I’m never completely convinced when I hear Australian’s say “how ridiculous, we’re not racist!” There’s something in it that makes me kind of squint my eyes a little while thinking “Mmm, I’m not sure about that?”
I think it’s fair to say that a lot of Aussies have very different ideas of what being racist actually is, therefore it’s a tough question to ask of ourselves if we are, if the criteria depends on who’s doing the asking or the judging.
I feel like there’s that kind of outrage if you will, that different ethnicities living in Australia as citizens, working visitors, or even refugees, aren’t trying enough to disguise that they’re different. And I don’t really see why they should? How dull if we all looked like, erm, ‘Macca’?
It’s so easy for someone to say, and wow have I heard this one said, “yeah ‘they’ don’t even try to mix in,” which is easy to say but is it equally fair to say that most of us have gone out of our way to mix in with ‘them’? Offer a smile or treat them, as we would do any new friend?
In the space of a week my racism radar went off a handful of times, which is more than it should considering we’re not yet ready to admit we should place more shame on those random, thoughtless comments that so many of us hear.
Take for instance me riding in the back of my friends’ car, while her supposedly well educated mother pipes up while listening to the news “Oh god, we should just get rid of ‘them’ all! Look what they’ve done to bleeping France! They’ve wrecked it.”
And then an acquaintance starts banging on in front of me, without such a flicker of “oh should I say this in front of her?” he says “I tell you what, have you noticed that ‘they’re’ popping up in every local shop? And ‘they’ take forever to serve you; ‘they’ just don’t give a crap. There’s a hundred of ‘them’ in there, and only one of ‘them’ serving.”
It’s all very well for us to generalize about a certain ethnicity and how they’re assimilating into this country, but let’s look at the basics of whom and what we’re herding like cattle.
An ethnic group of people are generally a group of people who identify in many ways with each other, through perhaps country of origin, a common language, shared values, religion and even specific talents that may be learnt as part of that ethnic background.
I wonder, when we think about being accused of being ‘racist’, rather than so many of us becoming defensive, why can’t people not see that what makes up these ethnic groups, is very similar to what makes up every other family in the street? A history, a family and a desire to live a happy life.
Put it this way, I don’t share the same religion as most people in most streets I’ve ever lived. I don’t expect every person I live near or share a community with to have a soft spot for Scotland, nor have the same respect for a piece of patterned cloth known as Tartan.
I certainly do not, expect the woman upstairs from my apartment to get the same sort of goose bump effect as my Maxwell clan might have when we hear the bag pipes crank up.
I completely accept that a person without my family’s Scottish background might well be thinking, “What the hell is that horrendous sound? For bleeps sake, shut it off.”
I just wish that we’d all just swap that lazy, arrogant feeling of indignation for others who clearly weren’t born here, with a quick thought of “I wonder where they came from, and how life might be for them now? Do they miss members of their family, or the feeling of fitting in?”
DO YOU BELIEVE AUSTRALIANS ARE RACIST?