to a group of about six Middle Eastern-looking men at the beach. The comment sparked a fight.”

3. “I saw a group of ethnic people come down as usual and try to start a fight,” she said. “They always do it. I didn’t actually see the fight. But I saw everyone running towards the club.”

It still stuns me that people in Australia try to claim that there is no racism in the country. It is not a recent development and this sort of thing was very much a part of my childhood. If you want a trend for the future, I suspect more and more children of those who have chosen to settle in Australia will, over the next decade chose to join the Australian Diaspora (currently over 1.2 million and rising fast) as more global opportunities allow the chance to escape being labelled an “ethnic.”

Technorati Tags: Racism, Australia, Sutherland Shire, Cronulla, Theology and Culture, Australian Diaspora

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